Understanding Social Media

Level 2 Certificate in Digital Promotion for Business (601/6673/3)

Unit 09 Understanding social media (M/507/4162)

In this NCFE unit we will research how to use social media channels to engage with different audiences and we will create own online identity.

1.1 Describe Social Media Channels

What is a social media channel? A social media channel is a communication service for many people online on the internet which can bring groups of people together locally, nationally or internationally. Individuals engage by viewing, discussing, curating, reviewing and sharing content online or publishing their own content.

There are many different types of social media channels and the range of platforms or channels on the market online is very wide. The number one thing that they all have in common however is the interaction by users logged on as members of the channel.

Many of the channels have unique features or are unique in the subject matter they share online, which attracts their users to sign up with an user account. The unique features which separate a channel are services like messaging streams, pictures, video and audio content presentation. Also the location of where you visit, view, share, comment or engage with that content is unique for a social media channel that focuses on mobile devices. All the channels do a different job in handling these streams of content which gives the company that runs that service their unique sell proposition USP.

Subject matters, interest or hobbies that some of the most popular social media channels expertly host are for example:

  • Recruitment opportunities for candidates or job hunters. The candidate would use Linkedin for initial job searching
  • Business opportunities for business leaderslooking at networking. The professional leaders would use Linkedin for contacting prospects for business at the top of the marketing funnel
  • Meeting in local towns and cities. Meetup is great for software developer groups before, during and after meetings online or offline
  • News, entertainment and gossip. Facebook attracts people who like to comment and share this type of content with their friends. A business would follow groups for comments or engagement before and after contact with customers and clients
  • News and PR by politicians, personalities and business leaders plus customer service. The channel Twitter is expert on providing a service for these subjects. A business would monitor customers and clients before and after contact in the marketing funnel
  • Fun or amusing short video and picture sharing is best served by Instagram SnapChat and Pinterest
  • Niche and general entertainment content with high quality video sharing. Celebrities, sport stars and film lovers would do this on Youtube and DailyMotion. This could be used by a business before contact with customers and clients in the marketing funnel

1.2 Compare Social Media Channels

There are many social media channels on the internet. Here we making social media comparisons from some of the largest channels on the market. The below shows the features .i.e audiences (age, gender, social, business, news worthy) and more.

Linkedin 

The concept, sector, themes or subject matter is business, recruitment and B2B sales. You can describe the channel as business development or business and professional networking. It was launched in May 2003. The audience type or relationship to you is work colleagues and or professionals in your line of work.

The demographics are 18- 40 years. It is open to anyone who is 14 years and up old. Other points of note are that there are different languages over 20 used on the channel. LinkedIn business accounts is the premium service for insight for business and for candidates to grow and network. 

LinkedIn can be integrated into HubSpot as can Instagram and YouTube.

Professionals around the globe can effortlessly promote themselves and their businesses. Users can increase their business connections while connecting with other professionals. LinkedIn also offers opportunities to advertise your business, like sending personalized ads, boosting your content, and displaying ads on the site.

Notable features of LinkedIn are the ability to make your articles and posts reach professionals. It is a great marketing opportunity place to showcase your company or product. Users can follow the activities of your following connections. They have Premium products, Campaign manager for new advertiser and the Slide share applications.

Facebook

The concept, sector or subject matter is friends, family, gossip, fun, events, going out, fashion, groups, community, games and polls. You can describe it as general, photos, video, blogs and applications. It was launched February 2004. The audience type or relationship to you is long time friends from work, college or from growing up. Plus family. The demographic is female 18-49 years. The platform is open to 13 years up. There are 2000 million users. 

It is easy to get started and browse through and supports almost all types of content format images, text, videos, stories, and live video.

Facebook rules the world with numerous features it is integrated into other apps like chat, gaming, offers, weather, traffic reports, fundraisers, news feeds, messenger, find friends, crisis response, Facebook live, local and maps these features are based on IP addresses of the user. The disadvantage to Facebook is that you lose copyrights, limited in some countries and lots of complicated privacy tools a user must get used to.

Other notable features are:
Insights for business. Which is about engagement and reach plus adverts. Buy and sell on Facebook Marketplace. Find local events.

Facebook, covers multiple topics and interests and has a varied range of users, which makes it suitable for the non-niche brands. Facebook works on an algorithm that prioritizes content, which sparks meaningful interactions between people, especially among friends and family.

Twitter

The concept, sector or subject matter is news, sports, livestream, PR customer service.

You can describe it as general topics/interests/hobbies, micro blogging, rss. This microblogging network where users can get new updates in the blink of an eye was launched in July 2006.

The audience type or relationship to you are subject matter friends or hobby likers. There are 65 million users on the platform. #Hashtags, notifications, alerts, viral topics and trends are major features. Its emphasis on the and the things that are happening around the world makes this social networking site unique and different from other social media platforms.

Features include. Short word limit 280 characters, real-time information. Insight business
Campaign measurement and analytics and Twitter analytics. The platform has exclusive live streams and a user can chat privately with friends and followers. Finally a user can get suggestions about influential people to follow.

Twitter is also an ideal social media platform for customer service.

The disadvantage of Twitter is that these very short messages of info can be an overload. The messages can get lost which means a business needs to tweet many times a day to get through or pay for advertisement.

See Twitter case study 2020 presentation: How the social media started, audience and USP by Foydigital Twitter case study powerpoint presentation or Twitter case study.pdf

Instagram

The concept, sector or subject matter is entertainment, fashion, food, celebrity, influencers, actors, sport stars. You can describe it as photo and video sharing.

YouTube and Instagram are big influencing channels because of their visual nature. Before Instagram twitter was the channel that the influencers would use the most, but as processing technology constantly improved together with data plans being upgraded for mobile phones, social media platforms based on sharing videos and photos really took off.

It was launched as an independent company now owned by Facebook.

The audience type or relationship to you are friends from school.

Instagram has a mainly female audience who have an age of 16-25 years. It is open to users 13 years up.

300 million users are on this platform. Instagram business accounts can be integrated into HubSpot as can Instagram and YouTube.

There are however disadvantages such as limited link sharing to external sites.

YouTube

YouTube is all about entertainment, fashion, food, celebrity, influencers, actors, sport stars. The business concept, sector or subject matter is entertainment, sport, film channels.

You can describe it as video sharing and among the best video streaming applications. From music to movies and from personal videos to independent films, you name it, and YouTube has it.

YouTube, is the second-largest search engine after Google. So, if you want to promote your brand or anything else, it’s a great medium to do so. Content served is based on your past history of viewing habits and is cookie tracked. YouTube was launched as an independent business it is now owned by Alphabet (google). The audience type or relationship to you are subject matter friends, like sport or celebrity news. Favourite content could be films and or nature documentaries.

Users are aged 18-49 years. Which means it has a wide user base.

Other features:

  • Easy access to subscription channels and feeds
  • Live and video streaming of your content
  • Big screen interface
  • Business accounts can be integrated into HubSpot
  • Insight reach, engagement, audience and revenue via https://studio.youtube.com/

YouTube paid service allows you to purchase or rent individual items of content made available by third parties.

Disadvantages are it is resource heavy and time intensive.

WhatsApp

News and fun

1.3 Describe How To Use Social Media Channels

So how do we best use the social media channels out there? For a business the best way to use a social media channel is by focusing on great content which can enhance the business from an online marketing point of view. This can be advertising, promotion, PR to customer service. However firstly we must understand the people or audience we are targeting. Once we know this we should be able to make great decisions on how and when to use the channel at our disposal.

For a SME business immediately back links to the company websites is a key initial objective. This means the business is concentrating its efforts at the top of the marketing funnel in the area of awareness. Examples of this are:

Youtube

Our audience likes to see videos. We can use this channel to create awareness at the top of the marketing funnel by creating short snappy videos of what the business is all about. If good branding is used the viewer may click through to the company website.

Facebook

Our audience loves user groups and gossip. Facebook is good for reaching this customer again for awareness before deeper marketing. The best solution here is to make subtle interactions in focused subject matter groups at are inline with the business.

Instagram

Influencers use this channel to make their followers aware of new products and services. A SME can pay for targeted adverts in between some of the posts that an influencer publishes. Again this is awareness at the top of the marketing funnel.

Linkedin

You can gain an advantage in business opportunities by following the right one. Linkedin has a paid for service called insight. This is business intelligence which means you get deep insights into a company’s growth and functional trends. A SME can now conduct some research or test a campaign before entering into a market with larger paid resources.

Twitter

Breaking news is first seen on social media platforms like Twitter. Journalists find out what is happening in the world quicker on social media and see the broadest range of what people are saying on platforms like Twitter. All the following: news, sports, entertainment, political viewpoints and financial information in today’s world is covered by social media.

A small business can advertise around these trends in breaking news.

At the bottom of the marketing funnel a company would use the following platforms:

Facebook

Upload a catalogue of images to this channel of what others have missed to this social media platform. Tag and add keywords to make sure the search engine of that platform can recognise the content and rank it appropriately.

Instagram

After the business has been done it is a good idea to post success stories with picture on this channel if the audience you are targeting use this channel.

Twitter

Twitter is a good way to conduct customer service after business has been conducted.

Linkedin

Use this channel to make a professional thank you to customers and clients also ask for referrals.

This section 1 above is about understanding

Learning outcome 2
The learner will:
2 Know how to use social media to engage with an audience
The learner can:

2.1 Define The Characteristics Of Different Audiences

Different audiences have different characteristics. An audience that uses a particular social media channel can differ by many characteristics. We shall discuss this now by focusing on who uses a particular channel, where they use it, what they use it for, why they use it, when they use it and finally how they use it. We will do this by example.

A Foydigital digital marketing agency looking to do business in Ghana or Ethiopia need to know who the audience is. The who, where, why and what are as follows. Local business people in the markets Ghana and Ethiopia. What they want is a digital presence online and so the business Foydigital is all about finding and talking to these groups of people. Why are we the business Foydigital needed? We are needed because they need digital solutions which we can supply.

How we will supply this is via the internet and on a mobile first website. We will make you aware of our service to the local market via social media such as using Linkedin, Twitter and Youtube.

The local business people in the market can be further refined as young entrepreneurs, graduates with money, from rich parentage, they have studied overseas or access to international resources and connections. They are regular travelers and educated. They are local achievers amongst their peers. They have good to excellent broadband connections in the home and work. They have money to pay for the services on time. They value the service and understand the power of the internet. They have a sense of belonging with international entrepreneurs.

Local business sectors are:

  • Security home and online
  • Networking
  • Cybersecurity
  • Software design and development
  • IOT devices
  • Drones and smart phones connectivity
  • Money transfer
  • Food and drink exports
  • Gaming

The job title is business owners, they are aged 25-40 years old, gender male or female. They have a salary in excess of $35,000 a year. They live in the cities by the rich locations and work in the business districts.

They are interested in case studies and information on web development. Why is this? Because they want to do business overseas?

They are online on Linkedin and twitter looking for companies like Foydigital. They look for the content we post at very early morning mid morning their local time. They also look for this type of content before trade shows to do with their business sectors.

2.2 Explain The Use Of Different Media When Engaging With Different Audiences

Different media can or should be used for different audiences for engagement. To explain this further we can take a look at the following example. Social media platforms such as Linkedin, Twitter and Youtube will be used by a digital agency like Foydigital to market to the audience at different points along the customer journey.

At the top of the marketing funnel the audience needs to be made aware

Linkedin is used to introduce the business. We will post, engage by reviewing, sharing and commenting on content they consume or are looking at.

On Twitter we will follow the audience and share their content, publishing our content about digital solutions. Include links back to our website and Youtube we shall publish on this channel How to guides and Q&A to digital media and solutions for the local markets of Ghana and Ethiopia.

Why do they consume this content? They are wanting to drive their business and make money. These platforms provide solutions for them. How they see this content is via their mobiles smart phones.

At the end of the marketing funnel

The prospect is different from the customer that is not aware of our service they have paid. As an audience we will be looking for validation and referral so a different relationship is needed.

By using Linkedin content sharing is about how successful their business has become since we provided a service to them. This is the same for Twitter but here we will be providing customer service by commenting on what they say on the channel.

It maybe possible to create groups on WhatsApp at the bottom of the marketing funnel. Telephone numbers are very personal and relationships with peer groups can lead to referrals. 

Why do they consume this content? They consume this content because they are looking for our professional services. How they do this is via their business desktop computer and mobile smart phone.

2.3 Explore Ideas To Create An Online Identity For An Intended Audience

Why should we create an online identity for our intended audience? We should create an identity for the following reasons:

We need to talk to the intended audience in their local language, they need to see pictures plus images of themselves being served and the service needs to use the local money of the country. The facts are though that this group of people hang out on social media and if we wish to engage with them we need to be on the right platforms.So for a digital agency called Foydigital we are going to create an identity of a young man working with and young women working on a security project. We shall call this prospect the young cyber hustlers of Africa. The story will be how we solved their problems by providing digital solutions to their problems of finding more international clients. The story can be followed on Linkedin and Twitter.

By looking at the buyer behavoirs and their journey from first contact via social media to sales via video calls we will have an idea of the buyer’s point of view. What the buyer undertakes in terms of research, their pain points in choosing who to narrow down from a wide selection of companies on the market and final decision making. Once we do this we know how to tackle their objections in not purchasing our service. We need to build trust in all contacts with the intended clients. This we will do by sending out constant positive messages of our service, our values and how efficient we are. This message would be one of value and benefits.

We shall continue to develop the local personas, through qualitative and quantitative research.

The persona matches a local person who has had the solution to their digital problems. In general we will create before, during and after stories. Included in the stories will be the benefits, value of working with the specialist Foydigital, how long the project took, i.e. the time from start to finish, the experience of solving problems along the way and how much saving in money or increasing in profits gained after work was done by using our service.

We shall reach out to the young cyber hustlers of Africa telling them about our services. We will inform, engage and involve them in our social media promotions and address them in our campaigns.

Reference

See Twitter case study 2020 presentation: How the social media started, audience and USP by Foydigital Twitter case study powerpoint presentation or Twitter case study as a pdf

This section 2 above is about understanding