The Platforms Choosing and Prioritizing Your Networks
Social Media Market Share
As an organization, if you were to engage on just one social network, it would have to be Facebook, which dwarfs its rivals in both membership size and the passion of its audience (as measured by visits and time on site). But being on Facebook alone would be a mistake. You owe it to your business to participate on multiple networks. You should be using the strengths of the different platforms—and the different missions and mindsets of the people on them—so that you can achieve the following goals:
- Your brand’s social presence is essentially wherever consumers seek it
- You satisfy a breadth of consumer needs, including research, customer service, amusement, and immersion in the brand experience
- You amplify, echo, and support your key campaigns and brand messages consistently across multiple media
- You leverage the fixed costs of social media (program strategy, policy establishment, planning and staffing, analytics and technology investments) across a broader reach.
specialize in professional networking or rich media sharing. While every platform overlaps the user base of the others, users may be in a different mindset or have a different mission when they visit each one.
Engagement vs. Marketing
People participate in social media for fun. They’re eager to connect with friends and family, and they’re increasingly willing to bring trusted brands into that circle of relationship. But there are limits to the connection people really want with companies on social media. Consumers have intangible but real boundaries when it comes to receiving promotional pitches through social channels.
One good way to reach your online community with new products, deals, and offers is to leverage the power of word of mouth. Consumers feel better about, and place more trust in, the purchase advice they get from friends. Social networks are a great place to pursue word-of-mouth marketing, build brand reputation, deepen your relationship with existing customers, and practice a soft sell.
Research has demonstrated a strong correlation between people “liking” a brand on social media and doing more business with that brand. However, a 2012 study found that many consumers are lukewarm about receiving promotional messages from brands they “friend.” 3 While 40% of social media users “like” businesses in order to receive special discounts and promotions, another 40% say they don’t believe that “liking” a brand on Facebook entitles the brand to market to them via the newsfeed. Clearly, the commercialization of social media is a touchy subject and a rapidly evolving one.
Facebook keeps getting richer, as a user experience and as a place for businesses to build communities and advertise for customers. The site continues to grow because new users, merely curious at first, often become addicted to the site. Contrast that with many other social networks, where curious newcomers tend to kick the tires, get bored, and quit coming back.
Not everybody “gets” Twitter. Of the 300 million individuals who have signed up, only about half are active. While Twitter users account for about 20% of all Internet users, the site garners just a single-digit share of all visits to social media sites. In other words, Twitter is visited less frequently by its members than are the “stickier” networks, namely Facebook and YouTube.
There are literally several hundred social networks and social media websites out there. In this chapter, I’ve explored the top seven: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Foursquare. Between them, these “magnificent seven” cover almost 100% of the social media audience. More important, they run the gamut of different strengths you’ll need to draw on depending on your brand and its market—whether you’re B2C or B2B, ecommerce or bricks-and-mortar, targeting males or females, and so on.