Why read this? : Following up on a previous article about social media channels, we pick off another 4 to look at. We review what You Tube, Pinterest, Reddit and Tumblr can do for your brand. Learn the key ways to use each channel and how it helps you interact with and delight customers. Read this for more ideas on how to grow your brand via social.
It’s important to keep promises, right? Even if it’s been a while since you made that promise.
We talked about how you can use these social media channels to grow your brand. But, more importantly what these channels mean for your customers.
And by the end of that article, we have to admit we’d run out of “social” energy. So, we promised to come back at a later date to do the same with other social media channels like YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit and Tumblr. That was back in May, 2020.
Today is finally that later date.
What’s 8 months between social media friends anyway?
The 6 reasons consumers go online
That original article started with the TNS digital life study. This study showed people go online for one or more of these 6 reasons :-
- social connection.
- communicate with others.
- shop online.
- do something productive.
Social media’s obvious good for social connections. But, social media channels also meet some of these other needs.
Our basic argument was the more ways you can use social media channels to meet these customer needs, the more you’ll be able to grow your brand.
Better or different than other social media channels
Each of those Big 4 social media channels from our original article has its own distinct positioning in the market. That positioning delivers a better or different experience than other social media channels.
Facebook has the biggest reach. It’s where you connect with friends and family. For brands, it’s a great place to share posts that inform or entertain.
Twitter is great for topical and the most random of content.
And LinkedIn? Well, it’s good for business-to-business (B2B) activity. Even if it’s like the reliable but boring uncle of the social media family. (we once heard LinkedIn memorably described as like the sort of place where people hold in their farts. Now, can’t think of it any other way)
Of course, there are downsides to each of these social media channels too.
The over-saturation and lack of quality control over the advertising and more importantly the political messaging on Facebook.
Then, there’s the shallowness of much of Instagram’s content.
The random chaos and trolling of Twitter.
And of course, the fart-holding stuffiness and lack of personality that runs through LinkedIn.
But these platforms aren’t the only social media party in town. So, as promised, let’s check out some other options in the world of social media channels.
So, not what Scottish people say to each other when they’re being idiots, but the world’s biggest video sharing platform obviously.
YouTube claims to have over 2 billion users worldwide. That’s a pretty big online party to join.
You generally see 2 types of You Tube user.
First, there’s the passive observers. These are the ones who only really watch other people’s videos. The voyeurs. And let’s face it, that’s most people.
Then there’s the active contributors. They’re the one’s who post content for others to look at. The exhibitionists. There’s far fewer of them.
Most of your target audience on You Tube will be the passive observers. So, you have to think about what the passive viewing experience is going to be.
As per our video content guide, video has a lot of benefits for marketing and e-Commerce.
Drive awareness and consideration with video
Video content grabs your attention. Our brains respond differently to movement and sound, than they do to static images and words.
Video can help build trust and drive awareness of your brand. Use it to demonstrate your product or service, and show there are “real” people behind the brand.
Create video content to meet customer’s information or entertainment needs. That content helps them feel more engaged with your brand.
The more engaged customers feel, the more likely they’ll consider and try your brand.
If your brand covers topics people don’t know a lot about, or don’t use very often, You Tube videos can be a great way to show people “how to” do that topic.
You can learn “how to” do pretty much anything on You Tube. From baking cakes, to car mechanics to writing blog posts. (!) In fact, pick any topic, search on “how” to do it, and the chances are you’ll end up watching a You Tube video.
In terms of meeting the need for social connection, then yes, it’s there though the comments section.
But, while some comments do end up turning into conversations between the viewers, most seem to be conversations between the creator and viewers.
At its best, it’s the technical easiness of using the site, and sharing video content that makes You Tube work so well.
We remember the days when video content was technically challenging. Incompatible file formats and the dreaded “buffering” while your video loaded. You Tube has taken much of that pain away. And that’s a big plus for it as a media channel.
It’s also interesting when you meet the commercial folks at Google (who own YouTube). They’re usually much more keen to talk about You Tube than search.
Unsurprisingly, that’s because they make more money selling You Tube advertising space, than they do from paid search.
From a marketing and e-Commerce point of view, You Tube opens up lots of digital marketing opportunities. It’s a way to both reach and engage customers, as long as you make video content that’s informative, entertaining, or both.
So much content
That said, it’s awash with content. So much so, that sometimes it can feel overwhelming.
If it were an actual “party” in real life, You Tube would be a warehouse rave where the organisers have just let too many people in. It’s a very noisy place. And, so it can be hard to find your own space, or stand out from the crowd.
At Three-Brains, we use it to publish video content that appears on our site. For example, when we wanted to show the link between design principles and the use of repetition.
And, we use it to create and run our own advertising, like this execution from last year.
Pinterest claims to have 322 million monthly users worldwide, so it’s clearly popular. That’s a lot of people you can put your brand in front of. Though, it’s only just over 10% of the 2.7 billion regular users that Facebook has.
And yet, despite all the users, you have to say, it’s not one of those social media channels you hear a lot of “buzz” about.
When did you last hear anyone talking about Pinterest?
It has this air of unfashionableness and un-coolness about it. Ironic really, given there’s so much fashion– and cool-stuff-related content on it.
And yet saying that, we’re on it. Unfashionable and uncollected as we are. And, we do actually get some use out of it.
Great for research, inspiration and infographics
At its best, it’s a great channel for research and inspiration. You can pin content you see on websites to a board on your page, so you gain a collection of inspiring content around particular topics. So, we have pin boards on topics like advertising and writing, for example.
In particular, it seems to be the best place to find infographics. We see all sort of infographics popping up on all sorts of topics.
In terms of the online needs it meets, it certainly has a good amount of information. And depending on your interests, you could also call it quite entertaining.
If your business has a lot of content that’s visual (but not video), it’s a helpful channel to share that content. And it’s really, that sharing of content that makes Pinterest interesting from a marketing point of view.
They make it easy to “pin” things when you are on websites. And, to collate and share things with friends and colleagues.
The flaws of Pinterest
And yet, saying that, it’s also got its flaws, as social media channels go.
The first of which is that the one to one social interaction you get on other channels like Facebook and Instagram is less obvious and so, less common. There’s a comment button on pins, but you’d struggle to find many people who use it.
Next, there’s also just so much content, it can be overwhelming. Even, when you do use the boards to organise the work.
It’s a cluttered space with so many contributors. It’s like going into an art gallery and finding anyone and everyone has stuck their art on every available surface.
Sure, there’s good art in there. But, you need to sift through some really trashy stuff to find it.
And then, lastly, there’s the overall usability of the site. Particularly from a business point of view, it’s quite clunky to access the business account section. You can’t seem to do it directly. You need to access it through someone’s linked personal page.
And if you haven’t accessed it for a few weeks, it seems to be quite snooty about letting you back in. At least that was our experience, as we were preparing for this article. We ended up having to reset both our personal and business passwords, after a moment of horror where it looked like our account had disappeared. (it hadn’t)
It kind of felt like some virtual bouncer on the door of the site being a dick, because we hadn’t visited recently.
Pinterest likes to communicate with YOU
Plus, we have to say, Pinterest seems to like communicating with YOU. So many emails, updates, many of which seem quite random. Topics we’ve never even looked at before.
Overall, Pinterest has its uses. It’s got mass appeal for anyone interested in specific subjects, particularly if they’re visual, like designs and infographics. If you’re prepared to dig around, you can find some great content.
For us though, Pinterest seems to work better as a “media” tool, than as a “social media” tool. If you go back to how we define social in our guide to digital media channels, it’s a two way conversation. And Pinterest feels a bit more like reading the minutes of your hobby group or club.
Interesting. But really, a bit dry sometimes, and quite one way.
In contrast to Pinterest, Reddit is much more of a two way conversation opportunity.
Although, you may not always like the responses you get when you decide to start a conversation there.
Reddit’s position is it’s the “front page of the Internet”, which implies it’s read more often than any other site.
There are over a million topics on the site, though only around 140,000 topics are considered as active subreddits. If you can’t find a topic on Reddit, it’s probably not work talking about.
The main upside of Reddit is the moderation, voting and karma system they have. This helps control the quality and tone of what people say and how they interact with each other.
In simple terms, people who “shit-post” or are otherwise arseholes, don’t do well on Reddit.
Whereas people who are helpful, informative or entertaining tend to thrive on Reddit.
Be helpful, informative or entertaining
And in fact, that’s the lesson that brands should take from Reddit. The more helpful, informative or entertaining you are, the more you’ll thrive.
On Reddit, you feel like you’re part of a bigger community. There’s at least some basic rules of decent behaviour. As opposed to some other social media channels, where you’re in some sort of chaotic bedlam.
While not overwhelmed with advertising, there’s a noticeable amount, like on other social media channels.
But because the content is usually good quality, as a user you’re more prepared to put up with it. It feels less intrusive than say Facebook, where the advertising often overwhelms the actual content.
Now, to be fair, saying that, we can’t think of a single product we’ve bought as a result of an advert on Reddit. Yes, monday.com, we won’t be buying you despite your constant ads on Reddit.
But, there are certainly author and book recommendations we’ve followed up on because of Reddit threads. And links to other helpful threads and social media channels, when there are specific problems we’ve needed to solve. Like this one where Facebook changed how to edit the about section on your business page.
A "human" place online
On the whole, Reddit is a surprisingly “human” place online.
You can connect with random people who share the same interest, without the same feeling you have on Twitter, that at any moment, they may turn out to be a raving vengeful lunatic.
For brands, it’s a place where if you have an actual “human” way of working, you can project that into what you do and say there.
But, beware. Because, if this “human” approach isn’t genuine, or is manufactured in some agency creative meeting, you can easily run into trouble. Because, the people on Reddit are very good at spotting fakes, scammers and bullshitters.
And let’s be honest, marketing has more than their fair share of those.
Which brings us tumbling into the last of the social media channels we wanted to cover this week, and that’s Tumblr. Tumblr positions itself as a micro-blogging and social networking site and claims to host over 475 million blogs.
It was previously owned by Yahoo, but was bought by Automattic last year, the company who run WordPress.
Some nice blogging overlaps there.
Quirky and awkward, not a bad thing
From a user point of view, Tumblr is place where you can follow topics and interests like on most other social media channels.
But, the way these are covered has a much quirkier and if we’re honest awkward vibe. Not necessarily in a bad way, but noticeably different in tone and content from other social media channels.
There’s plenty of art, illustration and short-form gif-based video content. Lots of fairly political and thoughtfully written content on culture, social issues and the crazy world we live in.
But also, lots of cats, lots of anime and a ton of video game content. And though, they’ve actually looked to remove the more “adult” content, there’s still some questionable content floating around the edges.
From a brand point of view, Tumblr feels a little bit like the wildcard in your set of social media channels playing cards.
You don’t really know what you are going to find there, and whether it will be good or bad. The only thing you can guarantee though is it will be different. And, actually sometimes in marketing and e-Commerce, different is what you need.
Conclusion - social media channels
Well, like most people’s experience on social media, there’s only so much of it we can take in one go. And we think these 4 social media channels are plenty to cover off in one article.
Of course, there are others like Snapchat and Tik Tok, that we might come back in look at in the future.