A Social Marketing Game Plan

Originally published on Music Meets Social.

Ah yes, the debate over which social media outlets to use. In short, my game plan is to only do as much as you can handle. Creating an amazing presence on one outlet far outweighs half-heartedly strategies for four social media outlets. It’s been proven time and time again that regular posting is key for building a strong online presence. Developing and curating content for an outlet takes time, and each outlet has it’s own format that works best.

social game plan

Focus on doing what you can well. If you can expand your efforts, do so.

Do I think I could utilize Pinterest? Yes, and I’m still somewhat surprised that it’s an outlet for this subject matter. But, could I devote enough attention for regular, fantastic posts? Not yet.

Side note: One of the things that was keeping me from Pinterest was the lack of scheduling tools. But,  I’m more inclined now that Buffer can schedule for Pinterest! (Is it getting a little creepy how much I mention them?)

Part of that reason is that images are crucial to Pinterest, and I need to formulate a game plan for that.

Find Your Opportunity

Now that we’ve established that fewer, better social presences are better than many underutilized outlets, the question is now how to find what works best for you. And there are a number of factors, tools, and resources that can help you!

Demographics

Demographics encompass characteristics of society. Young or old, men or women, children or teens, upper class or middle class, etc etc all contribute to a person’s buying habits, reading preferences, and other life choices. This is why it’s so important in marketing. If you have a product you want millennials to buy, it’s going to be hard if you attract a middle aged audience. That may be a silly example, but I hope you see my point. Know your demographics, and other choices will fall into place.

Every demographic sector has it’s choice for social media. For example, millennials have moved to Twitter, but older women still prefer Facebook. Pinterest’s top demographic is women. (More details and numbers to come.) In order to fully utilize your social outlet of choice, find your target demographic.

To do this, think about who you sell, write, or market to. Do you focus on helping 20-30 year-olds in their job search? Do you help postpartum women get back to exercising? Do you want to help men in their 30s-40s save towards and buy a home?

Another factor is how people are using platforms. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, but I use them for very different reasons. Facebook is for personal relationships (keeping up with family and friends), Twitter is professional (building my brand and relationships), and Pinterest is for one thing, and one thing only: StitchFix. I’ve never once looked at my Food board for dinner inspiration. (I have a massively long list of browser bookmarks for that.)

I may not be the best example of how a female in her 20s uses social media, but I still fall into the general category of millennial.

Your Plan

The next thing to consider is how you’ll be marketing. Will you only create content, or will you curate content too? If you post videos, will you first use YouTube then embed them (another opportunity for engagement!), or will you, for example, use Facebook’s video upload feature? Or will you cater to the professional video crowd and use Vimeo?

Do you want to focus on your photography, or have it as a main component? Then you should consider Pinterest and Instagram. It’s built on images. Facebook is also an increasingly visual medium, so posts with pictures do better analytically. But Facebook is also cracking down on sales pitch-sounding posts, so you need to keep that in mind.

Do you want to curate content and post often? Twitter may be more your thing. By nature, Twitter allows you to post more without upping the annoyance factor. This is due to them not resharing content like Facebook does. (Ie, the more people comment on a post, the more it appears in their friends’ feeds.)

Note: a recent Twitter app update has added a “While you were away…” feature showing highlights from those you follow. Do you love it, or do you think that’s too Facebook-like?

This is both good and bad. You can post more content, but you need to be keenly aware of your analytics to see when people are more likely to see your posts.

For example, slightly after noon will get people’s eyes during lunch hour, but of course that relies on being in the same time zone. Another, more failsafe way, is to post just before or just after the hour, when meetings are getting out or starting late, so chances are people will be on their phones.

The Pros & Cons

Note: I tried to find the most recent stats possible, but the numbers are always changing so inevitably this will become out of date within a few months, but I’ll be back to update!

Facebook

Stats:

  • Age 25-34 is most common age demo (29.7%)
  • 47% Men, 53% Women
  • Half of 18-24 bracket is on Facebook right after they wake up
  • 1-3 pm mid-week sees the highest traffic
  • Critical or important to 42% of business marketers

Pros:

  • Very visually oriented
  • Can reach a large segment of your audience(s)
  • Large number of users
  • On-board scheduling option (ie, instead of using third-parties)
  • Strong analytics tool for pages

Cons:

  • Algorithms that make no-cost marketing challenging
  • Constant changes to said algorithm, keeping us on our toes
  • May not have your key demo

Twitter

Stats:

  • 24% of all men, 21% of all women
  • Primarily used by those in urban communities
  • Significant increases among men, Caucasians, 65+, and college grads

Pros:

  • Great for reaching millennials
  • No algorithms filtering your content (cough, Facebook, cough…)
  • Paid marketing options, but it’s not necessary
  • Native, free scheduling tool, Tweetdeck
  • Popular network for third-party scheduling tools
  • New, better way to retweet (<link to post)

Cons:

  • Tweets can get buried
  • While you may love Twitter, it has a narrower audience
  • Not as visually formatted (but you can still use images!)

Instagram

Stats:

  • 22% of all men, 29% all of women
  • Primarily used by those in urban and suburban communities
  • As of September 2014, 53% of 18-29 year-olds are on, a 16% increase from 2013
  • Teens consider Instagram more “prestigious” than other networks.

Pros:

  • Great for merchandising options (giveaways, product updates, etc)
  • Obviously, it’s all about the picture
  • Third party apps give more options for images

Cons:

  • Very few scheduling tools
  • Pictures are king, which means limited text and comment options
  • Limited profile (one link, short bio, small profile picture)

YouTube

Stats:

  • Reaches more 18-24 US citizens than cable networks. (Impressive, right?)
  • 20% of users get their news primarily through YouTube
  • Only 30% of users are within the US

Pros:

  • Most common video hosting site
  • Free to begin, with advertising options
  • Subscription options can keep viewers
  • Potential for mass viewing and growth!

Cons:

  • Content ownership issues once video is uploaded
  • A lot of content you need to fight through to be seen
  • Need to be cautious with copyrighted audio and image content (as you should be with any network!)

Google+

Stats:

  • 69% Men, 31% Women
  • Most users aged 25-40
  • Higher chance of higher education, technologically advanced (60%+ have a college education)

Pros:

  • Strong image use
  • Highly integrated among other Google platforms (Ie, great option for businesses, since it will show up in Maps and general search options)
  • Scheduling options available in third-party apps
  • Google Hangout allows for great interactive engagement

Cons:

  • Not many active users (compared to registered users, which is well, everyone with a Gmail account)
  • Kind of the ugly duckling of social media (“I don’t remember following Prevention magazine.. why is it showing up on my feed?” ← Legitimate thought of mine)
  • Steeper learning curve

Pinterest

Stats:

  • 81% Female and 19% Male
  • Of active users, 83% would rather follow a brand than a celebrity (which means great options for you!)
  • Median age is 40, though those under 40 are the most active daily “pinners” (as opposed to simply browsing)
  • Millennials are on Pinterest as much as on Instagram
  • The most pinned categories are Food & Drink, DIY & Crafts, Home Decor, and Holidays & Events
  • Pinning is “aspirational”, where users primarily pin what they want to go, achieve, or buy.

Pros:

  • All about the images!
  • Strong integration into blogs for easy repinning
  • Curated lists for specific topics, like health, food, quotes, etc
  • Videos can play within Pinterest, so you can essentially create playlists (Cool, right? Source)

Cons:

  • Reaches a narrower demo, which can hurt if your target is say, older men
  • Not very customizable, profile-wise
  • If you aren’t creating image-driven content now, it can be a hard adjustment

LinkedIn

Stats:

  • Primary user base is 30-49
  • Statistics show adults prefer LinkedIn to Twitter (professional network rather than social network)
  • Predominantly male users (2014 statistics showed that LinkedIn was the only network not dominated by women)

Pros:

  • Has the market on the business world
  • Growing publishing platform, which can grow awareness toward your brand (if done well)
  • Easy to see [varying amounts of] information and connections for those who publish

Cons:

  • Narrow demo, not as helpful if you don’t target the business world
  • Sector of users don’t take advantage of everything LinkedIn has to offer (ie, goes on to confirm connections and update resume, but not much else)

I hope this has helped solidify some questions or thoughts you may have for social media for your company, client, or personal branding! Questions? Let me know in the comments!

Questions of the Day:

Do you fall into the demographic guidelines for your age, or are you a rebel?

I'd like to think I'm a bit of both, but I definitely fall into some the guidelines!

Do you like Twitter's new "While you were away" feature in the app?

I do overall, since it's getting better at showing the people who's updates I want to see. I'm kind of apathetic towards it, really. (Partially since I haven't seen it lately, so I tend to forget it exists until I'm talking Twitter!)