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Social media is no longer the “new kid” in town when it comes to digital mediums. Twitter turned 10 this year, and Facebook hit the ripe-old-age of 12.

While much time has passed since these platforms forged ahead in the social media frontier, the medium is constantly evolving. Newer platforms, like Snapchat and Periscope, and features like Facebook Live are now used by  consumers and brands alike to spread their message and share content globally.

With new platforms emerging all the time, brands in particular need a coherent strategy when using social media. But first, let’s examine some of the ways digital marketers can leverage the newest platforms emerging in the space.

Instagram

Launched in 2010, this visual social platform encouraged users to take photos with their smartphones, edit them using a series of in-app filters, and post them to your feed.

Within two months of launching, Instagram had picked up 100 million users — unheard of, at the time. By 2015, the platform had hit 400 million active users. Current day, about 80 million photos are shared daily on Instagram and these photo posts receive 3.5 billion likes each day.

With usage stats like these, it’s no wonder brands have flocked to the platform. Based on research from L2 Inc., more than a third of all brand interactions happen on Instagram. Compared that to Facebook’s paltry market share of 6%.

To leverage the massive user base and high engagement this platform offers, brands should curate high-quality feeds with images that reflect their brand. Try for a mixture of product and relevant lifestyle photos.

Additionally, brands should:

  • Engage: This shouldn’t be a one-way communication. Have conversations with your fans and followers to ensure engagement. The more your followers engage, the more your posts are shown in their feeds (based on the recent algorithm change). So, comment on fans’ photos, respond quickly to comments on your own images, and strike up meaningful, ongoing conversations where possible.
  • Track Efforts: It’s not enough to send images into the abyss of the Internet. Use tracking and analytics tools to measure engagement, see what posts garner the most interactions, and take a deep look at the impact of your efforts on the brand.
  • Host Contests/Giveaways: One way to rev up engagement with your followers is to use Instagram to host a contest or giveaway. In exchange for a new follower or likes, offer free products or other prizes.

Periscope

Launched in 2015, Periscope is a live video broadcasting platform owned by social media giant Twitter.

The nature of live streaming content right to followers makes interactions feel more personal — and that’s a huge advantage for brands. Consumers tend to buy from brands they know and trust, and sending live video their way is a great way to expedite that process.

Brands can use Periscope to highlight products or services, as well as address customer pain points in order to move them down the sales funnel faster. You can also provide behind-the-scenes glimpses to make followers feel like VIPs as they get a peek of what it looks like to run your brand on any given day.

Facebook Live

About one-third of all online activity is spent watching video — further proof that video will almost always win out over static content. And that’s why there’s another live video streaming tool for marketers to use.

As Facebook’s answer to Periscope, the Facebook Live feature offers Facebook users a way to broadcast live video straight to your timeline. Your friends and followers are able to watch along, comment, like, and interact directly on your video from their own timeline.

Just introduced in 2016, Facebook Live allows brands to connect directly with their audience without needing fancy video equipment or high production quality. You can target a specific audience with privacy filters on your video, and you can track how many users are watching live. With more than 1.04 billion daily active users, Facebook offers a massive built-in audience that brands can easily take advantage of.

Brands can answers fan questions live, host seminars or workshops, or offer a glimpse into their daily activities or special events. Whatever the content, Facebook Live is a great tool to communicate with your audience in a quick, efficient way that’s likely to catch their attention.

Snapchat

Snapchat is another visually stimulating social media platform that allows users to send photos and short videos to followers. Users can also personalize their content by embedding emojis, text, and other features directly on their videos and photos.

A relative newcomer to the social scene, Snapchat is the ideal tool to use to reach that coveted millennial market. Based on numbers from the platform, Snapchat reaches almost half (41%) of 18 to 34 year olds in the U.S. each day. And the majority (71%) of its users are younger than 34.

Brands can take advantage of this platform in a number of ways, including:

  • Influencer Marketing: Partner with influencers in your space (i.e. prominent fashion bloggers) to create content for your channel.
  • Channel Takeovers: Hand over the keys to your Snapchat channel to a savvy customer or influencer and allow them to showcase how they use your product or service for followers.
  • Create Exclusive Content: Launch new products or services directly on your Snapchat channel in order to bolster interest in your brand and create buzz amongst your followers.

For more tips on leveraging social media platforms for your brand, register for BrainStation’s part-time Digital Marketing course. Or take an evening or weekend workshop to get an introduction to specific skills and keep up with the wealth of digital tools available for brands.

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