There is no need to explain that social media has become inevitable for our society. Most of us are registered on at least one social network and are active there, almost daily. It is clear that companies should also try to use the large potential of these online communities to share their messages and stay in contact with their customers and stakeholders.

Social media requires planning
The large number of social media platforms makes it difficult for companies to decide which ones are the best choices to reach their target audience. However, the right decision is extremely important. Social media requires a lot of time and effort because it needs to be planned thoroughly. It is better to have only few channels that are well prepared and aligned with the target audience than to perform badly on every social media platform. Less is more in this case. Also, the content which is published has to match with the respective social media site. Aligning the posts with the needs and expectations of clients is crucial for the success of an account. After all, we only share what we are interested in.

Another important issue is the amount of available content, because usually posts have to be prepared on a regular basis. Often, it is easier to create content for consumer products, especially on picture-based media like Instagram or Snapchat. But even in this case, it is important to keep in mind that social media is a long-term project. And make sure that there will be enough material to be able to keep posting new content even after a year.

Is Facebook headed south?
Facebook is being criticized a lot lately. On one hand, fake news spread easily on the platform. On the other hand, our newsfeeds have changed. Facebook is using algorithms to show us exactly what we allegedly want to see. Sometimes we get the feeling that all we ever see are likes from friends that we haven’t met in three years. Still, it is really difficult to find anyone, under the age of 50, who doesn’t have a Facebook account and use it at least once a week. What has changed is the way we use Facebook. More and more people access Facebook over mobile devices and they post less, but share and watch more. Facebook is still an amazing tool to reach a broad public, but it has become more important than ever to create interesting content so it doesn’t disappear in endless timelines.

Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest – the world of images
Especially for consumer products, Instagram and similar platforms are the place to be. Companies can present their new products and share an inside view of their company. The pictures should provide good quality, but are not supposed to look too marketing-like. It is important to create an authentic image of the brand to attach the followers to it. Especially young audiences can be reached via Snapchat. Here, companies can show their audience behind-the-scenes content. Storytelling is key to bind customers to a brand.

Twitter
One of the world’s largest social networks is based on real-time news. The short messages are supposed to inform about recent topics and create an overview. Operating a Twitter account takes a lot of time and effort, because the posts should be prepared on a regular basis and posted while the topic is still up-to-date. However, companies should take care of posting only relevant information for their audience so they don’t get blocked as “spammers”. Twitter is also a great possibility to react to recent topics, state opinions and spread important links.

LinkedIn and XING
The business platforms LinkedIn and the German version XING are used to network with colleagues from other organizations and other employees. Especially XING focuses less on brands, but more on individual people. It is important for employees to connect employees with the company. That way, they can spread news and draw attention to the company.

No matter which social media platforms a company chooses, the content has to be aligned with the needs and expectations of the respective target audience. However, it is equally important to create the posts in a way that fits the medium. Therefore, companies need to inform themselves about the customs of the social platform. Creating random accounts and posting without a real plan should be avoided. But a good and thought through social media plan with posts that are aligned with the target group can lead to great brand awareness and loyalty.

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