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Which Social Network Should My Business Be On?

Deciding what social media platforms your business should be on can be nerve-racking — especially with over 800 to choose from. Don’t worry. We’re just talking about the major players today. You don’t want to be on all of them. That takes up too much time, and other areas of your business need your attention. Before we begin, there are several questions you need to understand and answer, like:

  • Which platforms are consumer-oriented vs. B2B?
  • Where is our target audience most active?
  • What are our social media marketing goals?

Don’t fret — there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s get started.

FACEBOOK

This probably comes as no surprise, but you should consider Facebook — the world’s most popular social network — for your business needs. Whether your content is consumer-focused or B2B, you can find success on Facebook thanks to in-depth advertising and targeting options. And with over 2.23 billion active monthly users, odds are you can find your target audience. Here’s another fun fact: Approximately 10% of ALL website traffic takes place on Facebook — it’s no exaggeration when people say it’s taking over the world.

So, is there any reason not to be on Facebook? Perhaps… but only because of over-saturation. There are A LOT of businesses on Facebook. That means when you spend advertising dollars, your business will be facing A LOT of competition. There’s a decent chance (depending on your niche and target audience) your best ROI might not come from Facebook — but there’s a better chance it will.

TWITTER

Twitter can be tougher to manage, mainly due to its volatility (and because you can’t edit tweets). Twitter users are notorious for trolling, especially when politics is involved. Everyone has an opinion about everything, and the Twitterverse is where those thoughts are shared without a whimsical care in the world. That being said, there are still plenty of benefits to having a presence there.

First, Twitter is made up of 335 million monthly active users. That’s a big audience, which gives you a great opportunity to expose your brand to influencers who could share your content and increase your organic reach. Second, it’s the perfect platform for managing customer service. Throw in a social media management tool like Sprout Social, a product we use in Candorland, and BOOM! You’ll be on your way to managing customer’s needs quickly and efficiently. And perhaps most useful, Twitter is great for social listening. Twitter makes it easy for you to monitor keywords relevant to your company/industry, so you can jump into any conversation, anytime. This takes a bit of work, but it’s well worth it.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is the most visually-demanding platform, and it has become incredibly popular with a younger demographic. That usually gives B2B companies pause. But while it is easier for lifestyle B2C companies to promote on the platform, always remember Instagram has 1 BILLION monthly active users. Your audience is there — you just have to get a little creative with your creative. And did we mention Instagram is owned by Facebook? This means you’ll be awarded the same ad targeting options and seamless integration into the Facebook advertising model.

LINKEDIN

LinkedIn is a no-brainer for B2B businesses. This social network has become increasingly popular in recent years and has 227 million active users. While every social platform’s goal is to make connections, LinkedIn LITERALLY connects business professionals with each other (and recruiters). It’s the best platform to seek out high-quality talent to join your team. In terms of advertising, LinkedIn can’t quite match the powerhouse that is Facebook, but if your goal is to target other professionals across a number of disciplines, this could be your golden ticket.

PINTEREST

Pinterest is a platform many businesses don’t normally consider. But did you know the Pinterestverse is comprised of 250 million monthly active users? AND it’s the 2nd most likely platform to influence U.S. social media users’ purchasing decisions. Pinterest is perfect for businesses with aesthetically-driven content and can do wonders at driving traffic to your website, getting people to download your app or selling your product — especially with Rich Pins.

SNAPCHAT

While Snapchat is a popular platform with 188 million daily active users, there’s currently some debate between marketers on whether the platform is dying. It was down 3 million users in Q2 of 2018, and its latest update has made a lot of people upset (to say the least). It also ranked dead last in a new advertising poll. To put it simply: It takes a lot of time and dedication to move the needle with Snapchat. Some of the previously mentioned platforms can be way more fruitful for your business.

OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS

Yes, there are STILL some other social networks worth mentioning. Google+ has seen better days, but it’s still essential to be on to enhance local SEO, and it doesn’t take much to keep up with. YouTube makes a lot of sense for businesses producing video (which Candor can do in-house!). Behind Facebook, YouTube is actually the most popular social media network in the world with 1.9 billion monthly active users. You can take a gamble at Reddit, but you risk upsetting Redditors and hurting your brand’s reputation. Tumblr is comprised of over 200 million blogs publishing 80 million posts per day, making it another hot spot ripe for advertising. There’s also an upcoming platform called TikTok we’ve been keeping a close eye on. It has global audience of 500 million, and is especially popular in China. In the first half of 2018 alone, it was downloaded 104 million times on the Apple app store.

In reality, all of these social media platforms could help your business with the right care, strategy and knowledge. But — candidly — it’s a lot of work. Our digital experts have the tools and experience to help your social media channels grow, build brand awareness and bring in new business leads.

Send us an e-mail. We’re ready to chat.

The Horror: 7 Scary Things Clients Say to Agencies

scary things clients say

Want to give a PR pro nightmares?

In honor of Halloween, here are seven of the scariest things we hear from clients and prospects.

“The intern runs our social media.”

Although young people are often familiar with social media platforms from personal use, they usually aren’t brand experts. One inappropriate post can haunt a company’s reputation forever. Make sure there is a training process and someone experienced approving content if interns have access to social media accounts.

(And remember: A true pro will know all the tricks to delivering a high return on investment.)

“We don’t have Google Analytics.”

Google offers a free tool to track website traffic. It’s an effective way to peek behind the mask and measure the impact of advertisements, messaging and other tactics to raise brand awareness or sell a product. Analytics tools, combined with experienced interpretation, help brands determine what’s working, what’s not and how to adjust.

“We told the reporter ‘no comment.'”

Candor’s philosophy is to be honest and transparent with the media. Having nothing to say implies an organization has a skeleton in the closet. “No comment” robs an organization of the opportunity to provide context, especially on potentially damaging stories. It is better to be forthcoming and tell reporters when more information or answers will be available.

“I don’t know… could you just jazz it up a little?”

It’s part of a PR firm’s job to use its expertise to make things “pop.” But professional communicators need to fully understand the client’s goals and audience to create exceptional materials. They need partners who provide input and offer descriptive feedback; they aren’t gypsy mind readers.

“We’ll just print that in-house.”

Everyone wants to save money. But do-it-yourself printing can mean wasting staff time or sacrificing quality. Office printers don’t deliver true color, proper margins or full-bleed printing that really make a piece look professional. If you must print in-house, make sure the graphic designer is aware so she can design it accordingly.

“We want this story on the front page of the Sunday paper.”

Scaring up exceptional placement is always the goal when pitching stories. However, not every story meets the criteria for banner treatment, and reporters rarely determine where their work runs. When clients help us dig up a story that appeals to a news outlet’s audience, it increases the chances of getting on the cover.

“What have you done for me lately?”

If you hand out king-size Snickers bars one year for trick or treat and raisins the next, you’re going to end up with something unpleasant on your doorstep. That’s why PR pros always look for ways to deliver more to clients. We focus on providing sweet metrics – such as website traffic, media hits, video views, sales conversions, etc. – to demonstrate the value of our work. We survey consumers to understand how they feel about brands. And, especially at Candor, we try to look around the corner and suggest new ways our clients can reach their business and marketing goals.

Keeping It Real on Social Media

Did you see the story recently about coffee shops shutting down Wi-Fi to force people to interact? What about the memes of people glued to their mobiles in front of great works of art? Have you heard high-school dances are going extinct because teens would rather just Snapchat each other?

Everyone bemoans what mobile technology has done to personal interactions. But who would really give up their devices? Our pocket computers provide many advantages – including deepening our connections with loved ones – and someone without a digital connection would miss out on too much of the modern world.

The desire for connection creates challenges and opportunities for brands. When brands try to reach an audience, they must compete with millions of other companies, celebrities, friends and loved ones, cute animals, mainstream news sources and verbose politicians.

To break through, successful organizations need to find ways to make emotional connections with the audience, rather than just providing information.

One great way to make sure content – especially on social media – feels authentic is to imagine speaking to a real person. When I worked in internal communications, a conference speaker reminded people not to write for a generic group such as “fellow employees.” She suggested picturing someone specific, like Carol in accounting, or John from IT. Writing as if I were sending an email to a coworker helped me keep things simple and clear.

Brands must also remember what the audience wants. People who have already taken the time to like a Twitter account or follow on Facebook have demonstrated an interest in a product or service. They want information about upcoming events and new offerings. But to build trust and loyalty, users must sense a real person on the other side of the screen with real emotions – and perhaps a sense of humor. Nobody wants to read dry, corporate copy; so don’t write it.

Listening truly sets people apart on social media. Traditional media relied on “we say, they listen” communication; the technology required it. Too many organizations act as if things still work that way. They Tweet or post on Facebook without a plan for the next step. Anything interesting online draws shares, likes, comments and reviews. We recommend group organizations designate a person, process and culture for responding quickly and consistently. It’s the key to being seen as more than self-promotional.

Candor doesn’t believe any of this is easy. Making every follower feel as if they’re the center of attention may be the greatest communication challenge we have. But when organizations set authentic connections as the goal, they take a huge leap toward generating a loyal, passionate audience.

Your Marketing Plans Are, Like, So Last Year

For businesses, a new year is an opportunity to reflect on how to take marketing strategies to the next level and ditch plans that are, like, so last year.

Many new year’s resolutions have faltered, but February is still a good time to re-examine three marketing tactics that worked last year and see if they are here to stay.

Live Video 

Video recording on cell phone

Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms give priority to video, especially live videos. Companies need solid clips to stand out from competitors.

Live video provides unedited, authentic and in-the-moment storytelling many users now expect to see and share.

Verdict: Here to stay.

Press Conferences and News Releases 

press conference

Press conferences can advance an organization’s cause, especially when addressing significant news. The format provides an opportunity for different speakers to share specific messages. And live-streaming a press conference on social media to accommodate short-staffed newsrooms could broaden a story’s coverage. Press conferences also create touchpoints with members, potential customers or donors, and other stakeholders. Used right, press conferences can be successful.

News releases, another traditional tool, are on life support. A news release only doesn’t cut it anymore. Media pitches are often replaced with attention-getting social media posts sent directly to writers, reporters and targeted audiences.

Verdict: Not dead … yet.

Podcasts 

Podcasts
Podcasts give organizations a place to share their thoughts on trends and the ability to target audiences. According to an Interactive Advertising Bureau study, one in five Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month. The challenge? Starting a podcast means staying committed to creating compelling content and promoting material consistently.

Verdict: Here to stay.

These tools can help kick-start an effective marketing plan. But to grow a client base or retain current customers, focus on the following three tactics.

Analytics and Measurement

analytics
What does success look like? What’s your business objective? How are companies learning more about customers? Install analytics tools for all email campaigns, websites, social media accounts and blogs. Use results to identify potential customers, and to learn about their communication and buying habits.

Paying for Social Media Advertising

social media
Organic reach has been declining for years. Social media platforms make their money from advertising, so they give priority to organizations that invest in ad dollars. eMarketer’s research shows digital ad spending reached $72 billion, surpassing TV ads in 2016.

Basically, you have to pay to play.

Investing in Video

video shoot

Videos dominate Facebook feeds and are shared seven more times than links. A study shows nearly 75 percent of adults are more likely to buy after watching a video explaining a product or service. Brands must create compelling content to attract and retain customers.

Constant change can be hard. But as old tactics become ineffective or out dated, new ones take their place. Learning the new ways reaps better engagement with the audience and a higher return on investment.