Social Media Marketing: Which Channels Work Best and Why?

Posted on November 26, 2018

Social media marketing can be a terrific way to build recognition with your current or potential customers and, ultimately, drive sales. This is why, according to Hubspot, 92 percent of marketers are in agreement social media marketing is important to their business.

But which social media platform is best for you? That depends partly on where your audience exists. If you’re targeting Baby Boomers or Generation X, it’s probably best to start with Facebook. If you’re brand appeals more to Millenials or Generation Z, Instagram might be the best place to focus your energy. And age is just one of many factors that should go into the process of figuring out which platform can be the most successful for you.

To better illustrate how the approach to social media marketing can work differently for everyone, we asked marketers with first-hand knowledge to tell us what works for them and why. Here’s what they had to say:

Richard Taylor, Founder at Harrison Blake Apparel 

Richard Taylor founded Harrison Blake Apparel in 2014 selling only lapel pins, hence the brand’s Instagram name: @wearlapelpins. The brand has since expanded to selling neckties, pocket squares, and other similar accessories. Here’s what Richard had to say about which social media platform works best for Harrison Blake Apparel and why:

Instagram has been hands down the best social media marketing channel for our business growth and exposure. At this point, we’ve grown to over 87,000 followers on that platform and it has a direct impact on our bottom line.

There are a few reasons why. The number one differentiation between Instagram other platforms is its popularity. This is where the bulk of people are! The platform allows you to engage quickly and form personal relationships with interested parties and potential customers. One effective tool we’ve used is connecting with influencers and gifting them our products. Once they try our neckties and accessories they share the review with their audience, creating a tsunami-like wave of interest and new followers.

The Instagram platform also allows us as a small company to compete with large brands. The way we do that is being interactive and using the app’s tools — such as surveys, reposting customers photos, and even using the “live” function to give sneak peeks and behind the scenes access to our office and production facility.

Gaining traction as a small business can be challenging, but by taking advantage of Instagram we’ve been able to thrive and reach audiences we could only dream of. Get on there, be real, be social, and connect. Your bottom line will thank you!

Lauren Crain, Digital Marketing at Health Labs 

Lauren Crain serves as the digital marketing content creator at Health Labs, which helps consumers bypass the doctor and still receive access to any lab testing they may be seeking. Lauren’s focus is on using digital platforms to spread marketing campaigns and ultimately drive traffic to Health Labs’ site. Here’s what Lauren had to say about which social media platform works best for Health Labs and why:

Twitter is the most effective social media platform for us because it allows us to communicate directly with our consumers. Our audience is out there on Twitter, shouting their thoughts, questions, and desires. And we make it a point to listen. We provide answers, help, and affirmations. It allows us to educate and inform, to increase brand awareness, to build our brand reputation, and, most importantly, it humanizes us.  It gives our brand not only a voice, but it displays our brand as a person. We truly do care about our customers, and Twitter is the best outlet to not only say that but to show that. 

Brandon Chopp, Digital Manager at iHeartRaves

Brandon Chopp is the Digital Manager at iHeartRaves — an e-commerce brand grossing more than $20 million a year. iHeartRaves specializes in rave and music festival clothing and fashion. According to Brandon, Instagram is the best social media platform for them and here’s why:

As an e-commerce fashion brand, we rely heavily on Instagram which provides our customers with a visual representation of our products. We now have over 420,000 followers on that channel and one of our main strategies has been influencer marketing. We research popular accounts who meet our criteria for selection, and we start a conversation with the influencer. Often times, we will send some of our products to them for free. In exchange, they will provide an honest review for their followers.

Mikaella King, Social Media Manager at Blinds Direct

Launched in 2017, Blinds Direct is a manufacturer of made-to-measure blinds, curtains, and interior furnishings. The social media manager at Blinds Direct — Mikaella King — shared her thoughts with us as to which social media platform works best for them. Here’s what Mikaella had to say:

For us, Instagram is the most effective social channel. This is owed to the fact that we can connect with our audience on a more personal level, building stronger connections and helping to “humanize” our brand. Instagram Stories are a particularly useful tool, as we are able to include specific questions and polls, encouraging our audience to respond to us directly. It goes without saying that Instagram is also a highly visual channel, which makes it more inspirational (and aspirational!) than other social platforms. Our followers enjoy the aesthetics and creativity of our feed, which is evident in the engagement we receive on our images, videos, and stories. They also don’t feel like they’re being “sold to” — something that the modern internet user is quite averse to! Instead, we inspire them. Finally, the direct shopping tags that Instagram has introduced allow us to sell products without breaking the user experience.

Jeff Neal, Content Curator at The Critter Depot

The Critter Depot specializes in selling crickets to reptile and amphibian pet owners. Here’s what the content curator of the business — Jeff Neal — had to about what YouTube is doing for them:

We find that YouTube is becoming our preferred social media tool. We write detailed care guides on popular reptile pets such as bearded dragons, leopard geckos, corn snakes, and more. The problem with our in-depth care guides is the viewers won’t take the time to read through them. So we’re finding that creating explanation videos that discuss the critical steps on how to set up a bearded dragon cage or a leopard gecko habitat is much more engaging.

And because they’re more engaging, they’re providing more value to our visitors and viewers. And one of the best features that YouTube offers is its comments section. Luckily, our the viewers that comment are relatively civil and ask genuine questions. This gives us a chance to address each question individually. And the more questions we can answer, the more activity our channel builds. And an active channel also offers financial benefits in the form of advertisements streaming across your videos. We still use Facebook but ultimately, a lot of our time and effort is being placed into YouTube.

(Note: The views expressed in this article are strictly those of the contributors and independent of Engine.)