Global Social Media Marketing Platforms
How social media marketing platforms have changed the business communication ecosystem?
Marketers don’t need to be told the global social media platforms have altered the business landscape forever. Business communications and marketing have been made easier and more penetrative since now companies, be it in the B2B or B2C sphere, have direct access to their core customers and prospects. The interaction is intimate and as a result companies now get an opportunity to personalize and customize their offers to suit the needs of individual or small, homogeneous groups of customers.
Today everybody can be an influencer and content creator. So, marketers not only target their customers but also target these influencers and thought leaders who could also be their customers or prospects. The reach and impact is far greater than what mass media channels like TV, radio or newspaper can provide today, especially in the developed parts of the world. The resource utilization has been optimized and the results are quantifiable. Social media platforms also provide greater clarity, accountability and transparency. Views can be challenged and debated. Since everybody is a journalist in the social media landscape, news can be created and propagated.
Marketers can create their stories and content and the influencers and internet users can make these go viral in no time. The downtime is zero for an advertisement or message as the social media platforms are never idle. Also, market segmentation is far easier and a number of new parameters have been added to the armory of marketers after the rise of social media. Social media channels allow you to create multiple campaigns simultaneously, based on different budgets, needs, demographics, target market or just for testing purposes. Compared to the penetration and reach, the cost is negligible and the ROI is far greater than traditional channels of communication.
According to this Statista post, Facebook is the most popular website with over 1 billion registered accounts as of September, 2016. However, social media platforms like Whatsapp, blogging site Tumbr and photo sharing website Instagram are all growing at a phenomenal pace and all of them have over 500 million active users. China’s WeChat, QQ, Baidu Tieba and Sina Weibo are not to be left behind far and are doing extremely well themselves, even appealing to a global audience much like the American technology giants.
According to this SmartInsights post, Facebook is the most engaging social media platform according to the US consumer panel report from ComScore. When it comes to interaction per 1000 followers, Instagram rules the roost.
Although each social media platform has something unique to offer and appeal to different target groups, there is a huge overlapping area between each, especially when you count the millenials and the Gen Z. As a marketer, you will have to keep a close watch on the updates and new developments made by the following social media websites.
Facebook remains the unchallenged ruler in the social media melee although the gap is slowly decreasing. However, Facebook continues to innovate and update its features, thus creating new opportunities for growth and expansion. In the process, it increases the level of engagement and interaction between businesses and their potential customers even more.
Research shows that of all social media platforms, users spend the maximum time on Facebook and the number of sessions are also maximum. Facebook has bought over many other social media companies or have got into JVs and signed MoUs. As a result, it is easy to integrate your other accounts with your Facebook account and create an all pervasive and powerful communication model that allows you to share your posts and content created primarily for one platform with users across multiple domains. This reduces costs and chances of duplication.
Facebook has a number of useful metrics that allow you to follow new consumer trends, behaviors and preferences. That way the communication becomes two-way and truly conversational and interactive. Companies can create profiles as well as create pages which can be followed, content can be liked and shared and can go viral with the help of hashtags as well as Facebook trends which keep changing region-wise.
As a marketer, you can just post content that you like. You will have to blend in information that would appeal to them who fit your ideal buyer persona and also create ad campaigns that fit in effortlessly with organic content. It is a lot less intrusive than traditional advertisements.
Facebook is also a leader when it comes to cross-promoting products, stories or services across multiple channels. Landing pages can connect customers to their social media accounts as well as encourage them to share and refer their experience. Facebook pages can also be used to drive visitors and traffic to a company’s website or community. It is also being debated whether social indicators like follow, share, like, etc provide direct SEO benefits although it is a known fact that interactivity is rewarded by most search engines.
Google, the most popular search engine in the world, which happens to be the primary search engine for over 70% of the global internet users, is also the creator of a successful social media platform. Google Plus, its popular social media platform, has over 500 million registered users according to this HubSpot page. According to the same page, 15% of the marketers who leveraged this channel were successful in converting a lead into a customer.
Google Plus is a social media site which allows users to add and segment their acquaintances according to circles like family, relatives, friends, casual acquaintances and many more. Their activities, stories, content is posted on the homepage i.e. the wall of the user, much like Facebook’s timeline.
Google Plus also offers a unique opportunity to businesses. They can get their influencers, prospects, customers and other stakeholders to stay updated with knowledge about their business and the latest developments by adding a Google Plus Business page. Useful tutorials, content and descriptive articles covering a wide range of subjects are shared on these pages. Marketers can also put up contextual or native adverts as well as display and PPC ads.
But what makes this social media platform standout? All the posts and +1 content get indexed by Google crawlers which then create indexed pages with a link to the content. This has SEO benefits because frequent crawling and indexing leads to higher page rank and a greater number of organic inward links. Shares, likes, ‘love’ or re-tweets are often evaluated internally by a company and since much of this information is inaccessible to Google crawlers, the indexing takes time and hence, chances of ranking high on Google quickly also diminishes.
Google Plus is about passionate people and those who love to thrive in communities. It is ideal for products which work best when shared!
Twitter is a micro-blogging site that allows users to make an opinion and share it in 140 characters. However, it goes beyond that. If you need to know about the latest trend, be it global trends or local trends, you just need to take a glance at your account. A topic can be made viral in a matter of few minutes by promoting a particular hashtag. Photographs from sites like Instagram can also be linked to one’s Twitter account.
Although its growth has become somewhat stunted after its initial explosion onto the marketing scene, it still remains popular with marketers and users alike. The biggest benefit is that it promotes two-way communication. Your tweet may be re-tweeted, liked and commented upon. This way, you can collect vital feedback and statistics that helps you to get in touch with and understand who your ideal prospects are.
Also, news and feedbacks are exchanged on a real-time basis which means you can create and alter your business strategies instantaneously. If you see an opportunity, you can take advantage then and there. Also, people can’t connect organically with corporate entities or monoliths. But, Twitter allows top business leaders to become the face of their brands and soon become thought leaders who command a lot of respect. This goodwill effect also rubs on to the business entity and is reflected in higher conversions.
It is also one of the most effective channels for identifying influencers. You can then follow them, interact with them, get to know them before offering them a deal to promote and market on your behalf. You can also get in touch with your loyal brand advocates who can follow your stories, business developments and share interesting news using their own networks.
It also puts you in total charge of your budget. You pay only when a promoted tweet or trend gets re-tweeted, liked, clicked upon or replied to. You can also reach the relevant target audience by segmenting using keywords in people’s tweets, targeting your messages geographically, in terms of gender, age or even the device used to access Twitter.
LinkedIn has one of the best Alexa ranking and is considered one of the most popular social media platforms globally. Although it had initially started as a platform which connected professionals with professionals from the same domain or related domains, today its potential has been accepted by marketers and businesses also. If you are a B2B marketer or someone who targets professionals from a particular field, LinkedIn is a useful tool.
It has almost 110 million active users but importantly, it is the third most popular social media network for business owners. It is also the most popular platform for B2B marketers, according to the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. It also has some of the most powerful and popular influencers and the referral traffic has a high visitor-to-lead conversion rate. Marketers today are not only promoting their products, paying for advertisements or connecting with other businesses but it is also an awesome site when it comes to product launches.
One can provide authentic product descriptions which can then be directed towards influencers and business customers, who want technical details and detailed discussions to endorse a product. Afterwards, they can promote the product on their channels of preference and direct new customers and leads to any of your marketing channels.
It is also useful for gaining insights on customer behaviors and preferences. It can also direct traffic and build links to your website and is like a social CRM where you can find and maintain useful information of your stakeholders.
Although SlideShare has one of the highest number of active users, according to this report, almost 85% of the digital marketers fail to utilize its potential. One reason is that unlike other social media networks it is impossible to lead a conversation-style interaction or get feedbacks. However, content marketing is one of the most important tools that marketers today have and is highly effective in driving organic search as well as native advertisements. SlideShare has a huge potential in that respect.
It is a low cost tool with great return potential. You can get started by simply adding your Facebook or LinkedIn profile and start uploading quality presentations. It is ideal for targeting B2B customers and also professionals who want to understand the philosophy of your business and the exact science behind your product. It is a wonderful search tool and helps your customers find content by creating organized lists.
It can help you create thought leaders out of your company executives. Just share their speech and thoughts with relevant keywords stuffed in and you can expect to get views, shares on other social media channels and also traffic to your landing pages on your website. Your executive’s expertise goes beyond the board room and company events and goes viral quickly.
The performance of your SlideShare content strategy is highly measurable and can be measured from the number of downloads, views and shares using the site analytics available to you. Slideshare also supports multimedia and you can upload your documents in ppt, pdf, jpeg, videos and many other formats. Slideshare Pro, allows you to integrate your Slideshare account with your CRM and helps you to generate leads without even leaving the social media space. According to ArtilleryMarketing, SlideShare is the YouTube of slide sharing websites!
The Balance urges its readers to consider Pinterest as a digital scrapbook that allows users to pin or like images of topics or items they find intriguing. By adding your promotional images and other media content like videos to their pin boards using the pin it button, prospects not only express their interest in your products or services but also provide free promotional service to you since, his own connections can now see the images pinned up on his homepage.
Pinterest has a very high rate of converting browsers into buyers. It has a very high rate of engagement too and you can promote your fare directly to your potential customers and since visual content is highly appreciated, many show interest. They can also find out about behind-the-scenes stories about your business and become a part of your journey. StrongCoffeeMarketing tells you that Pinterest is 80% more viral and 3 times more effective than Twitter!
It is a tremendous SEO booster since it can bring in quality links to your website. Every image that is pinned contains a link and when an image gets shared, it can lead them back to your website. It has a tremendous rate of engagement since the content is primarily visual and hence gets a higher number of views and shares. Pinterest is great for brand awareness and for nurturing and creating long lasting relationships.
Once, your prospects start getting interested in your business, they start pin your images to your own pinup boards. Each pin contains images, logos, hashtags and characteristics that make you distinct.
Piquora had suggested in one of their reports that each pin gets 6 page views and 10 re-pins. Now each pin has the same potential and hence the consumer-reach increases exponentially. With greater brand awareness and higher engagement, it is easier to convert these leads into genuine customers.
Instagram is an exemplar when it comes to visual social media success story. With over 500 million active users, it is one of the fastest growing global social media platforms today. Koozai in a post cites a report which states that Instagram drives 58 times greater engagement than Facebook and 120 times greater engagement than Twitter.
Instgram provides a unique advantage. It builds trust and helps to create an emotional connection with your prospects. People like to buy, not from corporate brands, but from other people with who they can connect. Hence, by sharing photos from everyday occurrences at your business center, sharing fun stories of your employees and the inspiring story of a product innovation through images, powerful hashtags and videos, you can become extremely likeable which in turn hikes up the conversion rate.
You can also integrate it with other sites like Facebook and Twitter and you can tweak the settings on your Instagram accounts to automatically share photos you publish on Instgram on your Facebook and Twitter accounts as well. This creates coherence and can appeal to different demographics simultaneously. The powerful hashtags can also bring you new audience and leads.
YouTube is the most popular video-sharing website in the world. You can leverage videos to connect with your customers readily. Speaking in a conversational tone is always better than writing. You can upload interesting videos, demo or explanatory videos or even advertisements that are loved by your audience.
Being the second largest search engine, content is optimized to be found by your audience. Being owned by Google, many of the videos are easily crawled and indexed and appear high on the SERP. You can also include keywords in the description and optimize it from the SEO perspective. It is also the third most popular website in the world and even a fraction of this traffic diverted to your website can boost footfall in your website by a huge margin.
The higher the subscription, the higher the level of engagement and higher will be the chance of conversion. YouTube videos can be embedded in your websites and blogs and brings you inward links as well as traffic. The interaction and relationship gets an emotional and personal connection as you can explain, demonstrate and show the benefits of your product and how it solves problems. You can also share videos of events and product launches and thus promote the personality of your brand!
You can also create promotional videos or short films propagating your brand philosophy, mission, introducing your top leaders and giving your business a face! You can amalgamate, videos, audio cues, text cues, images and make it a truly multimedia production.
Vimeo, like YouTube, is a video sharing and hosting website. Although Vimeo has a lesser reach than YouTube, it is ideal for reaching a niche audience. But since Vimeo doesn’t allow ads to be published when playing a video, it has a higher click through and open rate. The bounce rate is also lower and the quality of content is much better, since it caters to a niche audience who neither post nor subscribe to below par video content. They are also serious viewers and can offer constructive opinion.
You will have access to basic statistics for free and also advanced statistics for a small price and the performance is highly measurable and quantifiable. Pro or Business Account holders not only have the option for embedding clickable links which can then drive the traffic to a landing page or a blog or social media subscription page but can also collect information like email addresses and names (optional). You can create targeted email marketing campaigns where you send similar information and enjoy a high mindshare.
You can share high quality videos and also add members to your account who can collaborate and lend their expertise to view, create and/ or manage your videos.
Youku is a China-based video hosting service. It is one of the most popular websites in China and is compounding at a phenomenal rate annually. Although search engine company Baidu’s iQiyi has overtaken Youku in terms of popularity and monthly visitor count, it still remains a popular choice in the highly fragmented media scene in that part of the world.
It provides a host of data and statistics to help businesses track their performance. It is a highly responsive site, which is a major advantage in China where customers and prospects tend to use multiple devices to access the internet.
Youku Tudou Inc is also expanding globally at a rapid pace as it is entering into strategic partnerships with dominant local players in key international markets and hence they can provide an integrated experience to businesses who can use either of the platforms to get the same benefits. This has increased their active user base exponentially. As a marketer poised to enter China, you can’t ignore Youku. Rather try to tell your brand stories, promote explanatory and demo videos and drive engagement.
At Globibo Media, we take an integrated media approach when promoting businesses. Our in-depth knowledge and understanding of multiple social media platforms, creating campaigns and marketing efforts that work seamlessly across platforms lead to resource optimization, quick expansion of the follower and customer base and strong connection. We can handle a number of analytics metrics and interpret the results for immediate consumption in your boardrooms.
To know more about our integrated social media promotional services, give us a call.