Social Media has been around for years and new channels are continuously created, but as our world technologically advances and internet users take their pick, only a few social media sites prevail for influencers and businesses alike. The role of influencers is dramatically increasing, and as these influencers get paid for their activity on social media, many people are inquiring about How to Become an Influencer in 2020. The social media platforms worth mentioning have acquired millions of daily users and is also responsible for publishing millions of posts or user-generated content posted to the world wide web per day. Many smartphone users have a general idea about the most popular social media platforms, and some admit to being addicted, but just in case you’ve chosen to avoid social media until now, here is a general summary of the thriving social media channels to utilize for your brand. 

Facebook is as ever-changing as the social media industry itself, and with 1.65 billion monthly active users, they are sure to remain a useful tool for connecting family and friends for personal use. However, this platform has become a resource for businesses and influencers as well. To use Facebook, you would be prompted to create a free profile, upload profile and header photos, as well as personal and professional biography information, in which you will then be able to access your dashboard, newsfeed, and profile. You can post on your profile or to your story, request to add friends, post statuses, and like, comment, or share any content you choose. In terms of marketing for influencers, Facebook can be used to build a fan base. In this case, you would create a page for your business or brand which your friends, family, and fans can like. Facebook is big on analytics, so you can be sure to gain insight on buyer demographics and receive strong leads and brand awareness for your products and services via Facebook Advertising. 

Instagram is a social networking app that allows you to share photos and videos from a smartphone, catering to our world’s obsession with mobile photography. Although a simplified version of Facebook, Instagram has a number of impressive features that attract it’s 1 billion monthly active users. You can easily create a free profile using your Facebook information, or simply an email address to gain access to your profile and newsfeed. You can upload a profile photo and a short bio, and begin posting content to your feed or your story. The 24-hr story feature has stolen Snapchat’s audience, or at least the users who were solely on the platform to post temporary content. Instagram allows you to use its platform personally, or as a business- which is also an attribute of the story feature. This business profile corresponds to an existing Facebook business page, and whichever industry or business type you list on Facebook will be displayed on your Instagram profile. You will then gain access to analytics in regards to your promotions on Instagram as well as receive notifications about the number of profile visitors you’ve had in the past week. A key concept on Instagram is hashtags, which allows you to reach an audience beyond your followers, and stay-up-to-date with your topics of interest.

Twitter is an easy way to connect your brand to your audience. 310 million users tweet short and concise messages of 140 characters or less, so you’ve got to be straight to the point, yet intriguing and appealing on this platform as every character counts! 175 millions tweets are posted daily on Twitter, and your timeline may consist of photos, polls, gifs, short videos, and links which can lead back to a website or landing pages. You can easily create a free profile on Twitter, where you’ll also have the option to upload photos and a bio, but this must be kept short and sweet as well, because the characters are yet again limited. Hashtags are key on Twitter, as this is how individuals locate the content that interests them. These tags allow you to reach an audience beyond your personal following, in which you can foster relationships and continuously grow your audience.

LinkedIn is in its own lane in regards to social media platforms, as it is strictly designed for businesses and professionals. This platform is used to show job or career experience, seek jobs, network, and share professional thoughts. Similar to the others, you can create a free profile with photos and a bio, but the difference with LinkedIn is that your personal profile consists of job history or experience, education, volunteer experience, as well as your professional accomplishments and skills. You’ll have access to a dashboard where you can see the activity of your connections and like Facebook, you can create a business page. LinkedIn requires you to have a professional email address, limiting it’s business page use to those who have professional affiliations or have gone the extra mile to get an email corresponding to their website address. This platform provides an array of resources to business including LinkedIn Premium, but regardless of your membership, you can see who has viewed your profile and any recommended connections based on your network, and enjoy a professional networking social media environment. 

Pinterest is also a niche social media platform, as here you solely post clickable pictures with short captions, requiring high quality and striking images for your brand or tangible products. These aesthetically pleasing images should always link to a related blog, or your website specifically. Pinterest makes it fun to organize your content into boards so that you can highlight different aspects of your brand or business. Your caption is important here so include keywords, as this is how you will be found in search engines. Pinterest now has a tool for business and influencers to note which pins are being clicked on, so you can post more of those instead of the ones that aren’t working. 

Youtube is the world’s leading video-sharing platform where users can curate their own channel by creating a free profile consisting of videos, playlists, and whatever content the brand generates in video format. Not only is this platform beneficial for getting your face out there to your audience, but it is more engaging and shareable than that of traditional text content. While ensuring that you only produce the highest quality video and audio content, you have the opportunity to be a vocal thought-leader in your industry. You can upload webinars or videos speaking on topics related to your brand, products, or services.

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Targeting Your Audience

Each social media platform attracts a uniquely different audience, which can be evaluated by a breakdown of demographics. So where is your target audience spending most of their time? Although 93% of social media influencers focus their content on Instagram, the best return on investment requires you to ensure that the social media channel’s usage matches your content and essentially, your audience. Facebook has the largest audience, as 79% of Americans use this platform. While more women use Facebook than do men, every age group has adopted the use of Facebook- whether personal or professional. 88% of the 18-29 age group use Facebook, 84% of 34-49 year-olds use the platform, 72% of 50-65 year olds, and 62% of the 65+ community all use Facebook. On the other hand, younger Americans are more likely to use Twitter, as only 10% of the 65+ age range uses this channel. Although there are no gender discrepancies on Twitter, this platform tends to be more popular amongst highly educated individuals. This is also true with LinkedIn, as this social media channel attracts college graduates and high income earners most likely to live in urban areas. More men than women have adopted this platform, but it remains the most popular for companies working in B2B industries. Utilizing LinkedIn Groups feature will allow you to find your target audience. Instagram is a great platform for younger audiences, as 1/3 of American internet users have adopted the platform, most between the ages 18-29. This platform is consistently adding new functionality for influencers, like sponsored posts and business partnerships. Pinterest is popular amongst women internet users, more likely to live in suburban areas, though you’ll also find urban and rural users on the channel. Pinterest is also expanding its marketing functionality for better influencer opportunities.

Where to Produce Your Content

Now that you know all about the most popular social media channels, where should you produce your content? While finding your ideal target audience is important, it is beneficial to share a space with the big influencers in your niche, as this opens opportunities to reach out to them and possibly collaborate in the future. BuzzSumo allows you to enter keywords to locate these popular influencers in your industry, as well as get a glimpse of where they posted their content. 

Where you produce you content depends on the type of content you want to produce. While Facebook and LinkedIn are lenient and diverse on the format of your content, YouTube and Instagram are rather specific. If you desire to post tutorials, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook would be ideal. If you’d rather focus on thought leadership and target a professional audience, look to LinkedIn. It is important to stick to 2-3 platforms to build your credibility and audience, or you risk spreading yourself too thin. 

Smart Insights’ Global Social Media Research Summary, or We Are Social’s annual Digital Global Overview provide valuable research regarding users outside of the U.S., and they grant access to where these users live and which social media channels they use. Without reference for time zones, the best times to post on Instagram across industries is during lunch and the end of the typical workday. The best day to reach your audience on Instagram is on a Friday. Facebook, alternatively, is used on mobile devices and desktops and the best time to post across industries is the start of the workday, or when people login for the first time. Lunch break and after work hours are also crucial posting hours on Facebook. Twitter can be used on the phone or computer as well, but the best tweet times correlate with both morning and evening commutes. For B2C companies, the ideal time to tweet is the weekends, and for B2B companies, the best days to tweet are the weekdays. LinkedIn’s best post times are differentiated from the rest, as it is geared towards professionals. This platform is widely used during weekdays and work hours, and the best day to post is Wednesday. Pinterest users are active on a regular basis, but because this channel is not easily browsed and requires navigation away from the platform, commute times are the worst times to post.

Which Social Media Platform is Best for You?

As a social media influencer in 2020, you have options regarding which channel you want to use to promote your brand or business. Your choice of platform highly depends on your content and your target audience, as no influencer has the exact same goal. Do some brainstorming and research regarding your niche, content and content strategy, your desired audience as well as other successful influencers in your industry to determine which platform would be best for you and your message. It is impertinent to maximize the platform’s strengths and demographics to make the most of your online activities. As each social media channel and its users vary from platform to platform, it would be wise to get assistance from sources like The Flint Group, who specializes in helping businesses and organizations of all sizes figure out which social channels they should be using and how they can optimize messaging to maximize impact.

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