In the age of social media, it can be hard to keep up. As soon as you get the hang of one platform, it changes; or, newer, better platforms rise up to usurp its throne. In the game of social media, you win, or you fade into oblivion.
Part of being able to execute a successful social strategy is choosing the right platforms for your business. Among all the available options, this may seem daunting. However, if you ask yourself a few key questions, you should be able to quickly determine which platforms make sense for your business.
The first and most important question involves your social media objectives. If you’re unable to state how and why a specific channel will help you reach your goals, you should probably forgo it.
If your goal is to boost brand awareness, choose well-established platforms with a large user base and avoid newer platforms. Well-established platforms are typically easy to use and have the largest audience. As we move toward pay-to-play, it can be hard to reach your target audience organically. Look into available social media advertising options as well, whether your budget is large or small. If your goal is to increase lead generation for your product or service, platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are your best bet.
You should also consider the platforms your target audience is already using. For example, if the bulk of your target is women, ages 45-65, Snapchat is likely not the right platform on which to be spending your time and efforts.
Be aware of your current demographics to make the best decision. Your audience should inform your decision on where to place your efforts and the content you create. The more targeted your approach, the higher your chances are of conversion. If you don’t already have social channels set up, conduct some demographic research to determine what makes the most sense.
Where are your competitors visible online? What is their following and level of engagement like? What kind of content are they sharing? Knowing the current landscape will give you an idea of what you should and should not be sharing. Sprout Social is a resourceful platform with tools for monitoring how you stack up against your competitors on social media.
The kind of content you create depends on your business and goals. If you want to share industry-specific news, company updates or thought-leadership editorials, you want a platform that is B2B friendly, such as LinkedIn. Twitter is also a great platform for industry news and updates, and Medium, Pinterest and Instagram are best suited for B2C businesses that have interesting visual elements. These platforms lend themselves to aspirational visuals and are an excellent place to build your brand’s visual story.
As video content has become more popular, social platforms have adapted to support video content more seamlessly into their feeds. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter tend to have a more universal appeal, while YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope appeal more to younger audiences.
When choosing the channels that are right for your business, it’s important to strike a balance. Utilizing only one platform will likely not be enough; however, spreading yourself too thin will make it difficult for you to make enough of an impact on any one platform.
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