Posted on January 22, 2019
By Melissa Bellas and Olivia Mastromonaco
We’ve all read the headlines, “Top 5 Reasons Instagram is a Necessity for Your Small Business” or “Twitter: The Key to Marketing Success for Your Company.” And while these headlines are certainly attention-grabbing, each social media platform has a different purpose – meaning that not all of them are actually a good fit for your business. So if you’re frantically signing up for Instagram, crossing your fingers that it is, in fact, the magic marketing solution for your business, we respectfully advise you to back away from your computer (or smartphone)! Before you register for any and every social media platform out there, it’s important to understand which ones can actually impact your business. But don’t worry – that’s what we’re here for!
Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has quickly become the social media home of eye-catching photography and visual storytelling – making it a great option for industries such as auto, fashion, beauty, travel and retail1. However, if you can’t translate your product (think propane tanks, water heaters, trucks, etc.) into something highly visual and professional top quality, Instagram is not the place to be. So what’s it all about?
What we once commonly knew as the pound sign is so much more today. Hashtags are king when it comes to Instagram, helping users’ posts reach target audiences and increase engagement. But you need to know how to use them. In all likeliness, a hashtag of the name of your company will not make the list of trending topics. #sorry
Unlike traditional digital advertising methods where you pay for an ad, influencer marketing is about partnering with and paying key advocates or popular public figures to drive products and services to their already large and dedicated follower base. This is the bread and butter of Instagram for businesses. So unless you’ve recently delivered a propane tank to Michael Jordan or sold Kim Kardashian a new water heater, influencer marketing is ultimately not beneficial to your business.
Over the past decade, Twitter has become the go-to place for pop-culture, news updates, and microblogs – all in 280 characters or less. If a topic is trending, it’s likely on Twitter – just take it from public figures such as Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and Barack Obama – the most followed accounts on the platform. And while you don’t necessarily need to be a Grammy winner, recording artist, or former 2-term President, in order to be successful on Twitter, you need to have a following. While airlines, telecommunication companies, and consumer technology corporations leverage Twitter to share key updates, not all industries can keep up with Twitter’s round-the-clock nature.
Think of Twitter as the digital equivalent to Times Square – messages, advertisements and billboards just about everywhere you look. With 6,000 tweets sent every second and 500 million (yes, million!) tweets per day, standing out in this digital whirlwind is a rather arduous undertaking. And while you can know for certain that your tweets are being sent to feeds, you do not know how likely viewers are to actually read them – especially when you consider that many Twitter users follow hundreds, if not thousands of accounts.
Cultivating a follower base on Twitter is not only difficult and costly, but also a time-consuming process. There is no single process for attracting an audience, and doing so typically requires experimenting with different strategies. With this in mind, it is not surprising that millions of Twitter accounts have 0 followers. In fact, the average number of followers per Twitter user is just 208.
Let’s assess the question at hand: which social media sites do your target audience use? While the retail energy industry’s target market is primarily homeowners aged 35 and over, Instagram is dominated by consumers in the 18-29 age range2, while over 40% of Twitter users fall between the ages of 18-343. So where should you invest your time and marketing dollars?
With an expansive user base (now larger than the population of China!) Facebook is proving to be the answer. What once started as a way for college students and young adults to connect and keep in touch online, Facebook has become a staple for businesses looking to grow their customer base. With 2.27 billion monthly users worldwide4, Facebook targeting capabilities such as behaviors, interests, demographics, age range, and location are helping retail energy companies connect with leads in the areas they serve.
Facebook Ads allow you to run more detailed, targeted initiatives with advanced capabilities and options to define your ad placement, specific objectives, and design. And its sophisticated platform enables you to target your audience by several variables including location, age, gender, interest and behaviors. This option allows you to reach those not already in your audience – further amplifying your brand and messaging.
Improved Customer Service
When customers need to reach a local business – whether it be to request service or information or voice a complaint – more and more are turning to Facebook. In fact, a recent study found that a vast 82% of consumers expect great customer service on Facebook6. Streamlining the customer service process, Facebook allows brands to answer questions and resolve issues more quickly and efficiently than ever. And with most interactions visible to the public, your social media pages are a great place to highlight your customer service efforts.
Contact us today to see how Warm Thoughts’ Social Media Program can make your Facebook presence a source of pride and strength for your company. And for more information on growing your retail energy business with social media, download our full whitepaper, here!