How can businesses successfully target online and social media users through digital marketing? It starts with knowing the audience, and how it differs according to what online platform you’re reaching them on.
In our marketing team competition, we noticed a wide variety of engagement levels and responses based on how we presented our content. Below are our discoveries, which provide some insight on how to target users on various platforms.
Twitter & Instagram
The social media meccas for millennials. When posting content to these social media platforms, it’s important to realize that these audiences are looking for relatable posts or products, and not a jargon-laden or cookie cutter advertisement. Influencers on these platforms find success by showing their personality and being real with their followers. When our team posted content on these platforms, it was essential to write captions in a personal tone, add interesting text and visual appeal, and use highly searched hashtags to draw interest from people other than current followers.
We also discovered that specifically, Twitter is a difficult platform to post business related content on. Twitter seems to lend itself to allowing users to showcase their personality (i.e. Wendy’s and Netflix humorous and witty content) rather than promote specific products. Instead, Twitter better serves to deepen connections with users. Leave product and service promotion to LinkedIn and Facebook, where users aren’t looking for the same level of personality to be showcased.
With about two billion users, Facebook is a social medial platform that is hard to ignore. While our team’s initial content sparked views solely based on our “inner circles” of friends, moving beyond this group to a more general audience proved more difficult. Additionally, many readers didn’t spend as much time reading business related articles as they did sharing memes. Facebook does have business-related groups and product pages that allow for interaction with users. These groups seem to be an ideal place to post our content, but it was difficult to find success with this strategy, as posts need to be created specifically for different types of groups.
As with Twitter and Instagram, Facebook users look for a personal touch to shine through in posted content. By quickly responding to users who comment on posts, our team could build engagement and nurture additional interactions, which is highly valued on this platform.
Business related content is best positioned on LinkedIn, as users navigate there to actively seek out useful professional material. LinkedIn’s versatility is evident through the various forms of material that can be posted, from written posts to videos, which are known to significantly increase user engagement and brand awareness. One feature in particular that makes LinkedIn an ideal marketing platform for business content is the Groups feature, a hub that serves as a place to search business related content, post and view jobs, find answers to relevant topics, establish business contacts, and where users can establish themselves as industry experts. This platform serves as a crucial medium for businesses to engage professionals for a variety of purposes, serving as a highly effective marketing tool. On LinkedIn, posts were more successful if they took a professional tone, used hashtags, and mentioned specific companies, as seen below. This drew attention from professionals in the industry, increasing post interactions.
With the popularity and growth of social media platforms providing access to millions, or in Facebook’s case billions, of users where segmentation and targeting is easier than ever, it’s not hard to forget about email marketing.
While email may not be the shiny new platform or network, it is our opinion if the campaign is well crafted, email remains one of the most effective tools for a wide variety of content. Based on our experience, email marketing works especially well for content with potentially valuable insight or where opportunities are shared. This information can come in many different forms, but common examples are newsletters, offers and promotions, and renewals. Often these messages can feel more personal, as if that letter, offer, or reminder is being shared just with the receiver, and not a larger audience.
More importantly though is having the right permissions, design, and call to action. Once you as a marketer have the necessary permissions you can run A/B tests on your design and call to action to refine your message, and analytics will provide insight into the engagement and quality of the message, making email marketing a still relevant tool for marketers in a social media world.
Given the number of platforms and the differences in each, to be successful in the digital media space, marketers must know their audience and consider where and how content will be shared. While many of the social media platforms share users, where we choose to connect with users can change their willingness to engage. For example, an individual that is receptive to a listicle via email, LinkedIn, and Facebook, may not be as interested in the same content on Instagram or Twitter. Furthermore, how the content is shared must also adapt to the platform. Each channel has its limitations and strengths when sharing content. Make sure to play to the strengths of the channel or platform to generate intrigue with your audience. In summary, define the audience you are trying to target, determine where they will be most receptive to the content, and shape that content to the platform being used to reach the audience.
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