Part of our Social Media Best Practice Guide bundle, this report aims to provide a snapshot of the major social media platforms and the most pressing considerations for marketers looking to generate the most value from social media, as well as what to consider when making the business case for social media platforms.

It provides a summary of the main features of these platforms, and outlines some of the options available to marketers when developing a paid, owned and earned strategic approach to social media marketing and communications.

Throughout the report, we bring you examples of how companies are using social media in different ways, as well as insights from companies interviewed specifically for this guide.

For more details on best practice approaches, techniques, challenges and opportunities for creating your social media strategy, read the complementary Social Media Strategy Best Practice Guide.


The methodology involved two main phases:

  • Phase 1: Desk research to identify relevant issues, examples and models.
  • Phase 2: A series of in-depth interviews (20 interviews in total) with a range of senior digital and non-digital marketers, communications leads and social media strategists. Interviewees for the research covered sectors as diverse as aerospace, retail, hospitality, public sector (including government), SaaS, FMCG, non-profit, agency, financial services and media.

Lead author

The lead author for our social media best practice guides is Michelle Goodall, an experienced consultant. She has more than 17 years’ B2C and B2B experience client and agency-side, providing digital transformation and social media strategy advice and support.

She has worked with a wide range of clients, including London2012, BBC, Direct Line Group, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Barclays Bank, Coca Cola, Unilever, US Embassy, and many others.

Michelle is a trainer and consultant for Econsultancy and can generally be found curating things that smart people write / make / do and getting to grips with Peach and other peripheral / transformative / game-changing technologies for her clients.


The author and Econsultancy wish to extend sincere thanks to the following respected professionals who have contributed to the report:

  • Richard Bagnall – CEO, PRIME Research UK & SVP PRIME Research Europe
  • Vikki Chowney – Director of Content & Publishing Strategies, H+K Strategies
  • Sarah Coggins – VP, PR and Social Media, Virgin Atlantic
  • Raluca Efford – Head of Digital and Social Media Marketing, Direct Line Group
  • Marisol Grandon – Head of Creative Content, The Department for International Development (DFID)
  • Katie McDermott – Marketing Director, Gourmet Burger Kitchen
  • Will McInnes – Chief Marketing Officer, Brandwatch
  • Kerry Taylor – Senior Vice President Director of Television, MTV Networks
  • Guy Stephens – Social Customer Care Consultant, IBM
  • Stephen Waddington – Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum
  • Scott Wilkinson – Head of Brand, Acquisitions and Digital, Virgin Media Business

Research from Econsultancy