Absolutely Everything Marketers Need To Know To Be Successful In 2018

What Does It Take To Be Successful Online?

By using a good set of marketing skills, you will be directly contributing to increasing your conversion rate… Your job doesn’t end when you have driven traffic to your website, oh no. To succeed you need to turn that traffic into customers!

Digital marketers are becoming a jack of all trades. In this day and age, you need to be like a chameleon – you should be able to easily adapt to different skill sets required. The industry really needs people who can do a wide range of digital jobs, from crunching data to creating media. All form part of an online marketing strategy, no matter how small the job.

If you’re serious about marketing and would like to step it up a notch, take note and home in on the skills required to be successful below.

1. Essential Skills Modern Marketers Need to Succeed

Analytics

Analytical marketers get a good idea of their online customers and visitors’ behaviour. They can view things such as your purchase history, device engagement, and more. By regularly analysing how your website is performing, you will soon notice an improvement in the amount of traffic and leads you receive.

Did you know that research predicts there will be a short fall of up to 1.5 million data savvy tech managers by 2019… Better get brushing up on those skills if you want to stay in the game!

Social Media

Marketers love to improve their social media strategies – a good way of doing so is by adding new networks to your social media to build up a strong profile of your business. Relevantly new social media channels such as Google+ and SlideShare are becoming more and more popular with marketers. By staying on the cutting edge of social media, you will help create the trend – not follow it.

A phoner on a wooden table with lots of social media icons coming out of it and floating up towards the ceiling

It’s quite unsurprising to learn that a huge proportion of marketers, 92% to be precise, believe that social media is important for their businesses. There are many ways you can go about social media marketing; the main two being the professional route and the D.I.Y route. Depending on your confidence and skill set, D.I.Y social media marketing may be for you.

Data Visualisation

Bite size pieces of visual content are becoming a hot choice of media to use online. There images are easier to share than plain text data and they’re mot attractive too! Successful digital marketers design images in a certain way, meaning that people will be more likely to share them. Over the years there has been a massive increase in this kind of content. My guess is that the popularity will only keep on rising!

It’s proven that using visual content such as info graphs is a great way to market your business. 12% of websites see an increase in traffic after posting an info graph!

Technical Skills

Start by learning technical skills such as basic HTML coding or video production. If you are competent in various areas of the industry you will be able to communicate better with tech teams. This will cast a clear vision, so that developers build things that customers want.

Technical skills will be required for half of all new marketing hires in 2019.

Teamwork

Your ability to work with others in the marketing world is paramount. Social media teams will be ever increasing, so this skill is particularly important. Marketers are attributing more ROI (return on investment) thanks to social media. This means marketers can now easily justify to high up members of the team that they’re not just playing around online.

Womens team of rowers working together as a team to win

The proof is in the pudding – 57% of marketers have a dedicated social media team.

News-jacking

Being aware of breaking news and pop culture is an absolute must in this digital age we live in. By being aware, this allows your team to deal with public relations crises immediately.

You can also take advantage of such fleeting marketing opportunities that only work in a certain environment.

Remember Oreo’s brilliant Twitter campaign? It featured the ‘Dunk In The Dark’ tweet during the Super Bowl blackout. This ended up being retweeted over fourteen thousand times, jeez!

oreo twitter post when the super bowl was on and their was a power cut saying you can still dunk in the dark

Soft Skills

Being a great marketer isn’t just about what you know in the industry. It also involves many soft skills that we pick up naturally, without ever paying much attention to it. Things such as communication skills, friendliness, approach-ability and flexibility are all attributes of a brilliant marketer.

Nine times out of ten, individuals reported job failure was due to poor attitude or behaviour. There’s a phrase I remember well from my childhood which resonates well - ‘Treat others how you would like to be treated and you will do well in life.’

Now, we know what it takes to become a successful marketer. It requires a wide range of knowledge and the ability to be on the ball with all things current. Let's find more out about marketing trends, in particular the most popular.

2. Let’s Explore Top Marketing Trends

Let’s face it, marketing is the backbone of a huge proportion of businesses. Marketing is the force that pushes your services or products into the public eye. It is what gears people towards buying your product over another companies. Without using marketing, you’d be playing to an empty room so to speak. You won’t have much of an online presence at all, and without one, you’re setting yourself up to fail from the get-go.

These days, the techniques are ever changing to become more and more effective. Below, we will discuss a few of the top marketing trends around now.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence, otherwise known as AI, can be found in many forms. In the online world, particularly ecommerce websites, chat bots or virtual assistants are becoming much more mainstream.

People like to know that they are contactable at the touch of a button, with no lengthy phone calls or emails sent back and forth. They will receive a pretty much instantaneous reply from the chat bot, which in turn means less customer service emails and phone calls for your business… We hope!

Four people sat waiting for a job interview, the third person is infact a robot, artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence is also being used for facial recognition in smart phones and tablets, it makes a great security feature. There are also spam bots available, which recognise when a bot is trying to spam your website. Whether you’re using it for PPC advertising, AI- powered content, automated image recognition or anything else – artificial intelligence is not going to go away. Infact, according to research, around 30% of our conversations will be soon assisted by machines.

Viral Content

Viral content isn’t a new thing, it’s been around for as long as the internet has… However, marketing teams are now making a huge effort to make this awesome marketing trend their end goal. All it takes is for one post, video or image to go viral, which potentially has the power to make your brand famous!

At the bottom of the image there is a laptop and a person posting content, the content goes to 2 people then 5 then more and more. Viral content marketing

Every marketing team dreams and pines for that one epic viral piece of content that will make them a huge success. Believe me, we have it in our office almost every time a blog is posted, or a meme created. It can be so disappointing when your reach is poor, and no one has reacted. All that hard work wasted, pretty much every day it seems, ha!

Personalisation

Marketing teams are starting to drop the polished corporate image. This gives businesses the chance to become more personal with their audience. Remember, people buy from people – not computers. If a person can put a face or feel to your brand, they will be much more likely to trust it and in turn they may become loyal customers.

Consumers these days love a story telling type of narrative. By posting something relatable, funny or something that may pull on peoples heart strings, it is much more likely to be liked or shared.

Whether it’s a blog, tweet, Facebook post or an Instagram photo – make sure it’s personalised to your audience. Take the marketing jargon out and allow your customers to connect with your personal brand.

Mobile First

Year upon year, the audience that uses smart devices to access the internet grows. Think about it, how many people do you know or see using the internet on their phone or tablet?

That’s right, a clear majority of them do.This is the reason why you should create a responsive website for your business. The website should be able to respond to any size device without compromising on quality.

Visitors and prospective customers will soon lose patience with a site that they have to zoom in and out on, on their mobile device.If your company cannot market to the mobile universe, you should be rethinking your marketing priorities

Influencer Marketing

Social media influencers are a huge business right now. You may be wondering what social media influencers are, let me explain. You see many celebrities on social media such as Instagram and Twitter promoting products and brands, seemingly because they like them.

These celebrities may well like them, although it is more than likely the case that they are being paid to take part in influencer marketing.Recently I have seen influencers peddle all sorts, from luxury travel, to diet vitamins to dead skin removing socks! We will continue to see marketers tap into this resource even more so… Great.

kylie jenner advertising a range of weight loss products on instagram influencer marketing involved

There's more to it than just knowing which skills you need to be using and the best ways to market your company... Next you need to learn how to build your brand awareness in the best way possible. Having a good, solid brand message is key here.

3. Sneaky, But Sometimes Successful, Marketing Tactics…

We've all seen these kinds of tactics at some point or another, particularly point number 6. In fact, there has been quite a lot of controversy surrounding the sexualisation of people on television recently... I'm talking about all those music videos we see for a catchy or crappy song where it seems the young women MUST be scantily clad, wearing next to nothing shaking their behinds like there's no tomorrow!

What must our children think that watch these kinds of things? Anyway, that's a whole different subject...

Have a read about these seven sneaky marketing tactics, I wonder how many you can tick off your marketing `done` list?

Adorable Animals

There’s a reason the likes of Hello Kitty, Snoopy and Mickey Mouse are so famous worldwide. Heck, Hello Kitty is a gazillionaire – for some reason, we love it! Maybe it has something to do with the cute, cuddly animals they use to advertise their products with? They’re certainly going to melt a few hearts and open even more wallets…

Giant Hello Kitty inflatable being used in the famous Macys parade in New York City.

Parents, here’s a question for you. When walking past the likes of Build A Bear, Disney Store and Smiggle with your children, how many of you can honestly say that their kids have tried dragging you in? Yup, you’re nodding. You feel my pain also… But the truth of the matter is, animals really do work in marketing. Animals are even used in marketing cereal! Think Tony The Tiger, Sugar Puffs and Fruit Loops – they all use an animal in their marketing and branding campaigns.

Ginormous Numbers

They say bigger is better, right? So, go ahead, wow `em with a few extra zeros. Depending on your target audience, it may well do the trick. A lot of companies love to do their research on their product, finding out facts and figures to display to their consumer.

Think things like: “Kills 99.9% of germs”, “1,000,000’s of bacteria gone!” and “£48billion refurbishment – visit us now!”. All of which are good examples of using ginormous numbers within marketing campaigns.

Obviously, this advertising tactic may not always work for your company, dependant on your consumer.

Beautiful Babies

They might live in a constant routine of eating, pooping and sleeping, but for some reason babies are just so damn cute. They appeal to a wide range of people – young and old. Children will see the appeal of a sweet, cute baby to play with, read about or watch on TV.

Adults may see a different appeal to babies being featured in a marketing campaign. Think Mothercare, Evian and even home advertisements – you’ll notice babies are featured in many. They give off the appeal of a family, a nice traditional lifestyle and a good family unit. These adverts can often be memorable due to the appeal they give to their audience and how they react to their marketing or advertising campaign itself.

Three babies dressed up in grown up clothes that are far too big for them, for the Evian marketing campaign on SnapChat.

By including babies in our marketing efforts, you will be able to resonate with the emotions of your audience. Don’t go out there expecting your cute advertisements to be an instant ticket to page views or likes, nope. It is imperative that marketers be entertaining with baby related content, or risk being perceived as exploiting the cute but defenceless things.

Make Your Audience Feel Bad

Go ahead and open a can of whoop ass on your audience – it may well work! I’m not talking about being mean or cruel here, more like making your audience think and come to their own conclusion. If it makes a viewer think deeper into things, it means you have reached the right audience!

Personal trainers for example, how do they usually market themselves? The clear majority of the time, it is usually by offering a solution to a person’s problem. For instance, they would like to get in shape but you’re too lazy and are not motivated – a personal trainer would fix that!

Personal trainer keeping fit with his gym class.

Another prime example are slimming groups. I’m talking about Slimming World, Weight Watchers and the likes. These groups specifically target people that know they’d like to lose weight but don’t know how and want an easy place to start.

Slight Exaggeration

Here’s one that most marketers are probably guilty of – exaggerating. Whether it’s a tiny white lie or a pretty obvious over exaggeration of the century, you can find this marketing gem in many places.

Do you remember seeing a world best, biggest, most popular, most improved new product? That’s right you will. Take any small fact about your product or company and simply enhance it until it’s more appealing to use in your marketing campaign and BOOM! You’ll be onto a shameless marketing winner.

Sex Appeal

Sex sells, fact. Kind of like Marmite - some people may love it, some may hate it… However, no one can deny the fact that it brings in big bucks every single day!

So, what exactly is the appeal of sex in advertising? When sex is used in advertising, there is a use of sexually provocative or erotic imagery – it could also come in the form of sounds, suggestions and even subliminal messages. These have all been specifically designed to arouse interest in the product, service or brand that they are marketing.

Retro image of three ladies that look like they're in the 1950's that are barely wearing anything except heels, black and white image.

Nine times out of ten, sex refers to beautiful women, however it is becoming increasingly common to see handsome men being used in this way. Usually, the product advertised has nothing to do with sex. Most perfume adverts, for example, include a sex appeal figure, be it a man or a woman.

Then you have more obvious links such as FHM and Nuts magazine, these guys need to use sex appeal in their marketing for painstakingly obvious reasons. FHM once experimented with their use of models on the covers. They checked the sales on both a male and female cover star and when the female cover star was used the sales massively increased. That’s how the mans mind works!

News-jacking

Otherwise known as piggy-backing, this brilliant marketing tactics was discussed earlier in this article. It basically means the marketer hitches a ride on the coat tails of big news. If you’re working on marketing an Eco-friendly Vegan product and some big news comes up linked to Veganism, you can hop on the back of that! Has the next big gin craze hit town? Write a related blog and piggy back off that too!

There are so many opportunities to use news jacking in your marketing, you just have to be on the ball. Be aware of the goings on around you, be mindful of certain holidays and events too. Your content, be it blogs, articles or social media posts, could be related to the hot topic of the day, meaning more people reached!

4. Tips To Build Brand Awareness

It really should go without saying that building fantastic brand awareness is crucial to the success of your business. Are you finding yourself slogging over your site? Feel like you're promoting it left right and centre? Still not getting much in return? Check out our tips on how to successfully build brand awareness and you should soon see a difference.

Brand Message

First, you should begin by developing a clear and consistent brand message. If you don’t already have one, now is the time to get your thinking cap on. Your brands message should be recognisable and unique to your business. Think about what your brand does differently, what it can offer and what customers might like to hear, and you’ll be on to a winner.

The word Brand, made up from broken car registration plates

If you already have your brands message, what is it? Is it still up to standard? Or has it evolved or become convoluted over time? Try going back to your roots and figure out why you created the brand in the first place. Your brands message should be as recognisable as the logo, so be consistent.

Once you have developed a clear, consistent brand message – use it. Send it out and update all company communications. Things such as PR releases, email signatures, your social media etc should all be included in the update.

Logo

Your logo needs to be distinctive for it to stand out from the rest of the crowd. It should get across your brands message at a glance therefore the two should become entwined in the eye of your users.

It should be easily recognisable along with being optimised appropriately. The reason I mention being optimised is because on many websites such as directories and social media sites, they have specific requirements. Some may require a circle shaped logo, while others may prefer square. There may also be a minimum or maximum pixel requirement. Be mindful of this.

Your design team should create a design that effectively represents your companys values and character. There would be no point having a garishly bright and bold logo for a company specialising in high end interior design would there?

Stand Out From The Crowd

Its clear to see that there’s a tough market for online businesses. The seas are diluted, and the competition is fierce. For every person out there looking for something there’s a dozen other companies offering the same thing as you. Have a think, what is it that makes your brand unique? What makes it stand out from other similar brands? Work on maximising your uniqueness to stand out from the sea.

Lots of black buttons with one red button standing out from the crowd

Differentiating yourself from competitors is crucial in convincing prospective customers to buy from you over somebody else. By understanding the needs of your target audience, you will position yourself as the go to source of information.

Create content that answers questions and provides helpful information in all stages of the user’s journey. Try and get inside your audience’s head – what would you want to find out? You can share this information by creating info graphs, writing blog posts, social media websites, videos and more. But remember – don’t sell!

Put a face to your brand, people love to know who they’re buying from. It builds trust and shows you are proud of your business, so much so that you’re willing to put a face to it. A small introductory section on the about us page of your website should do, or a post on Facebook if that’s where your business runs from.

Don’t Break Your Promise

Your brand is your promise, so to speak. You are building on brand awareness, which means you are building on key values and messages. Do not break these values or messages. You should consistently meet your customers expectations of you, or even exceed them!

By consistently offering a brilliant user experience, you’re also differentiating yourself from the rest of the crowd.

Increase Exposure

Once you have updated your website with the areas we have discussed above, be sure to let your audience know about it. After all, there’s no point going to all that trouble and hard work if no one bats an eyelid is there?

You should:

Check out the services we offer, we can help with all of the below!

Update your website to include the new logo and message.

Let your customers know via direct marketing; email is good. Nobody bothers with snail mail much anymore, plus its not very environmentally friendly either.

Post regularly in your social media channels

Create a blog on your website for a more personable and friendly side to your brand. You can then share this across your choice of social media platforms.

Consider posting a press release.

Update your LinkedIn personal and corporate pages.

In the end, it all comes down to building credibility and trust between your company and customers. Make it happen!

5. Visual Marketing Content Ideas

With such strong competition out there on the ever-expanding internet, it can seem hard to not only keep up with the latest marketing strategies - but also succeed with them too.

Eye Catching Photographs

  • Show the `behind the scenes` of your brand. People love to get feel involved with their favourite brand. Why not take a few photos of a day in the life of your business? You could include your social media team, production and more!

93% of people say images are the number one factor when buying products, however, make sure it’s done properly! Using good quality, appealing photos of your products will give the best response possible. If you’re taking photos in a dark room with a messy background, then no one is going to take you seriously. Aim for a clean, white background with nothing but the product in question in shot, also make sure the lighting is adequate too.

a person holding a polaroid photograph that exactly matches the moutnain landscape with sea behind it

Show off your product in action. Now you might be wondering how to do this, well haven’t I got an idea for you…

User Generated Content - U.G.C

Get into the habit of politely asking customers if they wouldn’t mind sending a photo of your product in action. Honest customer reviews reflect extremely well on your business, consequently people that utilise the likes of Facebook and Instagram are more likely to succeed. These places are buzzing with people wanting to share their experiences through photos.

Inspiring Quote Cards

Quote cards are a brilliant marketing tool. Not only are they very simple and fast to create, they are also highly shareable over a wide variety of social media platforms. You will have seen them and maybe not even noticed – they usually come in a simple form with a nice-looking background and a quote/phrase related to that business.

Use quotes that reflect your brands values. If you run a funeral service, it wouldn’t be very wise to share quote cards that say things such as “You only live once” would it?! Common sense is key here. Understand your audience and what they’d like to see and you’ll be off to a good start. The below is a fitting one for our office:

Use your businesses branding to tie in with your marketing strategy. As the quote cards are so easy and simple to do, you’ll have no problem tailoring them to the needs of your business. Use your brands palette, font and design elements to suit you because that's what this is all about. Reflecting your business.

Strong Calls To Action

Can you believe a massive 70% of businesses are completely lacking any calls to action! What’s all that about? The whole point in having a website is to attract prospective customers/clients – how will you do that with a poor call to action functionality? Even by adding a contact us now button or something similar, in turn you’d be massively increasing your chances at online success.

Influence visitors to your page to do something, anything. Buy now, click here, follow us on …, share this are very popular calls to action – all of them influence the visitors journey on your website.

An open laptop with red and yellow building blocks in front of it spelling out call to action

They are a brilliant marketing tool. You can use them to promote pretty much anything! Having a sale? There’s a call to action for that. Would you like to share an offer? There’s a call to action for that. Do you want to let people know about an event? Yep, you guessed it – there’s a call to action for that!

Use bold colours that tie in with your branding to grab people’s attention. As we discussed above, good quality, eye catching images are a must.

Interesting Data Visualisations

Nobody is going to want to sit and read seemingly endless amounts of boring old text, no matter how exciting the data is – if exciting data is a thing? Anyway, studies have shown that more people respond to and understand visual information better than plain text.

First of all, it’s a much better way to display data online. There are many forms of visual data including: maps, charts, graphs and diagrams. You can communicate important facts and figures to audiences much faster in contrast to if it was displayed in a simple text form. People find it easier to skim read when taking in large amounts of data.

As with any marketing content, make sure you design your visual data to reflect your businesses branding.

Engaging Videos

Video marketing has massively changed the way businesses approach their online marketing strategies. The increase in video production has blown up the online landscape with videos on anything and everything! Do you want to learn about other businesses? Have a watch of their company video on their website. Need help fixing something? Type it into YouTube and chances are there’ll be a video for that too. There's even a video on how to video market!

The rise of video marketing has improved so rapidly due to the increase of internet use on mobile devices. The average person has access to any video content available online – in the palm of their hand. Not forgetting it is accessible anytime, anywhere! Adding the fact that digital technology is cheaper today than it ever has been, this has created limitless opportunities for people to engage with content.

Video Marketing

Ready to step things up a gear? You’d be in the minority, believe it or not! Only a tiny 9% of small businesses actively create video content! That figure came as a surprise to me, I thought it would have been much higher hence my surprise!

It’s a great way of mixing up your content. Did you know that 64% of consumers are more inclined to buy products online after watching a video? I bet that number is even higher when it’s a fun, exciting and more personal video.

video camera view finding for video marketing

It doesn’t have to be particularly fancy or overly complicated. Your aim here is to give your brand a literal voice and sound. Think about your existing branding – how can you tie that in with an engaging video? For a start you could consider the colours you use, the tone of voice, the font etc…

Guides

Another form of clever marketing content is guides. They are a brilliantly agile tool. They can be things such as recipes, tutorials, life hacks and more. Many companies utilise them to show off interesting ways to use their product.

a world map with a small tiny toy man standing on it waving towards us looking for a guide in marketing

By offering guides to your visitors, you are portraying a tone for your brand. This can be tailored to your business, depending on the tone you’d like to go for. If you’re a joke shop, you wouldn’t be aiming for intelligent and serious, would you? You would be informal, jokey and friendly with the consumer.

You can use the visuals to your advantage, marketers love guides. They can gain lots of attention, encourage likes and shares on Facebook, ultimately making it all seem achievable to your average Joe.

Informative Screen Shots

Using screen shots to tease an article or show off features on your website. You could screen shot customer reviews to share on social media, almost all people love to read honest reviews. Infact, 88% of people read reviews to determine a businesses quality. You can’t get much more honest than a customer review screenshot!

Remember to remove/cover any personal information such as the customers name or ask the persons permission before posting if you are unable to do so.

You can annotate your screen shots for even more clarity and to give it some background.

Thought Provoking Questions

Consider engaging with your consumers more by asking them questions to spark conversation. It helps break the barrier between businesses and consumers, and also reflects well on your business as it shows you go that extra mile.

I would recommend keeping your questions open ended. By asking questions such as “What is your favourite way to relax” – you’ll end up with a much wider range of answers and more of your audience will be able to answer. The alternative “Do you like relaxing by reading?” is much more closed, therefore less people will respond.

A question mark drawn in the condensation on a window

Questions can be presented as an image, rather than text. This way, you can include your businesses branding on it and it will be easier to recognise. It can also encourage the sharing of your content if it is on social media, hence the thought provoking!

Info-graphs

I am a BIG fan of info-graphics – they are an fantastic way to share information online! Did you know that info graphs are like and shared a massive THREE times more than any other piece of visual content? There’s a reason why I’m such a big fan…

Furthermore, you can compress an awful lot of information into one handy piece of content that’s ready to share away. Presenting large amounts of information this way makes it much easier to follow.

Businesses that use info graphs report a 12% higher profit than those who don’t. As they are usually quite a large piece of content, you have lots of opportunity to brand the content to your businesses like in. Tying in things such as colour schemes, fonts and the style of writing your company uses is recommended.

Now we've learnt more about the types of marketing and discovered ways to create brilliant content, lets discuss the places we share them. Yep, that's right, I'm talking about social media...

6. Learn More About The World’s Most Popular Social Media Sites

Firstly, what is social media?

Is it just Facebook and the likes or is there more to it than that? Why are they so successful?

A variety of social media icons all displayed on a cork board background

Well, social media is defined as the collective of online communications channels. These channels, otherwise known as websites and apps, are dedicated to a community-based input to keep their business growing. Interaction is another important feature of these websites, that is high up there in matter of importance. Content sharing such as images, statuses, memes, videos and more is an increasingly popular activity on these kinds of websites with no signs of dying out yet.

Another thing that is increasingly popular is collaboration, particularly collaboration between celebrities and brands. This is known as being a brand ambassador, you’ll probably be more familiar with them on sites such as Instagram and Twitter.

What Makes A Social Media Site?

I was surprised when I learnt just how many types of social media sites there are. Many people will assume that only the big sites are classed as social media. However, did you know that forum websites, micro blogging, social bookmarking and even wiki pages are among the different types of social media. Wikipedia huh, who’d have thought it?

Anyway, it’s explaining time! By the time you’ve finished reading this, you should have an excellent knowledge on all thing’s social media! Let’s start with the most popular, Facebook, which seems to be the hyper-giant star of the social media universe! It is, of course, still the world leader when it comes to social networking.

Facebook

facebook social media logo icon

Facebook is a highly popular, free to use social networking website. The website allows registered users to create profiles personalised to themselves, with many areas to add your own personal information – there’s even a space for your biography if you fancy sharing that much! Users can also upload photos and videos and share these across the site. This feature can be particularly useful if you live far away from your family or you’d like to keep in touch with old friends and show them what’s going on in your life. Another brilliant feature is the ability to add friends, you can even `favourite` certain friends so that you see their content first. How cool is that?

Why Facebook?

Sending messages is another of Facebooks most popular features. Many people nowadays don’t even bother to send texts, make a phone call or send a photo over to a friend on WhatsApp – nope, they use messenger. The clever messaging system from the brains behind Facebook itself. Video calls and voice calls can be made over Wi-Fi, so you don’t even need credit to make a phone call. It seems like Facebook has all intentions of taking over the world at this rate. Did you know you can send and receive money through Facebook messenger? I wonder what it will be next?

According to statistics from market research giant, Nielsen Group, there is more time spent on Facebook in the United States than any other website – wow!

Pros of Facebook

It is super easy to set up, use and manage. Anybody can do it, even your grandparents! By providing a well thought out, streamlined user journey, Facebook has managed to reach more people than ever. Many people would be afraid of new technology, especially if they didn’t understand it. Simplicity is key here, don’t over complicate things – people don’t respond well to that.

It's integrated with Instagram, meaning you can share your amazing photos of last night’s tea!

Data Driven Advantages

Facebook allows organic tracking. If you have a Facebook page or group, you will have an insight by taking a quick look at your phone. Facebook makes use of clever tracking tools which show you exactly how many people you’ve reached, how many clicks you have achieved and, if you have run a marketing campaign, it will tell you just how much each click or engagement cost. You will be able to use this data to improve the way you market online in the future. Being able to see what works well and what doesn’t is a brilliant advantage of using Facebook.

It allows you to communicate both publicly and privately in real time. As mentioned previously, Facebook Messenger is a massively popular app. So much so, that it is now a stand-alone app, when previously it was only available through the Facebook app or website itself. You can send and receive money, make video and voice calls, send images, create group chats and much more. Money well spent on developing it in my opinion, I bet the costs involved were ridiculously high!

It's easy to be ignorant… If there’s a person that for any reason you no longer wish to connect with, then you can simply block that person. They won’t be able to contact you in any way, shape or form via Facebook and they won’t see any content that includes you in it if you have been tagged.

Cons of Facebook

There are some strict rules for marketing campaigns on Facebook, all of which must be adhered to. If not, you risk getting your page blocked or removed completely. You can even be penalised by things as trivial as uploading a video with someone else’s music playing in the background, as you don’t have the rights to the music. In some people’s opinion it all seems slightly over the top, but from a legal point of view they’re doing the best they can.

Not only do marketing campaigns come with super strict rules, they also may be quite time consuming. Some marketing campaigns will have to run for a long time until you see anything in the form of results. Playing the long game can have its advantages though, depending on how you look at it. It can give you time to brush up on your social media skills and improve your website even more!

Not So Private, Huh...

There are privacy issues when using Facebook. I’m sure you’re all aware of the data mis use issue that Mark Zuckerberg faced back in early 2018, he faced a hefty fine and people discovered some concerning things. Around eighty-seven million users had their personal data harvested for political purposes by Cambridge Analytica.

Twitter

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Twitter is a free micro blogging service that allows registered users to broadcast short but sweet posts, known as Tweets. You can choose to have your tweet to be displayed publicly or privately, showing only the friends that follow you on your Twitter account. Users can broadcast Tweets and follow other users Tweets by using multiple platforms and devices, it’s a pretty diverse social media network.

Pros of Twitter

Again, this social media platform is very easy to set up and use. I was one of those that didn’t jump on the band wagon at first, when it came to signing up I was a bit worrying that it would be complicated… Needless to say it wasn’t at all.

By using a 280-character limit on Tweets, it helps to keep posts precise and to the point. There are no long, rambling posts which makes it much easier to skim read and take in at a glance what others are saying.

Twitter has a clever internal search function, meaning content is easy to find using hash tags. Search a specific hash tag and only information specific to it will appear.

It can be used as a sales platform, if you know what you’re doing.

Cons of Twitter

The character limit may be frustrating to people that wish to write a longer, more elaborate post. This may limit the content people choose to post on this social media site.

It isn’t the best platform for showcasing visual content. Twitter is more of a written content sharing network.

The sheer volume of messages and Tweets can prove annoying. You will find that this can easily lead to an information over load or even a complete loss of messages as they’re that hard to find.

Twitter metrics no longer appear on share counters, meaning your efforts can be wasted.

Google+

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Google+, pronounced Google Plus, is Google’s social networking project. You’d be mad if you thought the internet giant would miss an opportunity like this, a chance to jump on the social media train to success. Well, I say success, Google is already successful enough… They like to have a piece of all things online, with social media being a massive part of the modern-day internet. It is designed to replicate the way people interact offline, rather than online, more closely than any other social networking services. Hence their slogan “Real-life sharing rethought for the web”.

Pros of Google+

It’s great for SEO purposes. Google loves to showcase Google+ content in its SERP`s. I guess you get that luxury when you are the world’s most popular, most used search engine!

Being an easy to use platform which integrates with Gmail and Google Docs, makes everyday life that little less stressful for us all.

Finding people that you know is done with ease on Google+. If you fancy connecting with people outside your friendship groups, it’s also a simple task to do, simply have a browse through people then hit the follow button.

Cons of Google

The platform itself is very similar to Facebook. There isn’t much to differentiate the two, other than branding, and in my opinion, Google are further behind in terms of developing new features on their platform.

As it has a lack of market share, its audience size is much, much smaller. Meaning that the audience you are trying to appeal to is limited. Not good when you are trying to promote your brand.

Promotions and contests are strictly forbidden – and we thought Facebook was harsh!

YouTube

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YouTube is the largest and most popular video content based social media website. It was founded on Valentine’s Day back in 2005 by three former PayPal employees. Just over one year later, it was brought by Google. YouTube now has over one billion users – that’s almost one third of all people using the internet! Every minute, more than 100 hours of video is uploaded to the video sharing site.

It has now become so popular, that many people use it as a channel to watch instead of Netflix, Now TV and the likes. Particularly young children, you’ll find that they will happily sit for hours on end watching videos about slime, watching other kids open Kinder Eggs and other pointless things. Not too long ago, YouTube introduced a paid service for such people, meaning adverts will no longer appear on videos when you subscribe to the service. Things can only get bigger and better for these guys.

Pros of YouTube

Unbelievably, YouTube remains the second most popular search engine, after Google.

The platform allows you to connect a lot more directly with their audience. Users can react in different ways to the content published. They can rate the video with a thumbs up or thumbs down, you can share the video, subscribe to that contributors’ channel and even comment directly on the videos. This is particularly useful as you can use this throughout videos by asking questions for users to respond to in the comments.

Users don’t need to follow you to discover content. If you are uploading videos to YouTube publicly, then this will be open for any person to see. You’d be surprised at just how many people end up viewing your videos.

Content is displayed in SERP’s. Meaning it is a great method to use when promoting your brand, remember, even YouTube videos can be optimised for SEO purposes.

Cons of YouTube

The quality and editing of content are hugely important. You should always make sure that it is top notch. Otherwise if done badly, you could end up losing subscribers and worst of all you could be left feeling embarrassed.

Using this platform as a marketing tool requires a great deal more time spent planning than most other channels.

Linked In

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Linked In is certainly the clear market leader when it comes to social media sites specifically for professional networking. No other site can offer an experience quite like it, it is brilliant for people looking to connect with others in a similar industry. You can use it to network with local professionals, to advertise a job position, to display business related information and much more. Did you know the website is available in twenty-four languages and has over 400million registered users?

Pros of Linked In

It allows networking opportunities and prompts direct business relationships. Over time, you can create a pretty impressive amount of connections on the website, strong connections too. This will reflect well on your Linked In profile as other users will easily be able to see what you’re about.

Knowledge and expertise are widely shared on this platform, meaning there’s more to it than just network. It can be used as a learning tool, too!

You have the ability to post blog length articles to showcase your expertise in a particular field. You aren’t limited by a word count like you are on other social media sites.

Cons of Linked In

The business to business (B2B) focus means that the audience can be quite limited.

Adverts on Linked In are often poorly targeted. This could lead to a potential over load of irrelevant content. That’s not something you should be doing.

Pinterest

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Pinterest only came on to the social media scene eight years ago, in March 2010 to be precise. Meaning that it is quite a newcomer in the social media universe. This platform consists of digital `boards` where visitors can pin their content. The site now has more than one hundred million registered users, it’s grown quite rapidly in just eight years! Did you know that more than half of the visitors to this website are women?

Pros of Pinterest

Users are encouraged to discover content for themselves, it’s the basis of the site. So, there isn’t as much emphasis on actively engaging your audience, meaning you can sit back and have a cuppa while your audience does the digging!

All images on Pinterest are hyperlinked to the original source. You can see the trail of where the content has originated from.

Their selective following feature adds appeal to Pinterest’s audience.

If your target audience is women, that’s brilliant! This platform would be perfect for you, as many users are women.

Cons of Pinterest

Fantastic image quality is a must. You need to ensure that the images you upload are well chosen, high quality and optimised well too.

The audience demographics can be limited, as there are many people on the platform with a similar demographic. Consider this before continuing down the route of Pinterest.

Instagram

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Much like Pinterest, Instagram is a visual content social media platform. The basis of Instagram is to share photos. It includes unique image filters along with video and photo editing tools too. The most popular subjects on there now are food, fashion, art, travel and other similar subjects. Adding hashtags to your posts (much like Twitter hashtags) will widen the audience that sees your post. Instagram is now owned by Facebook and boasts over four hundred million active users. It's unsurprisingly to learn that almost 95% of Instagram users also use Facebook alongside it.

Pros of Instagram

It’s simple to use and easy to set up. The platform is self-explanatory and even includes helpful pointers.

It is currently one of the fastest growing social media networks. Perhaps is has something to do with helping people feel like they are professional photographers after using a filter or two, who knows?

User generated content on Instagram can be very powerful.

It appeals to a very wide audience – every man and his dog can be found on Instagram. Even if they do spend their time lurking around, not posting…

Instagram can easily be utilised as a sales platform. Brand ambassadors are on the rise; these are people (usually celebrities) that get paid to advertise a product in a `natural` kind of way.

Cons of Instagram

- If you were hoping to squeeze in a link or two, you’re out of luck. Unfortunately, links don’t work in Instagram caption areas.

- There are limited integration capabilities. Unlike Facebook, integration with other websites and platforms is much more limited.

- It is very much an image based social media platform, not much use if you would like to add more text content, as you cannot do so without adding an image.

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