How to Choose Social Channels for Your Brand — Pt. 2
Evaluate the potential of Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest for your brand.
If you read How to Assess Which Social Platforms Are Right for Your Brand — Pt. 1, you’ve had a chance to familiarize yourself with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and have a rough idea of whether or not these platforms are a good fit for your business. Now, we’re shifting gears and focusing on Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest.
Before we dive in, let’s first discuss why it’s so important to incorporate channel plans as part of your social media strategy. Effective channel planning helps you determine the unique role each of your social channels will play in reaching your audience. For instance, which social channels require a higher level of effort than others? Are they “always-on” or “pulse” (used intermittently) channels? Is real-time content a highly important factor? Where are hashtags best utilized? All of these questions (and more) are answered through the channel planning process, ensuring your channels are utilized in the best way possible.
If you’re not sure where to start, start here! Read this blog post to gain a clear, high-level understanding of Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest and how you can use these highly visual platforms to support your marketing goals. Remember to keep these global considerations top-of-mind as you’re reading through each of the respective platforms. Answering these questions is what will ultimately help you determine your plan of action.
Why Consider Instagram?
B2B & B2C
- While you might think Instagram is best for B2C, there’s definite potential for B2B, if used properly.
Show Off Your Creative Side
- Instagram is a highly visual platform, meaning the multimedia elements of your posts and aesthetic appeal of your business profile is critical to your success. If you’re considering Instagram for your business, it’s crucial you have dedicated resources to support creative production.
- The strategic placement of Stories (at the very top of the feed) has encouraged users to stay on the platform longer and visit it more frequently. Stories give you the opportunity to put your content right in front of your audience and potentially get around the never-ending battle of declining organic reach. Plus, you can take advantage of all the fun, interactive stickers and features including hashtags, locations, GIFs, drawing, polls, emoji slider voting, questions, etc.
Advanced Advertising Platform
- Instagram’s advertising capabilities are quite robust (thanks to Facebook), meaning you can target your audience on a very granular level to reach exactly who you intend to reach.
WHO’S USING INSTAGRAM?
Instagram has surpassed over 800 million monthly active users. Note: This number has doubled in the past two years. According to Social Media Today, Instagram is used by 35% of adults in the United States. More specifically, 30% of U.S. men and 39% of U.S. women are using this platform. The breakdown of users by age range is as follows:
Other important stats include:
- 80% of Instagram users say they follow at least one business on the app.
- At least 30% of Instagram users have purchased a product they first discovered on Instagram.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO CONSIDER?
- Currently, Instagram doesn’t support clickable links other than the one in your profile bio. Quick Tip: You can use a link aggregating tool such as Linktree to host all of your different destination links in one place. This is extremely beneficial especially to those who frequently drive users back to their site.
High-Quality Imagery and Video
- We can’t reinforce this enough. Instagram is a highly visual platform, meaning the creative aspect of your post is the most important factor. If you don’t think your content will visually hook your audience, then don’t post it. That said, the recipe for a perfect Instagram post has strong creative and copy. Quick Tip: Aim to keep your post captions under 150 characters to maximize engagement.
- What’s the first thing a user sees when they visit your Instagram profile? The grid. All of the content you post should feel cohesive and consistent with the brand. Think about the filters you’re using, the color scheme, the way the individual posts will look in the grid, etc.
Hashtags and Locations Increase Discoverability
- One easy way to increase the likelihood of your content being discovered is through hashtags. According to Sprout Social, Instagram posts with at least one hashtag tend to receive nearly 13% more engagement. Another easy way to up your engagement game? Tag your location. Posts with a location get 79% more engagement than those without a location.
Like Facebook, You Can Participate in Paid Advertising Only
- We should also mention that you do not need an Instagram account to run ads on Instagram. It can all be done through Facebook. However, there are a couple of major disadvantages, including:
- The name and image associated with your Facebook Page will be used on your Instagram ads, too. That said, your handle will appear grayed out and it will not be clickable to users. Plus, if your Facebook Page name is over 30 characters (the Instagram handle character limit), it will be truncated with “…”
- You won’t be able to respond to comments on your ad.
However, if you are looking for creative solutions around these last two bullets — let us know. We have some ideas.
Mobile > Desktop
- Optimizing your content for mobile is important across every social platform, but especially Instagram given it’s a mobile social network.
Why Consider Snapchat?
- Snapchat is best used for B2C given the nature of the platform and how the audience tends to use it.
Give People an Inside Look
- The content you share on Snapchat should be fun and unique from what you’re sharing on other social platforms. This is a great space to give people a behind the scenes look at your business and share exclusive content they can’t get anywhere else. Give people a reason to keep coming back for more. Keep it casual, exciting and entertaining at all times.
Connect with a Younger Audience
- If your target audience is one that welcomes Snapchat, use this platform as a way to connect with them. The nature of Snapchat allows you to be more casual and personable in your content and tone — don’t be afraid to use new and/or different tactics on this platform to connect with your audience. Think outside the box and get creative with your delivery to keep your presence interesting.
WHO’S USING SNAPCHAT?
In the United States, 27% of adults are on Snapchat. 23% of U.S. users are men while 31% of U.S. users are women.
The specific breakdown of users in the United States by age is as follows:
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO CONSIDER?
Snapchat Filters and Lenses
- Filters and Lenses offer a great advertising opportunity for brands that don’t want to commit to having an active profile, but still want to intermittently engage on the platform. Whether you want to promote an event, raise brand awareness or simply get in front of a younger demographic, these graphic overlays are fun and engaging ad products worth exploring. You’re able to select the exact date range and times you want the filter or lenses to go live, as well as the exact area you want the filter or lenses to be available in. Note: These factors are what determine the cost of your ad.
Story Content Isn’t Exclusive to Snapchat
- While Stories used to set Snapchat apart from other platforms, this is no longer the case. If your main attraction to Snapchat is the ability to post Stories (content that disappears after 24 hours), remember that you can take advantage of this feature on Facebook and Instagram.
Real-time Content is Key
- Snapchat isn’t a place for repurposed content. If you’re going to create a Snapchat profile and have an active presence, you need to be sharing fresh content that users aren’t getting elsewhere. It needs to be timely and in-the-moment.
Why Consider Pinterest?
B2B & B2C
- While many brands know how to use Pinterest for B2C marketing, the platform offers valuable opportunities for B2B marketing, too.
Drive Traffic to Your Website
- According to research, around 5% of all referral traffic to websites comes from Pinterest. (This is second to Facebook, which drives around 25% of all referral traffic.) If you have engaging, click-worthy content, Pinterest may be the answer to one of your many marketing needs. Remember to add the Save button to your website to make it even easier for users to share your content. Moreover, Pinterest influences purchases. In fact, 93% of pinners say they use Pinterest to help them plan purchases, and 87% of pinners say Pinterest has helped them decide what to purchase.
Extend the Life of Your Content
- Did you know it takes a pin 3.5 months to get 50% of its engagement? The content you share on Pinterest has a much longer shelf-life than content on most other social platforms. This takes some of the pressure off when it comes to sharing timely content and allows for more of an evergreen content strategy.
Stay on Top of Popular Trends
- Simply scrolling through your Pinterest feed will give you an idea of what’s currently trending within any given industry. Use this platform to stay on top of emerging trends and use as a guide when planning content.
WHO’S USING PINTEREST?
29% of adults in the United States use Pinterest. However, there’s a significant difference in usage by gender as 16% of Pinterest users are men and 41% of Pinterest users are women. The breakdown of users by age range is as follows:
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO CONSIDER?
Optimize for Search
- Pinterest is essentially a search engine, so it should be optimized just like your website. It’s extremely important that your Pinterest profile and all of the content you share is optimized for search — this includes your profile name and description, board names and descriptions, and pin names and descriptions. Doing so will ultimately lead to increased discoverability and click-through rates (as long as your content is engaging). Remember to take advantage of the business account and all of its features, including Rich Pins — enable Rich Pins for your website to ensure Pinterest pulls in your optimized titles and descriptions.
High-Quality Imagery is Key
- Like Instagram and Snapchat, Pinterest is highly visual. You must have the resources to support ongoing creative production if you want to engage your audience on this social platform. Check out Pinterest’s creative best practices to make sure your pins are appealing, engaging and effective.
- The best part about Pinterest Ads? They don’t look like ads — Pinterest’s ad formats are designed to look like they’re part of the native experience. You can pay to promote any of the pins you create to reach a larger audience and help people discover your brand and its products or services. Whether your goal is to build awareness, drive consideration or generate sales, Pinterest Ads offer a marketing solution for you.
Now that you’re well-versed in the major social platforms, you probably have an idea of which ones are right for your business. Maybe you’re even inspired to revamp your entire social media strategy! In case we haven’t said it enough, channel plans are a crucial piece of your social media strategy and when done effectively, can lead you to a more successful social presence. Remember, the process may seem daunting, but it’s well worth it, and your audience will thank you.
If you have questions about any of the social platforms or our Social Media Offering, get in touch with us — we’d love to help you!
Originally published at www.mindstreaminteractive.com.