We live in a social world. As of 2020, 3.8 billion of us use social media. For any marketer worth their salt, this smells like opportunity. Here’s your definitive guide to choosing your social media marketing channels in 2020.
More than anything, social media marketing is about brand awareness. Here, you can find and meet half of the world’s population with a few clicks. You can discover niche groups on specific platforms. You can broadcast your message en-masse, or one-to-one and you can do this all for free.
This is the wide edge of the marketing funnel where prospects first come into touch with our brand. We need to suck them in from this first moment.
Building brand awareness on social media is all about impressions. This is the number of times that your posts get served to your audience. To increase the number of impressions your content gets, you need to post quality content that drives engagement from a large collective of followers.
Social media marketing is no longer a one-way street. People won’t respond when being told what to do and think by brands. They see straight through it. If you want to win in 2020, you need to have a two-way dialogue.
Nowhere is this more evident and possible than on social media. On this channel, no brand is an island. You need to reach out and talk to your target audience on a personal level. Get them to trust what you say, to like what you do.
“I think that people just have this core desire to express who they are. And I think that’s always existed.”
—Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO
Brand reputations are difficult to make and even harder to refine. But on social media, they can be broken in an instant. That’s not an excuse to head for the hills. Your audience will be on social media even if you aren’t. It’s a reason to excel in social media brand management.
If a customer makes a complaint, apologise to them directly. Fix the issue and try to treat them to something to make up for it. A free box of chocolates could turn your brand arch-nemesis into your number one advocate.
Learn to love the haters. Welcome the complaints. Where else would you get minute-by-minute, real-world feedback of your products and services and be able to go and engage with that person on a one-to-one basis?
Social media marketing isn’t just about standing on a podium and blasting out your message. It’s about nurturing a niche community of like-minded people. This is your target audience.
To ensure that your message is reaching these people, you need to build a relevant following. Your posts will feature in your followers’ news feeds. So the greater your following, the further your messages will reach.
Delivering quality content will help to build your following organically, but it’s good to take a proactive approach. Search out, follow and engage with your target audience and they might just follow you back.
If I asked you to develop a direct mail campaign aimed at LGBTQ+ women aged 24-35 who had an interest in sports nutrition, how would you reach your target audience?
The likelihood is, you couldn’t. But if I asked you the same question but swopped direct mail for social media, the task gets a whole lot easier.
Because the social media giants have been collecting, crunching and analysing users’ data for years, they can provide hyper-targeted marketing campaigns. Take a closer look at the available targeting features on social media ads and you’ll realise that Big Brother is digital. So effective are these channels that governments now use them to target swing voters, changing democracies by toggling ad settings.
But you needn’t pay for ads to find your ideal customers. Start by choosing the right platforms, researching relevant groups and using the right hashtags.
While most of your marketing content on social media should be about sharing value through educational, inspiring or entertaining posts, there is an opportunity for lead generation, too. I like to go by the 80-20 rule. 80% of my content is designed to offer something of value, while 20% is subtle sales content. This isn’t a hard and fast rule; it depends on what your business does.
Rarely will a social media post end with a sale. What we’re looking to do is drive traffic online where they can seek out more information and make the next steps. Limited time offers and free give-aways are a great place to start.
Choosing the right channels
Of course, one of the biggest questions in social media marketing is what channels to focus on. With your avatars from the Discovery phase, you should have a clear picture of who your audiences are. Now it’s time to marry up that information with the appropriate channel.
Here’s a brief summary of the top eight social media players in 2020. It will help you discover what they’re for, how many users they have, what audiences they cater to, and what industry types they’re applicable to.
Bio: “Connect with friends, family and other people you know. Share photos and videos, send messages and get updates.”
With well over two billion users, Facebook continues to rule the roost. It covers a wide range of user types but is dominated by generation X and millennials. It’s a great channel for B2C brand awareness and offers some of the most powerful (albeit pricey) ad targeting available.
Bio: “From breaking news and entertainment to sports and politics, get the full story with all the live commentary.”
With 335 million users, Twitter still has a significant reach. It’s mainly used for broadcasting public relations and news and for managing customer service. Because of this, it’s great for both B2B and B2C industries. The audience type is predominantly millennials.
Bio: “A simple, fun & creative way to capture, edit & share photos, videos & messages with friends & family.”
With a billion users, Instagram is big news. It’s a great place to tell stories and post natural-looking media. This makes it perfect for all those rising influencer superstars. Because it’s part of the Facebook family, it has superb ad targeting functionality, too. This is a B2C channel mainly used by millennials.
Bio: “Manage your professional identity. Build and engage with your professional network. Access knowledge, insights and opportunities.”
LinkedIn weighs in with 645 million users. It’s all about business here. Users are developing B2B relationships, reaching out to prospective employees and discovering prospects. It’s a great place to identify prospects and develop leads. The main audiences are baby boomers, generation X and millennials.
Bio: “Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.”
Built for modern video entertainment, YouTube has a whopping 1.9 billion users. It’s great for brand awareness and businesses are using it to create nifty how-to videos. It also provides some powerful ad campaigns, providing you have a video worth sharing. YouTube is B2C and is used by millennials and generation Z.
Bio: “Snapchat lets you easily talk with friends, view Live Stories from around the world, and explore news in Discover. Life’s more fun when you live in the moment!”
With 300 million users, Snapchat is still big news for generation Z. It’s a great channel for brand awareness for B2C companies and provides some of the best ROI in terms of social media advertising campaigns.
Bio: “Discover recipes, home ideas, style inspiration and other ideas to try.”
With a not-to-be-sniffed at 250 million users, Pinterest is perfect for visual advertising, showing off your products and inspiring other budding creatives. It’s mainly used by older-millennials and young baby boomers and appeals to the B2C market.
Bio: “TikTok is the destination for short-form mobile videos. Our mission is to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and precious life moments.”
The rising superstar, TikTok has 800 million users. The majority of these are in China, but the platform is rapidly gaining ground in Europe and the UK. TikTok is for generation Z and is very much a B2C platform with great potential.
There are now more people using the top four social messaging apps (WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and Viber) than the top four social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn).
Globally, more than 5.19 billion people now use mobile phones, with user numbers up by 124 million (2.4%) over the past year.
While it’s struggled to gain much traction in the past, SMS marketing is expected to be the biggest direct marketing channel in 2020. Bulk text messaging makes it easy to promote deals, send offers and inform your customers about new services and promotions.
Podcasts and Music streaming services
According to Apple statistics, there are 525,000 active podcast shows with more than 18.5 million episodes.
Most marketers will think about ads when they consider these channels. You’ll need a short script, a professional voice over (VO) artist and the usage rights for whatever channel it is that you’re looking to advertise on.
Advertising through Spotify is a simple process through the platform. Whereas advertising with a podcaster usually works through an agency. Of course, the other option is to set up a podcast of your own.
People are becoming fatigued by the over-saturation of ads on the usual social media platforms. There’s a growing trend to join smaller, more niche platforms to share information. These could offer the ideal place to find your target audience and talk to them without all the background noise.
A few channels to watch out for include:
All recipes – “Search over 20000 recipes from home cooks. New recipes added every day!”
Behance – “A social media platform owned by Adobe which aims “to showcase and discover creative work”
BlogHer – “A pioneer in community and conferences for bloggers and content creators.
BurdaStyle – “A community website for people who sew or would like to learn how.”
Care2 – “Empowering people to lead a healthy and green lifestyle while taking action on important causes.”
Dogster – “For dog owners and lovers. Find info on training, vets, or breeds. Use the groups and forums to connect and share with friends.”
Dribble – “Where designers gain inspiration, feedback, community, and jobs.”
Gentlemint – “Centered on the idea of finding, sharing and collecting manly content.”
Goodreads – “Be part of the world’s largest community of book lovers on Goodreads.”
Houzz – “Browse 20 million interior design photos, home decor, decorating ideas and home professionals online.”
Instructables – “A community for people who like to make things. Come explore, share, and make your next project with us!”
Letterboxd – “A social network for sharing your taste in film. Use it as a diary to record your opinion about films as you watch them, or just to keep track of films.”
Meetup – “Find Meetups so you can do more of what matters to you. Or create your own group and meet people near you who share your interests.”
My Last Wish – “A new social network for those who are dying to help people fulfil their ultimate dreams.”
Nextdoor – “The neighbourhood hub for trusted connections and the exchange of helpful information, goods, and services.”
Quora – “A place to gain and share knowledge. It’s a platform to ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers.”
Reddit – “A network of communities based on people’s interests. Find communities you’re interested in, and become part of an online community!”