An intro to social media in 2021

Social media has become a huge part of our everyday lives. The average person spends 2.5 hours a day using their social platforms. Promoting brand awareness, integrating product placements organically, launching new campaigns and exclusive offers to followers, Instagram has become a prime marketing space for businesses worldwide.

Providing intuitive opportunities for brands to demonstrate their strengths, successful social media content curation requires consistency and creativity. By connecting with followers, social media platforms offer brands the opportunity to establish a voice that speaks directly to an audience, communicating brand values tailored specifically towards targeted buyer personas.

By posting content that resonates with followers, traction and retention will increase. An intelligent way to seed brand awareness is to promote a catchy hashtag attached to a brand and watch what spikes or trends the hashtag's popularity. Targeted advertisements are a valuable way to promote a hashtag. Alongside all these valuable reasons for utilising social media for business, social media platforms provide analytics tools that offer insights into what posts resonate positively with followers and which fall flat. By quantifying a brands social successes and misfires, marketing strategies can be scrutinised and adjusted accordingly to consolidate the strengths and eliminate weaknesses.

It is important to recognise which social media platforms are appropriate for a brand. Off-brand social posting can switch off an audience. From age to culture and/or profession, mission, purpose, and values are central to defining which platforms to use to promote brand awareness. This is Method's intro to social media.

Twitter

The common go-to platform to source, share and discuss breaking news, Twitter is one of the original and most influential social media platforms. Founded fifteen years ago, Twitter is a well-oiled machine that works seamlessly, boasting 186 million users last year. The scope of reach Twitter commands is phenomenal. The unique 'microblogging' format is useful for organically overseeing conversations about your brand play out. The originator of the hashtag, Twitter trends are responsible for the making and breaking of multiple mega brands and influencers. Offering customers the opportunity to offer up their feedback for all the world to see and drop a message, opinions, and thoughts are platformed concisely, packing a tight punch! And those tweets can gain stratospheric traction if shared by users with a significant reach.

A favourite for entrepreneurs, Twitter requires intelligent and trend aware use of language. If a brand is image-heavy, Twitter won't be the best fit for that product or service, Be aware of the location of your audience though China, Iran, North Korea, and Turkmenistan have blocked access to Twitter, however, United States, Japan, India, UK and Brazil are the leading countries based on the number of Twitter users.

Pinterest

The ultimate inspiration platform, Pinterest offers users the opportunity to mood board their imagery. Creating the concept of a rich pin, a type of Pin that automatically syncs information from a website to an associated Pin, extra information, such as price and location, can be accessed above and below an image in close-up alongside the bold title in a feed. Minimising the clicks from discovery to conversion, making it easier for users to access a product or service directly Pinterest quickly and effectively converts leads into sales faster than from other social media sources.

The most popular categories on the site are DIY projects, fashion, exercise, beauty, photography and food, with 71% of Pinterest users being females and 35% of Pinterest users aged between 35-49 years old. A less formal, conversational platform, Pinterest provides humour, reflection, and brand promotion opportunities, amongst many other moods.

Remember creativity is king on Pinterest, collage the communication and curate boards that clients will find helpful.

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Snapchat

Extremely popular with millennials, accessible via mobile phone devices exclusively Snapchat's most defining feature is its disappearing content design. The perfect tool for engaging a younger audience, 218 million users are active on Snapchat each day, with 82% of all Snapchat users aged 34 or younger. Snapchat users are 60% more likely to make an impulse purchase whilst using the platform.

The Discover section is the most popular feature of the app and is a perfect resource for organically guiding the user towards a product or service. Advertising on Snapchat is through its Ads Manager, Snapchat business accounts also offer users the opportunity to target age and/or location target content to a specific demographic. Stories allow brands to create interactive content, facilitating access to who and how many users view the posts. Alternative features include chat, messaging, image storage and events. A rough and ready platform for light-hearted, casual content, Snapchat is a great option for influencers and young, trend-driven business.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn provides an opportunity for brands to establish professional connections with synergy. It also helps build solid networks and enhances personal and brand credibility. Today, LinkedIn hosts 690 million users. A prime marketing tool for networking, connecting, and selling, LinkedIn is also the number one social network for recruitment. Designed to be used by businesses as well as individual professionals, users create profiles to promote themselves and/or their brand by uploading CVs, campaigns and blogs to liaise with complementary businesses and professionals. A great place to seek that next employment opportunity, positions are advertised on LinkedIn and groups linked to professions and professional cultures. It is essential that content is created to a high standard. Users view content with scrutiny and so spelling and grammar should be configured with care to protect one's reputation. The more interesting and relevant the information that is added to a users page,  the more views will be attracted. Businesses and professionals which take care to present themselves in a positive light will rise in the rankings in Google and LinkedIn search results. Use the LinkedIn demographics and LinkedIn content calendar to improve the visibility and targeted content of any posts.

TikTok

A firm favourite Generation Z, the most effective way to market using this trend defining platform is to focus especially on diversity, inclusivity, and equality. Representing up to 40 per cent of all consumers, Generation Z commands a significant market influence with high disposable income levels. TikTok is one of the newest and yet most powerful platforms in use today. Launched in 2016 and used in more than 150 countries, with 689 million active users globally, TikTok ranks as the seventh most utilised social network platform in the world today. Generation Z consumes content at an exceptionally high rate and consequently content schedules must be busy, and each post should feel intuitive, creative and inherently attractive. If content misses the mark, a brands reputation can be blighted, possibly in a way that can't be recovered. Tone and delivery are critical. Reflect on how competitors are seeding their content to assess what might work and what might not work for you.

Originality trumps quality, users on TikTok seek out and appreciate the silly side of content promotion. User reaction should guide you in helping you to determine how best to influence prospective customers. The most prolific influencer of new trends and the fastest founder of new influencers, TikTok is a breeding ground for innovative marketing opportunities.

Facebook

Facebook is still the world's largest social media platform. It leverages on average 2.4 billion active users a month and of these, the majority spend around of 60 minutes on Facebook every day. A platform which stimulates discussion, Facebook's defining characteristic takes social engagement to a deeper level than any other social media network can. A platform which facilitates connection with businesses of every size, two-thirds of Facebook users report visiting a local business Facebook Page at least once a week. Pages are free and easy to create and can be used to share content, contact information, opening hours, links to a website and connection on a personal level with your audience. Facebook provides advertising tools and in-depth analytics to promote products and services organically.

Facebook statuses and photo shares remain some of the first and most powerful tools for communicating information to followers. Facebook Stories and Facebook Live are the most modern features of the platform. Just like Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories profile time-limited photos or short videos. Images appear for five seconds, and videos can be up to 20 seconds long. Facebook Stories level half a billion views every day and are a hugely valuable tool for unveiling new products, services or campaigns.

Instagram

Instagram is a photo-sharing social media platform, so content needs to be picture perfect to attract likes and retain followers. 25-34-year-olds represent the largest ad audience, with more than one billion users engaging with Instagram every month, around 90% of these accounts following one business account or more. Instagram is almost entirely mobile. Users cannot upload posts or stories on the desktop version of the site, so it pays to invest in a device with a high-quality camera to showcase products and inspiration effectively. Awareness, engagement, conversion and customer are the four main features to focus on in mastering Instagram content. More recently Instagram has launched Instagram Reels, a rival to TikTok where users can upload short videos and also edit them with graphics and music.

First impressions are everything on Instagram. Using social media template site Canva is a great way to format content uniformly. Post on the grid or upload stories regularly to keep followers engaged and actively interacting with your account. Go live with Q&A’s with each new product or service launch and campaign drop, traction will increase exponentially as a result. Establish which influencers are directly aligned to your brand and partner with them to curate content. 82% of people are likely to follow recommendations made by micro-influencers and 94% of consumers believe these influencers are extremely knowledgeable.

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