Maintaining social media accounts or pages for your business, however small, is a no-brainer. Your customers are on social media and if you want to grow your business, you have to be where they are.
Statistics show that consumers recommend and review products on social media, making social media marketing a must for brands and businesses.
Studies show that 95% of online adults, aged 18 to 34 are most likely to follow a brand via a social networking site and that 71% who have had a good social media experience with a brand or business are likely to recommend it. Better than recommendations, purchases are actually made. In 2015, Facebook influenced 52% of consumers’ online and offline purchases.
But the reality is that a company or brand can’t be awesome on all social media platforms, and they don’t have to be. In fact, they don’t have to be on every platform.
If you’re a business owner, your aim should be to choose a social media platform that offers the best potential for your brand. Don’t waste bandwidth or resources in order to maintain a page or account that does not reach your market.
Choosing a media platform for your business is not like gambling. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. You must know your business and your consumers’ needs well if you were to pick the most relevant and profitable social media platform. You must set a clear goal, and know your audience and your brand in order to choose the right social media channel.
Below are some trends to watch out in social media 2017 and whether your business is a perfect fit.
Tips for Choosing the Best Social Media Platform for Your Business In 2017
Promotion via paid ads: retail and services
Businesses just used to grow their market on social media over time. But with tougher competition and limiting algorithms, it has become increasingly hard to get your messages out there. There’s just too many contents and feeds are cluttered.
Businesses and brands may cut through the clutter with native ads, which the biggest social media channels have introduced in recent years. According to independent market research company BIA/Kelsey, social advertising revenues in the US alone is projected to grow to $11 billion in 2017 or an annual growth rate of 18.6%.
There’s social advertising on Facebook and Twitter, while Instagram jumped in last year with promoted posts and updates. These ads are targeted and are easily shareable, making them a smart investment if you have the right content.
The retail and services industry can invest in this trend. The good thing is that success (or failure) can easily be tracked with the number of engagement.
Visual imagery for the win: travel, events, and food
If there is one thing that remained the same in one of the fastest changing industries today, it is people’s love for visuals.
Any digital marketing agency would advise brands to come up with images, infographics, and videos to have more impact. If your brand is high on visuals, social networking sites such as Pinterest and Instagram are the way to go. Pinterest, a content-sharing service, has a predominantly female audience. It uses visual imagery as the main selling point, making it a perfect channel for businesses such as wedding planning, travel and tours, interior decorating, food, and fashion.
Instagram is also a great social media platform for niche markets. Most people have come to love artful, interesting Instagram photos that tell a story in a really powerful way.
For creative promos, product introductions, and DIY tutorials set up an account on YouTube.
In the moment: news, government, and events
With social media channels now offering live video or offering content in real-time, social videos are certainly among the 2017 social media trends businesses should carefully look into. There’s Twitter’s Periscope, Facebook Live, and now Instagram is testing its own live video option.
Live videos answer the clamor for urgency. They also respond to calls for authenticity amid the surge of fake news. This is why most news agencies have tapped Facebook Live in covering major events. Most recently, President Trump’s inauguration was a big event on social media.
Events companies may also find this useful as they can offer an authentic experience to their audience by live streaming their events. Government agencies may also find this useful during launches, ceremonies, and press briefings.
Businesses dealing with information dissemination might also find Twitter useful as this social media channel deals with ongoing conversations. If you are in the business of answering queries, these platforms are certainly very helpful.
Future of chat bots: customer service and e-commerce
Soon enough, you’ll need a help in social media management and chatbots can lend a hand. These are standalone conversation machines pushing real-time engagement to a whole new level. It can reply to automated messages with no humans involved. It is a potential communications solution introduced by Facebook that is designed to support agents, and collect and analyze data to give customers a fast and correct answer.
If you are in e-commerce or customer service where virtual engagements are a must to build a brand’s reputation, chatbots are worth considering.
Some businesses have the impression that Facebook is enough. It could be in some cases, but it wouldn’t hurt exploring other channels. Facebook is a great site to begin your social media marketing because everyone’s practically there, but widen your horizons as you move forward.
In choosing a social media platform for your business, don’t forget to consider your resources and content. Choose a platform that works for you, one that you love and one that you’ll have fun maintaining.
See also: Top 7 Strategies for Promoting Content across Social Media Networks