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Social media marketing 101: How to choose the right channel for your business goals

Social media is an effective tool that businesses can use to connect with their target audience, but the choice of the best social media platform depends on specific factors such as business objectives, audience, and content type. 

For example, Instagram and Facebook are suitable for increasing brand awareness, while Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shops are ideal for driving sales.

Understanding the target audience is critical in selecting a social media platform; Snapchat and TikTok are best for younger audiences, while LinkedIn targets professionals. 

The type of content that each social media platform supports also varies, with Instagram and Pinterest favouring visual content, Twitter for short updates, and LinkedIn for more extended pieces such as articles and industry insights.

In this week’s episode of Let’s Talk, our panel of experts will explore the some of the important social media channels and their respective strengths.

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Ayaan Mohamud, Regional Vice President Marketing APAC, impact.com

Ayaan Mohamud
Ayaan Mohamud, Regional Vice President Marketing APAC, impact.com

“We work with retail start-ups including LVLY, July Luggage, JSHealth and Zero Co and for B2C businesses like these, working with influencers can be an incredibly powerful customer acquisition channel. We’re moving to a world where consumers will only buy brands, products and services from people or companies they trust. No trust, No buy. For younger consumers in particular (and remember the spending power of Gen Z is on the increase) the people they trust are creators with whom they feel an affinity.

“This means content creators are becoming increasingly important for brands as the brand-consumer dynamic continues to shift away from more traditional forms of digital advertising towards referral-based partnerships. However, regardless of which social media marketing channel is chosen, to be truly effective it’s imperative to have the right technology in place to understand what content is resonating with your audience.

“You need to be able to quickly and easily find out what’s driving awareness, engagement and ultimately, revenue in order to make the necessary adjustments to strategy and effectively trial and test new channels. Without this, you’re flying blind and leaving money on the table.”

Anna D’Souza, Marketing Manager, Marketing Eye

Anna D’Souza
Anna D’Souza, Marketing Manager, Marketing Eye

“In recent years, TikTok has emerged as one of the most effective social media marketing channels for businesses. With over a billion active users worldwide, the platform has become a powerful tool for brands to reach a massive audience and drive engagement. It is especially popular among younger users, with a large portion of its user base under the age of 30. This presents a unique opportunity for brands to connect with a younger, more diverse demographic and build long-term relationships with a new generation of consumers.

“One of the key reasons why TikTok is so effective is due to its algorithm. Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok’s algorithm is designed to show users content that is most relevant to their interests. This means that businesses can target their ads to a specific audience and increase the chances of their content being seen by people who are most likely to engage with it.

“TikTok’s content format is also particularly well-suited for marketing. The platform’s short-form videos encourage creativity and allow businesses to showcase their products or services in a visually appealing way. Brands can leverage popular trends, hashtags, and challenges to create content that resonates with their target audience and encourages user-generated content. TikTok has now become a must-have marketing channel for businesses looking to reach a wider audience and drive engagement in the digital age.”

Daniel Stoten, Executive Chairman, Localsearch

Daniel Stoten
Daniel Stoten, Executive Chairman, Localsearch

“At Localsearch we practise what we preach, so rather than relying on one channel we look at our social media strategy as a holistic piece. When it comes down to it, while some platforms are more effective than others, they all work for their own specific purpose. It all comes down to understanding the different audiences you want to reach, knowing where they spend their time online and then creating content that will be engaging for them.

“For instance, Linkedin is a prime place to showcase your company culture and attract new talent – if you’re doing it well then you’ll have people coming to you and asking for work, not the other way around. Now if you’re talking about reaching your customer target audience, Twitter, TikTok and other variations are great and can certainly be successful – especially TikTok – but can be time consuming as they’re very trend-based and timely.

“This is all organically speaking. From the paid side, you can’t go wrong with Meta’s ad suite through Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. Being successful on these, again, comes down to knowing your audience and adapting to them.”

Kieron Wogan, CMO, Carbar

Kieron Wogan
Kieron Wogan, CMO, Carbar

“Facebook and Instagram are our bread and butter in terms of driving awareness and generating leads. We’ve been on these platforms for a long time now and have fine-tuned our approach to drive down cost-per-clicks (CPC) and generate sign-ups.

“The key with Meta channels is to constantly test and learn. When you find creative that generates traction it’s important to extract as much value from it as possible by up-weighting media spend, running the creative for a longer period and iterating on it.

“We also ensure content is fit-for-channel (and always optimised for mobile viewing), adapting creative and formats as needed so they’re optimised for each placement whether running as video or static, in-feed or as Stories.

“Of course, content also differs across platforms. With LinkedIn, for example, we see more success with long-form content, including sharing of articles and thought leadership pieces through start-up partners, that allow us to expand our reach to their audiences.”

Nick Hudson, Founder and CEO, The Push-Up Challenge

Nick Hudson
Nick Hudson, Founder and CEO, The Push-Up Challenge

“Facebook is our most effective social media marketing channel in terms of advertising. While there’s a lot of talk about the future and longevity of the platform, it is highly versatile and its advertising offerings are solid. Competition from Snapchat and TikTok is increasingly strong though – we’re pivoting to other channels more and more to make sure we’re talking to our audiences in the places they spend their time.

“Instagram is proving to be our best all rounder. It delivers in the promotional space, but we see some of our content’s strongest reach and engagement in this space, and it’s also our go-to channel for sourcing and resharing user generated content. The channel really allows content to shine and is a great opportunity for our brand to engage directly with participant content.”

Alice Williams, Founder, Ovira

Alice Williams
Alice Williams, Founder, Ovira

“With our rapid success in just one year organically growing from zero to six million followers, TikTok is undoubtedly Ovira’s most effective marketing channel. Averaging 1 billion views a month, TikTok’s virality and popularity has provided us with brand visibility at scale. Through our different TikTok accounts presenting a diversity of content, we are able to target different audiences and build support from a range of engaged communities. As multi-screening is becoming a thing of the past, the deeply immersive experience TikTok provides means that users are giving us their full attention. With this in mind, continually posting fresh content whilst directly engaging with potential customers in the comments section post-production has been key for Ovira’s success. Harnessing the power of this space by connecting, inspiring and collaborating with community members has led to the formation of heartfelt relationships.”

David Dahdah, Branding and Content Creator, Big Smoke Media Group

David Dahdah
David Dahdah, Branding and Content Creator, Big Smoke Media Group

“There are many benefits of using social media for business, depending on the industry and the specific goals of the company. For example, a retail company may benefit from using visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to showcase its products and interact with customers. A B2B tech company may benefit more from using LinkedIn to network with other industry professionals and share content related to their services and expertise.

“In 2023, it is likely that social media will continue to evolve and play a crucial role in business. New features and tools have emerged, making it even more important for businesses to have a strong presence on social media. Additionally, the use of artificial intelligence and automation in social media marketing is expected to increase due to the recent boom, allowing businesses to better target and engage with their audience.

“Overall the benefits of using social media for business are varied and can be tailored to the specific needs of the company. Harnessing it effectively can offer improved customer service, increased brand awareness and engagement, and staying up-to-date on industry trends.”

Sally Prosser, Voice and Public Speaking Coach, Sally Prosser Voice

Sally Prosser
Sally Prosser, Voice and Public Speaking Coach, Sally Prosser Voice

“TikTok all the way! I was fortunate enough to jump on the bandwagon in 2019 when it was still ‘a dance app’ which meant I could grow my audience quite quickly. After my first viral video I went from 45 followers to more than 10,000 in a week – it was wild! The video was about three tips to sound confident, competent and credible – and I filmed it in one take.

“Since then my audience has grown to more than 300 thousand and several videos have gone viral, sending a lot of traffic into my world. The great thing about TikTok is the content doesn’t need to be related to your niche to drive sales. Eg I’m a voice and speaking coach and a makeup haul video I did went viral and brought in two high ticket sales because they liked the sound of my voiceover!

“Clients usually enquire through Instagram, LinkedIn or through the website, yet many report seeing me first on TikTok. It’s an app where people unwind and have fun, which means their association with your service is positive from the get-go.”

John Miller, Marketing Manager, Plus Fitness

John Miller
John Miller, Marketing Manager, Plus Fitness

“Plus Fitness implemented a comprehensive marketing strategy to boost our recent national rebrand. It was important to apply a digital focused campaign that lands with our audience. We needed to utilize the right channels, targeting and creative that resonates with consumers. We focused on the narrative of Plus Fitness transforming into our brand-new club fit-out and branding that has revolutionized our clubs into a relatable gym brand with a clear direction.

“We’ve had great success with TikTok on this, receiving 1.8m+ impressions and a reach of 700k+ within 3 weeks. By running a strong offer over the current Jan-Feb period and investing into digital marketing to simultaneously launch our rebrand, the results have been pleasing.

“Likewise, Meta has been successful in this campaign, with our CPM well below industry average and a strong engagement over 30% for Facebook and Instagram. We received 2m+ impressions with a reach of 554k+ within 3 weeks.

“Our tips include producing content that is evergreen, high quality, and using trending sounds and fast transitions. It’s worthwhile to let the algorithm run its course for a few weeks and favour spend towards the content that is receiving the most engagement, before pushing it towards specific posts.”

Anthony Caruana, CEO and Co-founder, Media-Wize

Anthony Caruana
Anthony Caruana, CEO and Co-founder, Media-Wize

“For our business, LinkedIn is the king. Twitter is too noisy and, frankly, with all the changes going on there we’re seeing the engagement decrease. But LinkedIn engagement is increasing, not just in volume, but with regards to who is engaging and the quality of the conversations.

“This works for us. But the important thing to consider is that different platforms will work best for different businesses. I have a friend who is an illustrator so Instagram makes better sense for her. For my friends in journalism, Twitter remains useful.

“My advice is to claim your handles on all the platforms but focus your posting efforts on the platforms where you will meet your intended audience. Invest in a tool that enables you to prepare and schedule posts so you can engage with people at different times. Follow people to build your network. Track your metrics to see what types of posts gain the most engagement and hone your social content strategy so you get the best bang for buck.”

Ben Rutherford, Head of Marketing, Apricity Invoice Finance

Ben Rutherford
Ben Rutherford, Head of Marketing, Apricity Invoice Finance

“Our most effective social media marketing channel is LinkedIn. Through its vast and interconnecting networks, Apricity Invoice Finance is able to reach many people through strategic social media marketing campaigns. Our tip would be to use LinkedIn’s Analytics tools – specifically the content tool. Here you can keep on top of your engagement and impression rates, and understand what is and what isn’t working for your audience. For example, does your audience prefer photos over videos, or blog posts over news articles. Overall, this helps to create an effective social media marketing strategy that effectively engages your target market.

“Another tip that we have found useful is putting a face to our employees. We post ‘5 Minutes With’ blogs that introduce our audience to our staff members, as well as posting pictures and videos from events that show our staff. These posts always do very well in terms of engagement and impression rates, which tells us that our audience likes to get to know our staff and see our staff out in the community.”

Hemi Hossain, business strategist and author of ‘Fire Your Boss’

Hemi Hossain
Hemi Hossain, business strategist and author of ‘Fire Your Boss’

“It can be challenging to decide which social media platforms are appropriate for your business when there are so many choices available. Yet, there’s no denying the effectiveness of social media as a marketing tool. If your plan is sound and you know your target customer, the outcomes is quite remarkable. My business’s most effective social media marketing channels are Facebook & LinkedIn. Facebook, one of the most popular social media platforms, has around 3 billion users. Nonetheless, Facebook still has a significant reach as a marketing medium. India, America, and Indonesia have the highest percentages of Facebook users, with 43% of women and 57% of men. This implies that your business has the opportunity to reach through both free and paid advertising. Instagram is anticipated to overtake Facebook as Meta’s top revenue generator. Instagram generated close to $47 billion in revenue in 2021. Who then utilises Instagram? Instagram has a gender split of 50/50 and is popular among people between the ages of 18 and 34, in contrast to many social media sites that lean more towards men. So if you need to reach Gen Z, this is an excellent venue. Twitter is a network to consider for building community and learning more about your clients, with 206 million daily users. Almost 85 million companies are listed on LinkedIn, which has 850 million users across 200 countries. As a social media platform aimed at a professional, career-focused audience, LinkedIn is pretty unique. There are more than 15 social networking platforms available for you to use. All generations have expanded their use of social media. It’s time to make an investment in social media, if you haven’t already.”

Erika Cramer, International Confidence Coach and Speaker, The Queen of Confidence

Erika Cramer
Erika Cramer, International Confidence Coach and Speaker, The Queen of Confidence

“Here are my top two tips to help build your business on any social media platform of your preference.

  • Show up and create content that gives clients value – I make it a point to give my clients results with my free content.  When you do this, you will gain valuable word of mouth as people share your content and tag you on social media.
  • Care about your audience – This is THE most important part of my business growth process.

“I say (and continue to say) “Good Morning!,” every morning.  I take my audience with me throughout my day and I show them the behind-the-scenes of my life as a mother and business owner.  I don’t filter my life; instead, I  let them into the good, the bad, and the awesome!

“When you share your story and humanize social media, you can create raving fans who will not only KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST you, but they will also share your business with their audience. Remember that social media is social – it’s all about building relationships!”

Jodie Baker, Founder and Managing Director, Homepeel

Jodie Baker
Jodie Baker, Founder and Managing Director, Homepeel

“The simple answer is that the most effective social media marketing channel depends on your target market and your product offering. For a consumer product such as Homepeel, with a target demographic of women over 35, Facebook is our primary focus – and the source of the  majority of our sales via social media channels.

“While the rough rule of thumb for target demographics is TikTok 15+, Instagram 25+ and Facebook 30+, the reality of course is more complicated, as people across all age demographics switch across a variety of platforms all the time.

“Therefore, while your choice of social media platform is important, the real key to success is content.

“When it comes to content, we find the most effective to be user generated content (UGC). The great benefit of UGC is that you can be channel agnostic, using it across all your social media platforms.

“Up to this point, UGC has been focused on testimonials and, while there will always be a place for testimonials, consumers are now looking for what is called “situational styling content” – in particular video where the product is seen in action in a real-life situation.”

Debra Shepherd, Communications Specialist, Success Coach and Podcast Host, Director of Liquid Mango Consulting Pty Ltd

Debra Shepherd
Debra Shepherd, Communications Specialist, Success Coach and Podcast Host, Director of Liquid Mango Consulting Pty Ltd

“Business owners must be flexible and have a social media strategy in place. An effective social media marketing channel for one business may not work or be relevant for another. And, what is effective now in a business may not be in the future because businesses grow and evolve, target audiences change, the social media and digital landscape rapidly changes.

“At present, Instagram is a priority for me. It is a powerful social media marketing channel for making new connections, nurturing relationships, sharing your story, and building a personal brand and an engaged community.

“I like the move away from an overly curated Instagram feed or matching grid to an authentic, real approach where connection, conversation and relationships are the priority. Video content is exceptional for creating and deepening connections. You can integrate video content into your strategy in many different ways depending on your community and the nature of your business.

“Your community wants to get to know you. Focus on creating emotional connections by producing meaningful content. It all comes back to people and being intentional in how you use social media.”

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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