With so many social media platforms today, it can be difficult to decide where your company should invest majority of their time. Your business cannot ignore social media any longer. So which one do you choose? Do you jump in to every social network or do you select just one, like Facebook? Unfortunately, there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach for your social media. Every business will have a different answer depending on their industry and audience. It is important to understand the significance of selecting the right social platform for your business in order to have a successful campaign.
Here are some things your business should consider to choose the right platform.
First, ask yourself these questions:
- What are the goals and desired outcome of this social media channel?
- What are the demographics?
- Where does your market/industry have a social presence?
- What is the right tone for this channel? Fun vs. professional?
- What is the intended action of your audience on this channel? Do you want them to visit your website? Share posts? Like and comment on posts?
- What is the specific type of content the audience wants to get in this channel? Visuals? Videos? Text?
- How often will you publish on this channel? Will you be consistent?
Where Are your Customers?
Not every social media platform is the right choice for your brand. More importantly, just because the network exists and is popular, doesn’t mean your business should invest the time and energy. You should follow your customers. Select the social networks where the majority of your customers are most active. Your company should find the dominant channels within your market and niche.
Another thing to consider is researching what platforms your competitors are actively using. If your customers are not having conversations on the platform, you should consider going elsewhere. How can you have a conversation with your audience if they aren’t present? Social media is a two-way channel.
Do you have the staff, expertise, time and budget for social media? Your business needs to decide if your budget will allow for more than one social platform. Social media is free to a certain extent. Businesses still need to pay for social media marketing strategies. Planning, creating, and resources all cost money.
You also need to decide if you have the staff that is knowledgeable and experienced with social media. If you do not, then you should consider outsourcing. However, outsourcing can be somewhat expensive. Your business could consider training your staff in managing social media, which could be a cheaper option. Social media requires a strategy, which can take some time to cultivate. More importantly, it is about the quality of content and less about quantity.
Research & Data
Before your business selects a social network, you should complete research about your audience. One way to do this is through personas. Personas are fictional people your brand creates to help represent different aspects of your business. They are great for using when creating goals and solving problems. Buffer has a wonderful blog post on how to create personas.
You also should decide on objectives and set goals with your social channels. You should understand the kind of behaviors your audience posses because this will help with the content your business creates on social media. Social media isn’t something that you should just “wing it.” It must be a planned strategy.
Social Media Statistics
Facebook is the largest social network with over 1.3 billion active users. 71% of US Internet users are on Facebook. 16 Million local business pages have been created as of May 2013. 70% of marketers used Facebook to gain new customers.
Twitter has over 288 million active users. 85% of Twitter users feel more connected to small businesses after they begin following them. 47% of people who follow a brand on Twitter are more likely to visit that company’s website.
LinkedIn has over 332 million users with 107 million of those users in the United States. There are 4 million business pages on LinkedIn. LinkedIn sends nearly four times more people to your homepage than Twitter and Facebook. It has been found that if you post a least 20 times per month you will increase your chances of reaching 60% of your target audience.
Google+ has over 320 million active monthly users. 40% of marketers use Google+. 70% of brands have a presence on the network.
For those just starting out, it is better to excel in one platform before attempting to handle multiple social platforms. The performance of those platforms could suffer and end up hurting your business. The goal of social media is to enhance your brand awareness by communicating and engaging with your customers.