Part of our Social Media Best Practice Guide bundle, we have updated and refreshed this report for 2018 to reflect on the latest trends and 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.

The report provides a summary of the main features of social media 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 with a range of senior digital and non-digital marketers, communications leads and social media strategists.

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:

  • Kerry Taylor – EVP, MTV International & Chief Marketing Officer, Viacom UK at Viacom
  • Mark Frankel – Social Media Editor, BBC News
  • Will McInnes – Chief Marketing Officer, Brandwatch
  • Stephen Waddington – Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum
  • Georgina Forster – Managing Director, Mirum, San Diego
  • Helen Wood – Planning Director, H&K Strategies
  • Sophie Mindell and Micaela Maciel – Content & Publishing Strategists, H&K Strategies
  • Alison Traboulsi – Social Media Editor, Direct Line Group
  • Matt Owen – Founder, Atomise Marketing
  • Rafi Nizam, VP Creative, NBC Universal International
  • Jeff Semones, Managing Partner, Head of Social Media, MediaCom