Classic and emerging social media platforms give brands new ways to connect with consumers.
As digital marketers, we love to keep our eye on digital innovation. It’s a whirlwind, but it’s where we thrive.
And we know social media is the epitome of a rapidly evolving digital space. At the time Pew Research Center began tracking social media adoption in 2005, just 5% of American adults used at least one social media platform. Today, 72% of American adults use social media. This high rate of usage spans across age ranges, race, gender and income. Why should you care about this? Whoever your target audience is, it’s more than likely they use social media, and you should be engaging with them. It may feel hard to cut through the clutter of the constant posts, videos and hashtags, but showing up where your audience spends time can have a massive impact on your brand.
Three mainstays of social media are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But TikTok, LinkedIn and Clubhouse present new opportunities for brands to meaningfully connect with customers. Here's our take on how to determine whether these rising platforms are right for your audience and brand.
After launching in 2018, TikTok became the most downloaded app worldwide in 2020 and the seventh-largest social media platform. Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok serves only video content, creating a space where users are highly engaged and watch one video after the next. The app’s powerful algorithm helps users discover new TikTok creators based on interests, not on followers. Its meteoric rise in popularity and the viral potential of user content make TikTok a platform full of opportunities for creative brands to reach new audiences.
Examples of Brand Success on TikTok
When TikTok first became popular, it may have felt impossible for brands to succeed on the platform, like it was a social media secret Generation Z was keeping from the rest of the world. But as adoption swept across age groups, that is no longer the case. While the majority of TikTok users are between 18 to 29, 22% of 30- to 49-year-olds and 14% of 50- to 64-year-olds use the app. Recognizing the opportunity, brands are reaching audiences through influencer marketing and company accounts of their own.
Be The Match is a bone marrow donation registry whose mission is to connect patients and life-saving donors. The niche healthcare organization became a verified presence on TikTok with 43K likes. Be The Match achieved this by educating users on its brand, using relevant and trending hashtags, and by tapping into timely content trends. As Be The Match demonstrates, TikTok may be a good fit for brands looking to increase brand awareness by leveraging influencer marketing or creating highly shareable content. Brands that create timely, fun or educational content that engages users will thrive on TikTok.
LinkedIn has been around since 2003—even before YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. It’s probably a staple in your personal social media toolkit, but its recent explosion makes it worth considering for brand marketing strategies. With 756 million users worldwide and 178 million users in the U.S. alone, LinkedIn is a top social media platform for brands to reach professional audiences. Because it hasn’t adopted a pay-to-play model like Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn offers a wide organic reach, making it easy for brands to engage with audiences at low costs. Many industry leaders compare the potential success LinkedIn offers today’s brands to the Facebook boom before the platform started prioritizing paid posts over organic posts.
Examples of Brand Success on LinkedIn
Deloitte is currently ranked third on LinkedIn’s Top Companies annual list, and its page has more than 7 million followers. According to Falcon.io, Deloitte succeeds on LinkedIn because it serves the niche content that audiences crave, including posts about the future of technology such as automation, artificial intelligence and facial recognition. The brand also posts about company culture and life at Deloitte to support niche content with a human element. This balanced content strategy has helped Deloitte grow by nearly 3 million followers since 2019, a growth rate of 61%. For brands looking to increase brand awareness, LinkedIn presents an opportunity for both B2B and B2C brands to reach new audiences. On LinkedIn, brands should prioritize marketing themselves and their products, celebrating wins, sourcing top talent and publishing thought leadership content.
The newest platform to hit the social media scene, Clubhouse is an audio-only virtual conference hall founded in 2020. The app offers different “rooms” where people talk about any topic they like and invite guests to listen. Because the app is in beta testing, Clubhouse is invite-only, with each member allotted a limited number of invitations to share with friends. When you download the Clubhouse app, you can browse through each room of the clubhouse to see what people are talking about and join a room that interests you. While many users simply listen in, you can raise your hand to participate in discussions.
Clubhouse has skyrocketed to 10 million users, up from 2 million users in January 2021 and only 1,500 in March 2020. The app presents new opportunities for brands to demonstrate thought leadership expertise or build relationships through thoughtful discussions with audiences. Clubhouse is also unique because of its exclusivity. The invite-only rooms make audiences feel like they’re missing out if they don’t log on.
Examples of Brand Success on Clubhouse
Clubhouse is an ad-free app, but brands are beginning to tap into influencers to share brand messages. One example is Pedigree. The pet food brand hired mental health leaders to moderate conversations about the mental, physical and emotional benefits of owning a pet. The conversation featured 20 profiles of adoptable dogs and Pedigree pledged to sponsor the adoption fees. By facilitating a valuable discussion, Pedigree used Clubhouse to build brand affinity and connect with its audience.
The Key to Connect On Any Platform
Some are new platforms and others simply offer new opportunities, but it’s critical to keep these three platforms on your radar. Understanding what benefits they offer brands and how your customers use them will ensure you’re poised to make the most of the opportunities they present.
No matter what platforms you’re considering, the same core principles will guide success on each. Whether you’re trying to build your brand presence on TikTok or re-engage your audience on Instagram or Facebook, keep these ground rules in mind to maximize success.
- Know your customers better than anyone else. Understand where they spend their time, what motivates them, where their values lie and what they love.
- Be creative. Catch your audience’s attention with fresh graphics and clear video that ties your brand’s personality together.
- Test everything. To see the impact of social media on your revenue, it’s important to understand the types of content and creative that resonate with your audience.
Want to learn more about how to build a social strategy? Keep reading to get the winning social media strategy any brand can execute.