Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram? Social media success isn’t one size fits all

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Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram? Social media success isn’t one size fits all
As more consumers shift online and social media continues to boom, SMEs must consider tactics to optimise results.
Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

As the number of social media channels continues to increase, knowing where to start as a small business owner can feel daunting.

Most SMEs have smaller marketing budgets and teams, and as a result can lack access to the resources and insights that help fuel business growth.

In today’s digitised world, social media has become a cornerstone marketing tool for businesses wanting to stand out from the crowd in the soaring online market. Validating this, research shows 92 per cent of marketers said social media helped to increase exposure. 

However, not all social media channels are designed with the same objectives in mind and consequently, each channel serves a unique offering for businesses. 

For example, let’s contrast LinkedIn and Instagram. Where LinkedIn is generally used by businesses for recruitment, employer branding and thought leadership, Instagram is used as a tool for brand awareness and ecommerce.

As an SME, whether your goal is to drive brand awareness, engage with new customers or increase website traffic, when it comes to evaluating the success of a social media campaign, you’ll need clearly defined objectives. 

Here, we explore the social media channels that have dominated in 2021, and consider the tactics SMEs can use to achieve their full potential in 2022 and beyond.

Get to know your audience

Social media is exceptionally saturated today so a targeted audience is at the heart of success. Ultimately, if you don’t know who your audience is, you can’t target them or give them what they want. Regardless of whether you’re targeting millennials, stay-at-home parents, busy professionals, retirees or every demographic in between, you’ll unlock success by drilling down into audience demographics to amplify engagement.

If you’ve already designed your customer personas, this can be used as a basis for your social media strategy. Otherwise, you can leverage native social media analytics and insights to better understand your audience demographics, including who they are, the areas or cities they live in, what they care about and how engaged they are on social media.

Identify your goals and objectives

Identifying what you want to achieve with social media early in the campaign development process is critical for success. From building brand awareness to reaching prospective customers and driving new leads, or all of the above, when it comes to choosing a social media platform and judging the success of a social campaign, SMEs must know their objectives. 

After deciding your goals, the next step is to determine how you’ll track progress. The best way to do this is to utilise the social media metrics that match your objectives based on the channel. Common metrics include organic reach rate, clickthrough rate, video view rate, engagement rate and growth rate. 

Depending on your campaign objectives and chosen channel, not all metrics will be relevant for your business or to measure the success of the campaign. Where growth rate will be relevant to SMEs looking to grow their social following, it’ll be less important for SMEs with a goal of high website traffic.

Drive successful social campaigns

The average person spends two hours and 25 minutes on social media per day, swiping, clicking and tapping on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn. These interactions serve as customers you could be securing. The below are examples of social tactics that have dominated in 2021:

1. Personalised and localised content

Consumers are targeted with more advertising than ever before. One tactic to counter this is to provide content that’s both personal and locally relevant for the consumer. Epsilon’s recent survey revealed 80 per cent of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers a personalised experience compared to a generic campaign.

Leaning into technology is a smart and time-effective solution to localise content. For businesses with a physical store, geofencing via data from smartphones allows potential customers to be targeted with your marketing messages as soon as they enter a given perimeter. For example, a customer could receive grocery store recommendations while passing by a supermarket.

Your business can also optimise any ad spend with geographic targeting using Facebook, Google Ads, and Google My Business.

2. Engaging video content

It’s hard to deny the power of short-form videos like those found on TikTok and Instagram Reels. More than seven in 10 social media users report sending content on these social media powerhouses to friends and family members to make them smile, and 36 per cent use funny, viral pictures to represent how they feel. 

On average, consumers only watch one minute of content before engaging or moving onto the next eye-catching image or video. This makes short-form video the perfect option to leverage shorter attention spans and connect with consumers because you can use this type of content to build a relationship with your audience.

SMEs can also use memes, short-form videos, and other humorous and relevant content to showcase products or services and secure higher consumer retention rates. 

As more consumers shift online and social media continues to boom, SMEs must consider tactics to optimise results. In addition to measuring metrics, businesses are turning to AI-supported digital marketing tools to help build data-informed strategies and boost productivity. With these strategies, SMEs can cut through the noise to successfully reach their desired audiences and ultimately, generate stronger results. 

David Fairfull is CEO and co-founder of Metigy.

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