Choosing the Right Social Media Platform For Your Businessby: Dustin Hawley | Wednesday April 24, 2019
A majority of small business owners often struggle to find time to market their business on social media. And many times, those that do find the time to post on the multitude of social media networks that exist today, do so with little to no tangible results to show for their efforts. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest each offer a unique set of benefits. But it may be disheartening to know that engaging your audience across multiple platforms doesn't necessarily translate to results in all cases.
Being strategic about where you spend your time and resources on social is very important if you want to be successful. So instead of misallocating your time across a bevy of different networks, you should shift your focus to finding the best social media platforms for your business. Platforms that complement the needs of your business—and make the most of the benefits each specific network has to offer. And we are here to help you! We’ve outlined some steps to assist you in your journey, and some insight to help guide your decision on picking the network(s) that will be most effective for your business. Let's get started!
Choosing the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business
There is this unwritten rule or assumption that every business should have a presence on social media. But does that mean you should be on every platform? Not necessarily. There are a number of factors to consider when making the determination of which networks you should utilize for your business. Some social networks will be more effective than others, depending on what your goals are. So first...
Define Your Objective on Social Media
What are your social media marketing goals? There are many pros and cons of social media marketing, so you must define a clear objective in order to achieve your desired results. Are you trying to grow your audience, increase word of mouth, or perhaps simply engage with your existing customers on social media?
Start by performing an audit of your business. Begin with identifying the areas where you currently lack focus in your current marketing endeavors. Is building or growing your audience an area of need? Do you need to increase customer loyalty? Boost traffic to your website? The answers to those questions are imperative to know in order to select the best platform for your efforts - and maximize the benefits of social media marketing for your company.
Ideally, your initial goals on social media shouldn't be tied to the number of fans or followers you want to reach. Instead, focus on which platforms will help you increase engagement with your audience. This is especially true when it comes to influencer marketing.
In today's social landscape, follower counts have become nothing more than a vanity metric. The number of followers someone has is not necessarily indicative of their ability to bring your business success. Nowadays with social media, a large audience doesn’t necessarily convert to tangible results for your business. A highly engaged audience, however, will. So align the objectives of your social media marketing plan with the platform that best suits your goals.
Understand the purpose of each individual platform
Before you run out and start opening an account on every platform, you should understand what each individual platform does. Sure, all social media platforms have certain universal characteristics. But the way users behave on each one can vastly differ; as can the diversity of the audiences that populate them.
So let's say that your target audience is millennials, for example; having a presence on Instagram and Snapchat may seem like the logical decision on where to focus your efforts. And you may very well be right in that assumption. Regardless, it's crucial to understand your audience’s behavior and how they will discover your brand and business on social. Facebook’s mission is to “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” If you are a local business, Facebook is a great platform that allows you to interact with your local community and build awareness around your brand.
According to Pew Research in 2018, Facebook is still the most widely used social platform. Instagram is arguably the fastest growing, and highly visual. YouTube is, well, Youtube; Pinterest is also a visually driven platform, but with a special focus on creative inspiration.
Once you understand the purpose of each social platform, it will allow you to make a more informed decision on which platform will be best for your business goals.
Find Out Which Social Media Platforms Your Customers Use
It's likely your business already has a good idea of who your customers are. You are more than familiar with their demographics; age range, average income, the list goes on. And because we already likely have this information, your first job is to match your product or service to each platform and see how they align.
|...is the social media platform with the youngest base (demographic). It's dominated by photos and videos designed to converse and connect with its audience. Hashtags guide users to trending products or subjects, similar to that of Twitter. Industries like retail, beauty, food or travel, this is likely the platform for you.||...is all about building relationships and growing your networks of friends around similar interests. It has over 2 billion active users of all ages, making it an ideal platform for building a network around your product while developing brand loyalty. Posting fun and informative articles that are linked to your brand can be effective. Facebook is more about nurturing a loyal customer base rather than selling direct - though you can do that effectively as well.||...is known as a platform for breaking news, providing industry insights and sharing valuable resources. The use of hashtags enables you to find out what's trending around your industry, and participate in conversations that are paramount to your brand. Though not known as a direct sales tool, it’s great for brand development and is used primarily by young professionals and celebrities.|
|...has become known as a primary networking hub for professionals. This is the platform has the oldest demographic of all the major platforms at the moment. But it's growing rapidly, becoming more and more popular among young professionals as well. It’s well respected as a site for business networking, consuming media from thought leaders, linking with recruiting professionals, and general job hunting. What once wasn't a platform for direct sales is quickly evolving into a great platform for B2B. It also remains relevant for recommendations as well.||...is currently the biggest social media platform, in terms of volume. The platform favors authenticity of expression, offering viewers ‘face-to-face’ experiences with creators, rather than traditional advertising jargon. If your business is looking to explain, demonstrate, or teach (i.e. explainer videos), this is the platform of choice. You also don’t have to be a professional film-maker to make an impact. You just have to have something to say or show the world.||...is all about visual content. This is a great platform to utilize if your business has a photogenic product or product line. What started out as a scrapbooking site quickly became a burgeoning social platform, and it has a largely female user base. The user profile tends to align with those looking for tips, interesting imagery, ideas, and interesting or quirky product ranges.|
So what's the ideal fit for your business?
Each of the social media channels should be used in a variety of ways. There is no one size fit for all any brand.
At the end of the day, it's all about using the platform that brings the most benefit to your brand. Social media is all about consistency, now more than ever. It also rewards those who deliver the value on an equally consistent basis. But each and every brand, company, and organization is unique. So really, there is no one perfect platform dedicated to your brand. It comes down to figuring that out yourself.
Similar to the likes of website design & development, it comes down to measuring, testing, and analyzing your results to fully determine your ideal platform. Try new things, find out what is working for you on a particular social platform, and abandon what is not. Remaining authentic to your brand and brand voice while providing value to your customers on social media should always remain the top priority. Your brand's social media content and behavior will establish a reputation for your brand. So make sure it's the reputation you want to have, and find your footing in the platform that best suits that directive.
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