Social media has quickly become a major part of our everyday lives.  It is estimated that we now spend an average of eleven hours per day on our devices, including social media channels.  A shift is occurring in marketing circles from using traditional advertising channels like billboards, radio, and tv to spending increasing amounts on social media advertising.  Advertising on social media has the added advantage of being able to target consumers and quickly measuring results.  This trend isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.

The largest social media player is Facebook.  Since it was launched in 2004, Facebook has grown exponentially into a social media monster.  It currently has six times more monthly users than its nearest competitor, Snapchat.  Average times spent on Facebook are ten times the averages of any of the other social networks.  Marketers pretty quickly grasped the effectiveness of marketing on Facebook, where any ads posted go directly to people who have already liked their company page.  Facebook has recognised this as well and developed an application called Pages which helps marketers post and track ads on their platform, as well as boost traffic for money.

Only time will tell how much longer Facebook can continue its rapid rate of growth.  But even if growth stopped today, it would take a long time for any of the other networks to catch up.  The proliferation of new ads on Facebook should continue to grow in the near future, as posting ads become more and more automated.

Facebook

Facebook has recently begun to target the power of video to further marketing focus and monetize video posts.  Traditionally free video sites like YouTube will probably be the ones to suffer as the social media giant advances into the video arena.  Marketers recognise the need to target people who have viewed their videos with future advertising, which is very successful at leading to future sales.

Instagram

The next largest social media network is Instagram, which, you guessed it, is owned by Facebook.  One significant advantage for Instagram is when you post an ad, it can also be posted to Facebook simultaneously if you link the two accounts.  This is a great time saver, as you only have to post one time to cover two networks.  Additionally, applying links with hashtags to your posts can increase advertising coverage by linking to affiliated businesses or related pages.  Content on Instagram tends to be more focused on photos or short video clips that are tailored to the interests of your core group of customers.

Snapchat

Snapchat is a third social media network that has been very successful.  The basic premise of Snapchat is that users post ten-second video clips that their “friends” can view once, then it disappears forever.  The effectiveness of advertising on Snapchat requires a different mindset.  Since customers only view the ad one time, they are unable to revisit and quickly forget.  Ads posted here are a one-time shot, which explains the limited results of advertising on this channel.

Twitter

Another social media channel that has broad reach and popularity is Twitter.  Twitter allows users to post 140 character text messages with searchable hashtags.  This channel is especially effective at reaching people who are experiencing an event at the same time, such as a sporting event.  Twitter posts during events that appeal to your customer base is an excellent way to communicate and stay fresh in people’s minds in real time.  An example of this is a company that makes baseball bats would start a Twitter thread during the World Series.  Twitter gained popularity by becoming a way for people to communicate with famous people like athletes and celebrities.  Many businesses pay popular Twitter personalities to tweet out something about their business, which quickly reaches everyone that follows the personality.  This is simply advertising in a different form.

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are the four most popular social media networks.  Advertising on social media is quickly growing as businesses are better able to target potential buyers and measure results from each ad.  As your company decides how much social media to include in the marketing mix, remember that marketing is different on each of the platforms.  Try to figure out which channels deserve your marketing dollars, and focus on the ones that work.  As social media continues to grow, don’t neglect this valuable marketing tool that allows you to develop a long-term relationship with the customer.

If you are too busy to develop a social media marketing plan for your business, get in touch with the experienced social media marketers at Grow Digital Marketing to see how they can help you today.