In the grand scheme of things, social media is still pretty new. The first social media site was born in 1997 and social media marketing (SMM) services have skyrocketed since.
If you want a full breakdown of the history of social media, check out this Hootsuite blog.
With that being said, in 2023 there are some key social media platforms that you as a business owner or social media manager should be on. Note that it’s important to understand how your brand will be presented during SMM services on each of these platforms. Brand awareness and representation are critical for building a strong social media presence and establishing a positive reputation for your business. By consistently showcasing your brand’s unique value proposition, you increase your visibility, drive sales, and achieve long-term success.
DreamGrow keeps a running, updated list of the top social media platforms.
Why does my business need social media?
Like all things in business, you should be strategizing the way you utilize social media and invest in SMM services. It’s not about how many followers you can gain or how many likes and shares your post gets, it’s about the experience you deliver.
If you can come up with an SMM strategy tailored to your specific industry, social media will become a tool to deliver you more leads.
Consider this concept: Is it better to have 1,000 devoted followers who actively engage with your business and purchase from you or 10,000 “meh” followers who aren’t as interested in your business?
HubSpot offers a free Ebook covering how businesses can strategically use Instagram, but these strategies could apply to most social media platforms. You should prioritize setting KPI goals and building a strategy to achieve those goals.
To elaborate on the marketing theory behind social media and its impact on your bottom line, check out how you can use social media to save your business money on our website.
Building brand awareness should be one of the top goals for your business, especially in the early stages. If you’re active on social media and constantly showing up on your target audience’s home pages, you will stay on their minds. The more exposure you get, the more leads you’re likely to get. On average, 70% of the buying decision is made before a prospect talks to the company.
It’s a balance. Don’t overexpose yourself. Rather, strategize and find what works best for you and your business.
Connecting with Customers
Social media gives you the opportunity to talk one on one with your customers and connect with potential customers. By doing this you can reduce your churn rate and gain repeat customers.
If you have the resources to actively monitor your accounts, you’ll be able to consistently connect with your customers.
Many marketing experts say engaging with your followers on social media is the “secret sauce” for success. Note that you shouldn’t tailor your strategy to what your followers want, but rather to how anyone can find you on each platform.
Think like your customers, and put yourself in their buying mindset. That will help you connect with them and have a better understanding of their needs and wants. Educate your followers to assure them you’re an expert in your field. Consumers love trustworthy sources and convenient solutions to their problems.
Your followers may only want one type of content, but to appeal to new followers you might have to switch it up every now and then.
Grow Your Mailing List
If you have more traffic coming to your website from social media, you will have the opportunity to turn new leads. Over time, you can utilize this to grow your email list. If your email list grows, so can your revenue from email campaigns.
Knowing what social media can do for your business is great information to have, but understanding why each platform can be beneficial for you and how you can use it is the key to success.
Each social media platform can be valuable for both B2C and B2B sectors, but they’re all tailored to one or the other.
Facebook: Estimated 2.9 billion active users
With around 2.9 billion active users, Facebook is still the top social networking site in the world. Facebook is consistently changing its layout and user experience, and as a business owner you can use this to your advantage.
As Facebook continues to dominate the realm of social media, it gives leeway for businesses of every size to digitally market their products or services. Your Facebook page will allow you to interact directly with customers. This helps build trust and can lead to meaningful connections with potential clients.
Facebook is free but if you’re looking to reach a wider audience, you can purchase ads, boost posts and run sponsored content. While that’s optional, it’s not a bad idea from time to time! You can also target a specific audience in different categories to tailor who sees your ad. These campaigns attract qualified traffic to your website or landing page and generate leads or sales for your business.
Gaining insight into who sees your posts on Facebook is also appealing to business owners. Facebook gives you the ability to see page views, post reach, likes, and comments. You can check out all of these stats through your professional dashboard on your business page.
According to IT Chronicles, this social media platform is suitable for B2C marketing.
Instagram: Estimated 1.074 billion active users
Engaging with your followers is important for each social media platform, but on Instagram the best places for users to find your brand is through the search bar and the Explore page. HubSpot stresses the importance of using the search bar just like you would any other search engine. Make sure you’re using the right SEO strategies in your Instagram profile.
It could be more difficult to be seen on the Explore page unless you have a very niche business or product. If you do, capitalize on that by making incredible content that will land you on that page. You can also use trending hashtags, sounds, and keywords to boost your Instagram presence.
Note that Instagram now puts a bigger emphasis on videos (reels) instead of photos. Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri says the reason the platform is moving in this direction is because users want to “be entertained.” It is estimated that 2 billion people watch Instagram Reels every month.
Use Instagram to capitalize on what you’re best at and use those strategies to market to your target audience.
Click here for a free HubSpot Ebook focused on how you can use Instagram for your business. Instagram should be used for B2C marketing purposes.
TikTok: Estimated 689 million active users
TikTok may have started off as a platform for teens to show off their dance moves, but it’s since turned into a site where people of all ages and backgrounds can share their ideas and passions. Users on this social media app are looking for content that is real, trendy, and relatable.
Use this to your advantage by jumping on trending sounds and communicating directly with potential customers. If your business shows up on someone’s “For You Page,” that means they’re already interested in what you have to offer. Use the free platform to show users that you’re an expert in your field and someone who users should turn to when they’re ready to buy a specific product (inbound marketing).
While the app is still relatively new, it skyrocketed in popularity during the beginning of the pandemic and has become one of the top social media platforms. DreamGrow reports that two years after launching, TikTok was in the top five of the world’s most downloaded apps. Just one year later is reportedly took the #1 spot on that list.
If that doesn’t motivate you to join, then I don’t know what would. TikTok’s highly engaged user base is the perfect audience for B2C brands.
Pinterest: Estimated 442 million active users
Pinterest is more than just a place for you to go back and look at what you chose for your first tattoo or wedding styles from 2014 (chevron anyone?), but it’s a place where you can create a clickable graphic that takes users straight to your website.
You can easily use Canva or Adobe to create a graphic with the correct dimensions, eye catching colors, and verbiage that will attract the right audience.
According to DreamGrow, Pinterest gained more than 100 million new monthly active users in 2020. These users are searching for specific products and inspiration, you can leverage that by making posts linking back to your website.
Similar to the social media platforms mentioned above, Pinterest can be used to reach a new audience and grow your online presence. Hootsuite gives eight strategies to help you use Pinterest for your business. Pinterest is most suitable for B2C marketing.
LinkedIn: 774 million active users
Some businesses use LinkedIn to find employees, but others use it to boost their reach and promote themselves. According to HubSpot, LinkedIn generates leads 227% more effectively than Facebook and Twitter.
Creating informative blogs, guides, and infographics that can easily be shared on LinkedIn is a great way to promote your business for free. Like Facebook, you can boost posts on LinkedIn.
Users on LinkedIn are on the platform for a specific reason, most of the time to connect with like-minded people are businesses. If someone sees a post from you that they like and shares it with their connections, that opens the door for those connections to follow your page and lead to high engagement numbers. These connections can also lead to collaborations or potential clients.
It’s important to note the difference between a LinkedIn Profile and a LinkedIn Page. A profile is someone’s individual LinkedIn, which can be used privately. A Page is public and commonly used for businesses. An individual’s Profile can link back to their businesses Page, that way if someone visits your personal profile, they can be linked back to your business.
Unlike the platforms above, LinkedIn is best suited for B2B marketing. It lends itself to curated content that can help users develop their skills and careers. Click here for a quick guide from HubSpot on how you can use LinkedIn for your business.
Remember to Strategize Your SMM Services
Remember that while social media marketing can be fun, it still takes strategy to make sure you do it successfully. Define your audience for each platform, set strong goals that align with your business, plan ahead a mixture of content, and optimize each platform for user engagement.