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Microblogs, Visual Platforms and Unicorns: What Social Media Channels are Right for Your Audience?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 08:45
Understanding your social media audience

Social media is a topic that excites and challenges PR, IR and marketing pros alike.

Value is one of the greatest commodities on social media, which is why brands must have an intimate understanding of audience needs. Brands must also identify the platforms their audiences use the most, as well as when and how they use them.

Not sure where to start? Take a look at each of your social platforms and ask yourself these questions: Does my audience use this platform to ask questions? Do they use it to enhance their own expertise? Are they here to be inspired?

Knowing these answers can influence how you create and position the content you share.

I can attest to the fact that our clients are performing outstanding audience research with our media monitoring platform. They’re reaching beyond basic analytics to a better understanding of attitudes and habits because they know this information enables them to deliver the right message at the right time.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Brands with high-performing social media strategies tend to have one thing in common: optimization. Regardless of your audiences' needs, you'll see the best results when you align strategy and tactics with the inherent function, purpose, and strengths of each platform.

Traditional Microblogs

Though Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have taken a back seat to more visual platforms, each still offers strategic value. Combining an understanding of each platform’s capabilities with hyper-targeted messaging will enable you to capitalize on their respective strengths.

  • Twitter is for short blurbs with a powerful, singular message behind them. Here, break out the highlights of long-form content down into several short, digestible snippets you can deliver over a longer time span.
  • Facebook is where users connect with family, friends and those with shared interests. This creates opportunities to leverage third-party credibility. Doing so successfully relies more on messaging and less on the format, so why not build your posts around trending topics that appeal to a larger audience?
  • On LinkedIn, you can leverage one of your biggest audiences to amplify your message. Current and prior employees likely make up a sizeable portion of your following, so including company culture into your strategy and posts can resonate with them in a big way. 

Visual Platforms

Captivating visuals are essential to success on Instagram. Instagram marketers must demonstrate mastery of the platform's three unique delivery formats: standard posts, stories, and the newly-launched IGTV.

I have witnessed some brands avoiding YouTube because they fear that they lack the proper resources. However, brands of all sizes have found ways to entertain and educate audiences on YouTube, despite time and budget constraints. 

The Unicorns

Depending on your business, you may be able to leverage niche platforms to reach hyper-targeted audiences. Platforms like Reddit, Pinterest and Medium each host unique content and serve up smaller―yet more highly engaged―audiences.

More creative marketers can make use of affinity-focused platforms like Twitch, a live-streaming app for gamers. The key to success on these platforms is relevance, so research and strategy are fundamental.

The Bottom Line

Social marketing offers seemingly infinite tactics for product promotion; that overabundance of opportunity can be paralyzing unless you have the tools to navigate where your audiences go and what resonates with them when they get there. When you fully understand your audiences and how they use social media, you will be able to target the right messages in the right formats on the right platforms. Get it right, and you can unlock engagement in ways you have never been able to do before.

*This post is part of our newsletter, CONNECT. Read more articles here

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