By Caitlin Brennan

April 5th, 2017

How can marketers best use social media to their advantage today? Especially on the hyper-competitive playing fields of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn?

We’ve been answering these questions with our Essential Guide series, now available in one comprehensive ebook, The Essential Social Networks Guide for Marketers.

Each chapter contains a wealth of easy-to-follow tips, growth hacks and instructions. Discover what sets each network apart, who uses what, and how to employ best practices to further your marketing goals. For each network we turn broad questions into actionable answers.

Who is your audience on each network?
We begin with an analysis of the audiences of each social network. Today’s consumers are more connected than ever. The average consumer has seven social media accounts and engages with 3.5 according to the Global Web Index. Everything from casual chat to crucial conversations takes place on social media.

Almost as important to where users are spending their time is how they access social networks. According to a BI Intelligence report, mobile commerce will make up 45% of total e-commerce by 2020. Consumers also use mobile to do their homework. Nielsen says 53% of respondents use a mobile device to compare prices and 52% look up product information on a mobile device.

This has implications on factors like content choice and formatting. The most competitive marketers are also investing in social persona profiles as an individual’s behavior can vary enormously depending on the device they are using.

Modern consumers are spoilt for choice, so it’s paramount that brands establish an emotional connection and deliver personalized content to win and keep loyal customers.

Hitting the right tone and style
Each network has a unique tone and style. To connect with your audience you need to learn to talk the talk. It wouldn’t be appropriate to post a funny cat video on LinkedIn’s professional network; however, that type of content is the cat’s meow on Twitter.

Chances are, your business has a branding strategy that will lend itself nicely as the foundation to build a social identity. It helps to lay out some guidelines to keep everybody on the same page and ensure continuity. Do you want to project a young and cool image? Is it important that customers view you as technical experts? Pick a tone and stick with it.

Employing each network’s unique strengths
Social channels each have their own unique strengths you should utilize. Universally, all networks provide an opportunity to deliver social customer service. Both customers and companies benefit from social customer service. Consumers live on social and expect to find brands there too.

Customers who receive fast and thorough answers will be more likely to repeat purchases and refer friends. Anyone visiting your social media channels can tell the difference between a customer-friendly space and a place where frustrated people scream into the void.

Dynamic content is transforming social media
People are spending more time watching digital videos than on social media according to eMarketer. Mark Zuckerberg outlined his vision for Facebook’s ‘video-first’ strategy, saying, “We’re making progress putting video first across our apps and executing our 10 year technology roadmap.”

Image sharing has been the core of Instagram’s business model. After Facebook’s success with video, Instagram followed in the footsteps of their parent company by continuing to evolve their video offerings.

The right mix of organic and paid advertising
Most brands (86%) utilize both paid and organic content. Paid social media ad spend expected to reach $41 billion dollars this year. Nevertheless, despite reports to the contrary, organic social media is  still very much alive. According to research conducted by Yahoo, consumers prefer personalized ads, finding them more engaging (54%), educational (52%), time-saving (49%) and memorable (45%) than general-audience ads.

At the same time, companies who put the right effort into audience targeting are doing their budgets a favor.

Whether you rely on organic and paid advertising, the degree to which you can personalize your social media posting will set your brand apart. That means using concrete data insights about your target audience to frame great content.

The essentials you need to get started
For someone just getting started, there’s a lot to learn, and it can seem intimidating. Start with the Essential Social Networks Guide for Marketers and work out from there. Use our reading list to find other sources and keep up with developments. Whatever you do, keep at it. Social media isn’t a chore, it’s an opportunity.

The Essential Social Networks Guide for Marketers.

Download the complete marketer's guide to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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