Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest. Periscope. In a landscape where new social media platforms are launching left and right, is a brand supposed to have its presence all over each of them? Or is it better to pick just one to really focus on?
“For a brand on social media, it’s all about building a community,” says Carol Cox, co-founder of InterMedia Solutions, Inc., a web and marketing agency. Cox also teaches Strategic Internet Public Relations in Full Sail University’s online Internet Marketing master’s degree program, where she uses her industry experience to help students understand how online audiences think. “So if you try to build communities in too many places [social media platforms], then you’re not really doing any of them that well.”
When it comes to digital marketing on social media, quality over quantity is key. Rather than being just a little present on each platform, it’ll be more beneficial in the long run to really establish a dedicated following – and increased awareness – in one place.
“Several years ago I had a client who was a wedding planner, and she was at a marketing conference where the keynote speaker told everyone that they must be on Twitter,” says Rob Croll, a freelance digital marketing consultant and the director of Full Sail’s Internet Marketing master’s and bachelor’s degree programs. “She came to me and I told her, ‘You barely have time to be on Facebook. How are you going to be on Twitter too?’ It’s impractical to think you can be good if you’re spreading yourself too thin.”
So, how do marketers know which platform to focus on? It’s about knowing a brand’s target audience. Is the client targeting young professionals? Focus on LinkedIn. Do they design clothing for infants? Get active on Pinterest. And to really hone in on a certain type of customer, marketers can target specific demographics on Facebook.
“When my wedding planner client was considering buying Facebook ads, we were able to specifically target women whose profiles said they were engaged, ages 25-45, and lived in Central Florida,” says Croll. “The beauty of platforms like Facebook is that users have provided all of this information when they set up their profiles, so marketers can specifically target them, which is far more accurate than say, a television commercial.”
Genon Murray, a product development consultant and course director at Full Sail, teaches her students how to perform a SWOT analysis – determining a brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats when it comes to each social media platform. But an essential element of Murray’s Internet Marketing Campaign Development course – the final project in the Internet Marketing master’s program – is making sure students understand that social media is just a small part of the Internet marketing puzzle.
“We look at how our research and discovery is related to the social media choices that we make and whether or not we should have a social media campaign that stands alone or one that supports driving traffic back to the website for conversion,” says Murray.
Once a marketer has chosen a platform to focus on, it’s important to understand that when it comes to digital marketing, social media is a long game. Click-through rates in social media campaigns are usually pretty low, so while a digital marketer’s ultimate goal is to get conversions and clicks on their client’s website, brand awareness is an easier objective to achieve when considering social media.
“Lots of my clients see social media as a short game: ‘If I publish some Facebook posts then I’m going to get sales in,’” says Cox. “That happens on occasion, but social media is really about cultivating relationships. It’s not going to happen in a week or two.”
Full Sail University’s Internet Marketing Master’s program equips students with the techniques that brands and businesses need in order to engage with consumers in the constantly-evolving digital world. To learn more, click here.