Before I tell you where you should invest in 2017, I want to stress how big of an opportunity social media is for your brand.
Outside of search engine traffic, no other collective medium lets you reach more people than social media. Let that sink in. No amount of television, radio, direct mail, e-mail, or out-of-home will ever be as effective at reaching people.
Now, don’t get me wrong, brands continue to face an uphill battle to be relevant on social due to changes in algorithms and shifts in product design. Many brands use this as an excuse not to invest in the first place. Like any marketing initiative, a return-on-investment isn’t a guarantee. And on social, it’s significantly more difficult to measure results than performance-based marketing channels. Still, social is just like all the direct marketing channels I mentioned earlier: Highly effective when done well.
What does “done well” look like? I could show you a bunch of examples of campaigns that got killer results, but to be honest, if you’re starting from what other people have done as a baseline, you’re not thinking about social the right way or doing your own brand justice. Instead, I suggest you make the conscious decision to invest in social for its reach potential and build a strategy that makes sense for what you have to offer and who you think can use it. The broader your market fit, the better social will perform because you can reach just about everyone online.
Now back to the original question… where should your business invest in social in 2017?
#1 – Facebook
Facebook has over 1.7 billion monthly active users worldwide. It is by far the largest social platform today, and it also has diverse set of tools for businesses. From its Business Manager interface, to offers, to place pages, Facebook clearly wants your business to have a home on its network.
Investing in Facebook also gives you access to the 1 billion people who use Messenger monthly. More and more businesses are using Messenger to answer questions from customers, new and existing straight from their Facebook Page.
I’ll give you an example of how Facebook and Messenger can earn you business. Recently my wife and I wanted to join a new local gym. However, after visiting its website we saw there were initiation fees, which we hate paying.
Last year, I would have just kept Googling until I found a gym without initiation fees, but it’s not last year. Instead, I visited the gym’s Facebook page and saw it was actively replying to Facebook messages; Facebook makes this clear with a banner on each business page. I dropped the business a note that I honestly wouldn’t have asked a person face-to-face or over the phone and asked if there were going to be any upcoming promotions that got rid of those nasty fees. Their answer: Yes – the entire month of January! Result: Our business earned!
Gone are the days when Instagram was just a place that people posted selfies and pictures of their meals. With over 500 million people actively using Instagram each month, savvy brands are taking advantage of this highly engaged audience.
It’s still early for businesses on the platform, which is a good thing. Instagram continues to add more and more tools to make it easier for you to manage your brand’s content.
I like Instagram because all it takes to get started is a smartphone and the willingness to show off your people and product. Even if you’re a terrible photographer, people are hardwired to connect with photos and Instagram is a canvas built around visuals. It’s also a platform that relies on discovery and search, so customers can find you through relevant hashtags related to your brand or product.
People choose to connect with businesses on Instagram to regularly see what they love best about the brand. Whether that’s cats riding Roombas on iRobot’s page or people looking for fitness inspiration from FitStar, Instagram lets you stay top of mind in a very meaningful way.
REALLY CONSIDER IT
Upfront, I’ll be clear: Twitter does not have the largest audience and engagement on the platform is difficult to achieve. With around 300 million monthly active users, it’s around 1/6th the size of Facebook.
However, Twitter has become the de facto place people go to complain when they encounter a problem with a brand. I’d strongly recommend setting up and monitoring a presence on Twitter even if you have no intention of pursuing a content marketing strategy on the platform.
Keep in mind that even if people don’t like or retweet your content, it doesn’t mean that they don’t see, read, or click it. In fact they can do this without even being a Twitter user themselves, so there is a branding element to consider when deciding how much you want to invest in Twitter.
No matter what, Twitter can easily become a negative echo chamber that damages your brand image if you’re not there to manage it.
Think about it
Tumblr may come as surprise as my fourth choice for a social media channel, but over 550 million people use it each month. That said, regardless of its user base, you should think about it as a part of your social media approach because the original social media channel was the blog.
(Funny enough, I once worked for the guy who invented blogging, but we’ll have to save that story for another post.)
If you’ve avoided setting up a blog because it’s difficult, Tumblr makes it very easy. It offers a set of basic tools that lets you get your message out without having to worry about updating plugins or even responding to comments unless you want to.
Think about Tumblr if you’re considering a strategy that involves blogging. If you really want to invest here, we’ve compared starting your company’s blog on WordPress versus Tumblr over here.
Think about it
Pinterest clocks in with around 100M monthly active users. It is the smallest social network included on this list, but chances are if your business makes a physical good people are already pinning about your product.
People often maintain Pinterest Boards around aspiration items, aesthetics, and feelings. If your brand or business can tap into this niche, having your content on Pinterest just makes good business sense and is likely to get repinned and spread.
The Bottom Line
Your brand has to be on social in 2017. Start with Facebook and Instagram and expand out as you can. As with content on the platforms, it’s better to go quality over quantity when selecting which channels to manage for your brand too.
If you need help, Sociality Squared offers highly competitive rates for monthly managed services that cover everything from setup to strategy to content production and daily monitoring. Our clients also stay with us on average for over 3 years which is like a lifetime for an agency relationship.
Reach out if you want to learn more about working together.
Here’s to 2017!