How should business leaders evaluate what social media channels to focus on to market their products/services and connect with their audience?
Any social media manager needs to start this question with, “What’s my capacity to give?” Once you determine how many hours a week you can spend on social media, that can help narrow down, do you only have enough time to really do one platform well? I think a lot of business owners feel the pressure to be on every single platform. Maybe have a landing page on a platform, but I would recommend just spend your time where you can execute well. And that’s where your audience will find you.
How do you determine where your audience is?
Some business owners might be able to start out with a survey, maybe with an email list. Pew Research [Center] has a lot on generational trends on where certain age groups spend time on social media. If you’re on Facebook, you might want to start a group so your customers can be more connected to each other and have a good discourse. People have probably heard about Gen Z being on TikTok a lot. That platform has its own sets of pros and cons because virality is a huge part of TikTok that can work for you or against you depending on how your content takes off.
A study on Instagram found 83% of people discover new products on the platform. How can a small business with limited resources use the platform this way?
If a local business is working with an ad spend, I would recommend targeting your audience as strategically as you can. Maybe you can use geotargeting or target to individuals who interact with another local product or a local business. If you’re only working with an organic spend, your time spent essentially, I would recommend being on social media, but also taking it offline when you can.
Is Facebook changing the way users can target ads for specific audiences?
Yes, unfortunately it’s a large impact. There was an iOS update on Apple devices that has affected a lot of the way ads are done. You aren’t able to find out as much user data about your audience or customers as you could previously. Before, you could kind of really niche down and find out a lot about your audience, their interests, their behaviors. I would recommend business owners to look into the Facebook Pixel that you can put on your website and that can help you track a little bit more when people consent to accept your cookies. If you’re willing to put in the time and google how to do it, you can find some work-arounds, though you won’t ever get as much data in this time of advertising as you could have, say, two years ago.
A Color Story has 824,000 followers on Instagram and 3,100 followers on Facebook. You clearly are targeting one platform. How did you discover your audience was on Instagram?
Instagram is an obvious choice for our apps because usually the end goal of you using our app is that you put whatever you’ve created on Instagram. A Color Story is a photo editing app. We offer more than 500 filters for people to just quickly tap and transform their photo into something aesthetic or unique. We don’t incentivize any follows on Facebook because our audience there isn’t quite as responsive as our audience on Instagram, but within our app, we’ll give away a filter for free if you follow us on Instagram. And that gives us a really good piece of our marketing strategy to begin a relationship with these customers.
What are the trends you’re tracking with social media marketing?
Reels on Instagram. Instagram right now is doing a lot to compete with TikTok. Trending audio is a thing that we talk about. If it’s a song that you hear often when you’re watching Reels or TikTok, that means that the algorithm is promoting and re-featuring this because they’re seeing it as something that people are engaging with. There might be a TikTok trend or a trend on Reels that seems like it wouldn’t fit for your business, but if you can put on your brainstorm cap, there might be a way to integrate it into either the tone of your business or the offerings that your business has.
What are your best tips for business owners running their own social media?
Invest in a scheduling tool. It’s hugely helpful for me to, say on Monday, try and do content planning for the whole week if possible. Try the new features that Instagram has and that they feature and promote. If they don’t work the first time, try it a couple more times before deciding it’s just not a fit for your business. Always go back to the data. Look and see what your audience is responding to and engaging with and make your ongoing strategy from there. You don’t have to spend a dime on Instagram or Facebook to connect with your community and connect with your audience.
Ana Elliott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the profiles of this year's honorees.