Most Effective Social Media Advertising Platforms in 2022
The pandemic has forced people to spend more time online, and the way we behave on the internet has changed as well. A survey shows that, during the pandemic, 57% of Americans have increased their screen time, and, overall, 44% of internet users worldwide have reported an increase in their social media usage. For brand owners, now is the perfect time to up their game in regards to social media advertising. With the right social media strategy and management, a business can increase their market influence and profits several times over.
How has Social Media changed during the Pandemic?
Covid has not changed the ranking of popular social media platforms as much as you might expect. Like the years before, Facebook continues to take the lead, with Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube following closely behind. In terms of numbers, though, we see a sharp increase in daily usage that tells an interesting story. For instance, Facebook had been steadily declining in popularity prior to the big C, until the lockdown briefly brought its numbers up. The pandemic gave a boost to other social media platforms as well. Nevertheless, their rapid growth in popularity proved to be a short-term trend. After the first year of lockdown, the average daily usage of each site or app dropped and has remained steady since. As restrictions loosened, most seem to have found balance between their internet usage and hobbies, remote work, and offline entertainment.
Unexpectedly, Pinterest has had a big comeback during this time. What was once regarded as a platform for soccer moms with too much time on their hands has turned into a valuable resource for creativity. As the world was collectively making sourdough and redecorating their homes, Pinterest stepped up to prove its usefulness. Other platforms have tried to follow suit and promoted their own lessons and workshops for various projects, often for free - naturally, in exchange for a follow and free promotion of the company.
Attempts to keep users engaged in lockdown were not limited to productive endeavors; we’ve all seen the explosion of TikTok and Instagram challenges. These trends provided a sense of connection between internet strangers, while boosting user engagement for their respective apps. Need for human connection is what truly distinguished the pandemic years, and this trend is not going anywhere in 2022.
Livestreaming, and what it means for businesses
The recent years have seen an increased demand for live content. This trend existed before Covid, and the pandemic is what really kicked it off. Listening to and interacting with someone in real time provided much needed social interaction for many of us in lockdown. Although initially livestreaming was utilized primarily by influencers and content creators (most notably gamers), businesses did not take long to take notice of the new opportunity for social media advertising.
Livestreaming provides a direct connection between a user and a brand. This creates a sense of trust towards the company, with Q&A sessions, live product launches, and behind the scenes videos doing a bulk of the work. But livestreaming can also establish your business as a notable expert in your field: the opportunity of live interaction means that watchers are free to ask questions in real time and receive immediate answers to their queries and concerns. Not only can companies easily increase their user engagement through livestreams, but they also receive prompt feedback on their services. Prompt, professional customer support can really distinguish a business among its competitors.
In short, people are tired of overly polished brand content that seems difficult to relate to; instead, there is an increasing demand for “organic” content that reveals the people who work behind the scenes, their interests and motivations. This is evident even in the world of influencers; statistics show that smaller influencers increasingly have a bigger impact on their followers than their more “successful” counterparts.
Popular livestreaming platforms are Twitch, TikTok, and Instagram, with newer apps like Caffeine entering the market as well. While TikTok and Instagram target a wide user base, Twitch has historically been associated with gaming livestreams, and Caffeine.tv is emerging as its newest competitor. Both Caffeine and Twitch are continuing to diversify their user base; nevertheless, if your company deals with tech fans in any way, targeting specific Twitch influencers and their fans is a smart move.
Although livestreaming is here to stay, a related trend that is already on the decline is live audio content. This trend caught everyone’s attention due to the popularity of Clubhouse - an exclusive, invite-only platform that provided a new way to engage with your audience through audio chats. Other social media platforms, including Facebook and even Spotify, have followed suit (with Twitter Spaces being a great example), but over a year on, our experts believe that live audio content is a fad that is slowly but surely passing us by. Some platforms are even actively paying creators to post audio content due to their lack of users. Simply said, if you are a new brand that is still deciding how to handle your social media presence, live audio content might not be worth the effort.
Where to begin on your SMM journey?
The average internet user in 2022 is struggling with content overload; as a result, businesses have to be extremely precise and strategic in targeting their clientele. Researching your audience is essential. If you have some capital and big ambitions, contacting a marketing agency for their social media advertising services is a great solution, but even if you are a one-man show, we’ve got you covered. A good way to start is to analyze your competitors, and what they are doing. Consider who their average follower is and what they might be after. Take thorough notes, consider the market niche you want to enter, and in the end, try to formulate what will distinguish your business from others.
Although it may be tempting to create accounts on all the platforms you can think of and spam social media ads, this is hardly the best way to go. Frankly, it is simply not realistic to be present everywhere at once. You will undoubtedly stretch yourself too thin, resulting in subpar content and limited interaction with users. It’s much better to focus on 2-3 platforms that relate to your niche and create a strong brand identity that will appeal to your target customer. Knowing who your specific target user is and how to appeal to them will save you both money and time.
Which Platform to choose for Social Media Advertising?
Choosing the perfect social media platform largely depends on your field of operation. The social media marketing strategy you choose should play a role as well. For brands that are best promoted through visual content, Instagram is essential. If your company needs to convey more complex concepts, however, simply posting images might not be very helpful. For businesses that deal with niche audiences, Reddit, TikTok, Telegram, and Discord are recommended, but these platforms will hardly come of use for a mainstream clothing brand.
For example, retail and food services should focus on their presence on Yelp and Google reviews, while Discord and Telegram are the go-to apps for gathering a community around a niche concept, notably blockchain projects. If your business deals with fashion, home decor, or jewelry, promoting yourself on Pinterest is a good way to bring in more clients. And for the creatives, a great portfolio on Behance or Dribble will provide a major advantage for networking and self-promotion.
Keep in mind that each age demographic has their own preferences. Is your target audience composed of teenagers trying to spend their monthly allowance or established entrepreneurs? For instance, a real estate agency won’t find much luck promoting themselves on TikTok, but a modern clothing brand will surely find a few customers they can entice.
With all these different factors to consider, modern brands are competing to stand out in the crowd. Back in 2013, Denny’s broke the mold for how corporate social media should be managed. The fast food chain unexpectedly became a new teen favorite through posting memes, cryptic nonsensical updates, and even mocking their followers. In the 8 years that have passed, brand social media management has come a long way. Luxury designer brands have participated in silly online challenges. The Washington Post has been sharing news updates in the form of TikTok memes. On Twitter, businesses are trying to outwit each other for maximum shares and likes.
At SAPHIRA, we generally focus on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for B2B companies. For our clients involved in blockchain projects, we commonly use Telegram, Discord, and Twitter, while for e-commerce businesses we tend to focus on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok.
Of course, let’s not forget about the big three - Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. These larger, more established platforms are harder to put into a box. For instance, Twitter is commonly used by B2B businesses and news outlets, but any brand can find use for their platform. Since Twitter is best used for sharing links or images, it’s a great way to promote a website or a blog or to share others’ content to establish yourself as a credible, informative source.
How to manage your business’ social media?
Identifying your target audience and choosing the right platform to target them is only half the work. Now you need to implement your plans and ideas into reality. Here, social media management appscan come in handy. We have included a few examples that the SMM team at SAPHIRA uses to make our jobs more efficient.
If you happen to have a team working for you, task-assignment platforms like Asana or Trello are commonly used.
Buffer/Amplifr is an app for scheduling posts for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, and the built-in analytics tools allow you to measure how well your posts are performing. To take your posts to the next level, consider using Flick to manage and analyze hashtags for Instagram. Canva is an easy-to-use tool that assists you in creating visuals for social media. Canva includes tools to create and edit Instagram stories, Facebook posts and covers, Twitter and Youtube banners, and more.
What to expect from your SMM strategy?
Social Media Management is a semi-long term commitment. As a rule of thumb, we recommend planning 6 months ahead, but still keep your hand on the pulse for any new developments in the online world. After you start to implement your plan, you might see the effectiveness of your social media advertising only 3-4 months in. Just keep in mind that social media growth is exponential - it is slow at first, but if your content resonates with your audience, you may expect sudden growths and developments. Don’t forget to keep things consistent. If you’re starting from scratch and creating brand new accounts then you’ll need to build your audience up from nothing; naturally, you will need to focus on gaining followers through brand awareness and engagement campaigns. If you already have a social media presence and a decent following (or after you get to this stage) we recommend allowing a further 6 months to begin implementing your social media strategy, ensuring all posts are consistent to set up a strong brand image and tone that the audience will want to engage with.
To wrap it all up, the most effective social media advertising platform is the one that relates to your specific business. New business owners tend to second guess themselves, but as long as you’ve done your research and continue to keep up with new trends, social media management is nothing to be intimidated by. Although times have been turbulent, 2022 is the perfect time to establish your online brand presence. There are new trends, apps, and opportunities arising constantly, and with a little dedication, you can take advantage of them and bring your business to the next level.
Article by Baska Ganbaatar
Baska Ganbaatar is a Copywriter at SAPHIRA. With a background in Biochemical Engineering, Baska spent years as a researcher at various tech startups before pursuing her interests in linguistics and writing. She moved to Ukraine from Germany in 2020 and joined SAPHIRA as part of the Creative team.