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How to most effectively reach an audience using social media

By: Jasmine Kitterman

A few weeks ago, we had a sit down with Ricky Brandt a former president of the James F. Fox chapter. Brandt now works as an assistant account executive for Ogilvy in Chicago. During our meeting, Brandt discussed what strengths and weaknesses six social media sites have when it comes to marketing a personal or company brand.

Facebook

Facebook is the biggest social media platform; therefore, marketers can reach a lot of people. A successful way to use Facebook to market is to make the content feel “native”, as if it came from a friend rather than an overly produced company.

Posts that are similar to what is already on users’ newsfeeds are the most successful. Brandt also says effective advertisements on Facebook can be watched in one minute or less. Marketing on such a highly trafficked website should be done in a “get in, get out way”.

The biggest obstacle marketing on Facebook also stems from its large size. With over 500 million users from all around the world, Brandt says only 23people may end up actually seeing the content. This is because Facebook’s algorithms filter out some content, which makes it difficult for ads to be seen.

Twitter

Twitter has become more popular in recent years. This social media site has over 200 million users. This may seem a modest number compared to Facebook but Twitter has been making leaps and bounds in the way people obtaining information. Twitter is a medium with truly live updates –it has no algorithms like Facebook that select content for you to view.

Brandt sites Twitter as his personal favorite social media site to use day to day because it allows users to “engage with people in real time.”

Twitter users can skim through their Tweet Feed with live updates from all of their followers. They can also utilize the Tweet Deck, Brandt says, which allows users to view multiple feeds of their choosing at once.

Brandt says that one of the downfalls of Twitter is the fact that a lot of people aren’t native users, which gives the site less traffic. While companies such as Skittles and Denny’s have the ability to have direct interactions with customers, the majority of Twitter users are between the ages of 18 and 29.

Instagram

Instagram, like Twitter is growing. “Everyone is watching to see what it will do next,” Brandt says.

Instagram is primarily about associating a lifestyle to a brand, as this social media has no algorithms. Pictures are a way to engage users with company content. They must be visually interesting and cause people to aspire to live the lifestyle the company promotes.

Hashtags are used to their full extent on Instagram. These words are attached to posts by users so that their posts will show up to other users that search these same words. This Search Engine Optimization is the same process used when searching a phrase or keywords on Google.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a social media site that allows users to share content from other websites with one another by “pinning” links from other places on the Internet. This, Brandt says is what makes Pinterest good for “driving traffic to other websites”. Because of this, Pinterest is a social media that has the ability to draw people to your website.

Successful content on Pinterest utilizes hashtags well, Brandt says. By using hashtags on posts, other users can easily find and share your content.

Even companies can find success on platforms dedicated purely to sharing content, Brandt says. “Really think your themes out and post them throughout the day,” he recommends. Having posts up at a scheduled time every day raises the chances of reaching a large audience.

Snapchat

Snapchat has been releasing more features to make their phone application more interactive. The Snapchat team has released the My Story feature, making it possible to share snapshots and short videos with all of your friends for twenty-four hours.

Even more recently, they came out with the Discover feature, which gives companies such as Cosmopolitan and National Geographic a chance to share their own stories customized with everyone on Snapchat. The Discover tab allows 11 companies to reach a large audience. “They all do it with a different flavor,” Brandt says.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Brandt says. “People check it over 20 times a day.” This is due to the authentic, one-on-one communication. To combat this is the fact that the one-on-one nature of Snapchat makes it difficult for companies to reach large scales of people. “If you’re going to do it, you must invest a lot of your time,” Brandt says.

Tumblr

Tumblr, according to Brandt, is the most underrated social media platform, used mainly by artists for fans. Tumblr is a combination of many other social media platforms. It can be used to produce and share blogs and photos, communicate with other users, and find content interesting to you.

Brandt best describes Tumblr as a “content Petri dish”. Many people find original content and share this content not only to Tumblr but also to other social media sites.

Success is found on Tumblr by making advertisements and content that are very creative and also very heavily branded. “People are okay with seeing your brand all over as long as it’s in a pop art way,” Brandt says.

Brandt emphasized that social media is a tactic for businesses to reach a lot of people and better relate to them. Each social media platform has a unique way of reaching a unique audience. Aside from the six sites discussed here, there are many others that can be used to improve a brand.

Some, new social media platforms such as Spotify, Vine, Youtube, and YikYak have yet to be explored as fronts for companies to improve their brand. As companies continue to utilize social media, expect to find more advertisements and interactions from your favorite brands on your favorite sites.

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