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Choosing the right social media platform for your business.

THE SOCIAL MEDIA KING, FACEBOOK.
WHO’S ON IT?

Everyone (pretty much). More than 2.9 million Kiwis use Facebook regularly. That’s well over half the country’s population. It’s got the most varied demographic of the social media platforms, too. Grandma uses it to keep up with Jimmy’s trip around Vietnam; Susan uses it to find out what Billy’s new girlfriend wore to that cocktail party; and Jimmy uses it to chat to Billy about his new crush (you get the drift).

WHAT’S IT GOOD FOR?

Facebook’s good for building brand loyalty and reputation. You’ll use it to confirm your business as an authority in its industry through high quality content. It’s the most prominent social media platform for brands because of its sophisticated advertising and targeting capabilities and analytics platform. But it’s good for more than just sharing content; Facebook allows you to build relationships with customers, join in on brand-relevant conversations and give your brand human-like attributes.

WHAT’S IT NO GOOD FOR?

It’s a brand-saturated space. It’s got the largest audience pool of all the social platforms, which can be a blessing and a curse; if your brand sells a niche product or service, you can use its advertising tools to target your audience and it can be super effective. But if you don’t have any (or much) money to spend, it could be a pool that’s too big for you and there’s a chance you’ll sink. As more brands enter the Facebook playing field, organic reach is slowly dying (but not that slowly). This means brands with the deepest pockets, and not necessarily the best content, tend to get the highest reach. To cut to the chase, Facebook isn’t good for targeted outreach if you don’t have money to spend.

INSTAGRAM IS COOL FOR CREATIVE TYPES, YOUNG GUNS AND YOUR MUM.
WHO’S ON IT?

More than 900,000 Kiwis are on Instagram. Its demographic is slightly skewed towards females, but it’s generally big amongst people who appreciate beauty and creativity. It’s youth-dominant; internationally, 53 per cent of users are 18-29, but the above-30 age bracket is growing.

WHAT’S IT GOOD FOR?

Instagram is your art gallery. It’s great for brands with artful and editorial-quality images and video snippets. It’s also super easy to use and as a result, 85 per cent of its users use the platform while they’re at work (that’s why your content needs to provide an escape, but we’ll get to that in a second). It’s also hashtag-centric, meaning using hashtags wisely can genuinely increase engagement and brand awareness. And, of course, with the arrival of Instagram advertising, we can target Instagram users in the same way we can target Facebook users.

WHAT’S IT NO GOOD FOR?

If you don’t have high quality creative, don’t bother. If you want to share links, don’t bother. Instagram is a visual creature, so treat it that way.

LINKEDIN
WHO’S ON IT?

LinkedIn is less about play, more about work. It’s where the world’s professional population comes together to gloat, network and pat each other on the back. Its audience is a little older, too; 51 percent of its users are 30-64 years old.

WHAT’S IT GOOD FOR?

If you’re a business-to-business company, LinkedIn is for you. Over the past few years, it has evolved from a cocktail party for recruiters and job seekers to a resource for valuable content for professional minds. Users scroll their newsfeeds for success stories, job offers and employee updates. Aside from content, it’s also good for nurturing staff loyalty; people should take pride in being associated with your company page. It’s also unique in its native long-form publishing function; users can publish blog posts to share with their connections.

WHAT’S IT NO GOOD FOR?

LinkedIn means business. If you’re selling fluffy slippers, LinkedIn isn’t where you’ll do it. The platform’s tone is the most formal and its purpose for users is to foster meaningful, professional relationships. Leave your banter about slippers for other platforms.

CONNECT YOUR AUDIENCE

Hopefully, this rundown has given you some direction on where to invest your time and money, platform-wise, so you can go out and enter the right social communities. Remember: your audience comes first and the platforms come last. And like any business tool you’re investing in it needs time spent on it to make it relevent, so put a good content strategy in place before you start.

The importance of branding

Building the right brand is one of the most important things you can do for your business and
sometimes it’s ignored until later on down the track. A brand is your businesses’ label in the
marketplace – it represents who your business is, what your business does and the values it stands for.

Some may say, “I’ve got a logo – that’s my branding sorted”, but branding is about so much more than
a logo – essentially it represents the experience your customers have when they interact with you and
your products or services and conveys your ‘promise’ to them of what to expect when they transact
with you.

For example, with Apple you know you’ll get the latest in innovative technology and super stylish
presentation, or that BMW will always deliver high quality engineering in luxurious surrounds.
Remember those names or symbols don’t stand for those qualities and attributes – after all an apple is
a fruit you put in your kids’ lunchbox! Rather, these companies have carefully crafted all elements that
represent their brand – like the logo, design, packaging, materials, communication style and service to
create this overall perception of their brand.

So, in other words your logo and brand represent the values and attributes that people associate with
your business and products. So it’s really important to do a good job when it comes to branding – as
it not only helps to give your customers a frame of reference, it’s a ‘short-hand’ description of your
business and what it stands for.

If your brand is synonymous with good quality and value for money – then everything you do; from
the ingredients you use, the packaging, service and all communication need to be of good quality, yet
competitively priced. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the cheapest on the block – rather you
deliver value for money that your customers are happy to pay for.

So, how do you go about creating and defining a good brand?

First you need to understand who your target customers are, what are they looking for and how they
like to be communicated to. This will help to shape the values and attributes you select to represent
your brand and guide the way you style the look, feel and experience of your brand.

All good brands have similar qualities:
  • they’re believable
  • they’re consistent
  • they encompass the qualities most important to your target customer

Simple really!

Where do you start?

It starts with you. Firstly you need to look at who your customers are and what they are looking for in
terms of your product or service area.

What are the qualities they look for when it comes to selecting a good product or service provider?

Great service? High quality? Reliability? Low prices? Latest designs?

Once you have decided on the qualities (or values and attributes) that are most important to your target
customers then you must encompass these qualities in everything you do. It’s not only your look
and feel and marketing communications – but right through your entire operation, so that your brand
permeates the whole customer experience – from advertising, to sales, billing and after sales service.
This process takes both time and commitment from the whole team – but if you do it well, it will go a
long way towards helping you attract, impress and keep your customers.

Finally, if your brand is more than seven years old you may want to look at an upgrade. It might not
have to be a complete re-do, but it is important to keep it relevent to the current market place.