How To Work Out Which Social Media Platforms To Prioritise In Your Business
May 17, 2017
Guest post by: James Cummings
Businesses are now using multiple social media platforms to market to and communicate with their customers. In this article, we will look at the various characteristics of some of the main social media platforms to help you to prioritise which to use in your business. A killer website these days needs a killer social media marketing strategy.
Projections show that there will be more than 2.67 billion registered social media users spread across various networks by 2018. Facebook is the most famous social network and currently has around 1.97 users every month. The choice of social media platform for private use depends on the taste and preference, but for business depends on applicability and market dynamics. It is often hard for a business to select the most suitable social network because they are many.
The following are crucial factors to consider when selecting social networks for your business.
1. Understand your target audience
Which channels do your potential clients use most? If you target the younger generation, consider using platforms that support videos such as Snapchat and Instagram. Adopting Snapchat when you have a target audience of women who are more than 55 years old will likely be a total miss. It would also be unwise to use Pinterest when your target market is older men because research shows they just don’t tend to be on there that much.
You have to understand the social media demographics and user profiles.
2. Type of Content you want to share
Content comes in different formats which in turn determines the choice of the sharing platform. Here is a brief rundown on some of the social channels and the content they host. If you think of them a bit like different TV channels with different audiences that can help.
SlideShare and LinkedIn are professional platforms which suit B2B audiences. You can use these platforms to share white papers, company news and niche and industry dynamics.
Instagram and Snapchat are suitable for short videos and when the target audience comprises of the young generation.
YouTube is famous for long videos and has more than a billion users.
Image-based content is most applicable to channels such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr. Instagram is specifically suitable for creating visual brand stories while Pinterest is known for creating engagement. Tumblr appeals mostly to the younger generation.
LinkedIn and Medium are suitable for editorial content. You can share your content with over 300 million users on LinkedIn and establish your authority in the industry. Medium is popular among graduates, with more than 95% of the subscribers college graduates.
You can use Facebook and Instagram to share videos and images which require captions.
Snapchat hosts short videos that disappear after 24 hours.
3. Competitor’s social media strategy
By studying competitor behaviour on social media you can get some real and actionable insights. This approach is fit for new entrants to the industry as well as established brands who want to benefit from more social media interaction. Your competitor areas of interest will be the type of content they post, reactions that such posts generate and user engagement levels in different channels. It is also worth noting the posting frequency across social media. By monitoring the number of social shares of different types of content in different channels you can determine which content format appeals in your market. You can use various social listening tools to evaluate social interactions and come up with winning strategies that eliminate the guesswork.
4. Evaluate your management capability
The market has numerous social networks, but this does not mean that your business should have an account on every platform. Most reputable brands have two or more social channels to reach out to a large customer base. Determining the exact number of accounts to open is tricky because few can limit your outreach while too many might dilute the impact you have the resources to make.
Crafting and posting content is time-consuming, which might compromise your core business processes. Some companies opt to outsource social media management to marketing agencies.
Some tools, such as Buffer and Hootsuite, are also very effective in scheduling posts across various networks. You can automatically post the same message across channels including Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Social tools will also analyze the level of engagement you are achieving, which is crucial when making budget decisions. You can use many social platforms through automation and appeal to different demographic profiles. It is, however, important to check the format of the content to ensure that it is compatible with the chosen channel.
5. Understand your social media objectives
Some businesses use social media to promote their products and services, while others are more focused on customer service in their social channels. Each channel that you adopt should help you reach specific goals. Facebook and Twitter are very effective for promoting brand awareness due to their large number of subscribers. Sponsored ads are very effective for promoting offerings on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If you are aiming to generate leads, niche groups on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn can be highly effective.
You can chat and respond to customer’s queries through social messaging tools on Facebook Messenger, and Twitter’s and Instagram’s direct messages. This can be great for product guidance, customer service, and long sales lifecycles.
6. Evaluate Webhost capability
This is not really about your social media platform, but it is absolutely crucial so deserves a mention. The last thing you want is to have a successful social media campaign, to get a traffic spike, and your website to fall over under the weight of the traffic. Using a fast and reliable host with servers in your target market’s geolocation, such as OpenHost Hosting in Australasia, FastHosts in the UK, or HostGator in the US, will ensure your site is able to handle traffic from both social media and search engines comfortably. Make sure the web hosting package you choose is scalable as your reach grows, and do not be tempted by shared hosting if you have serious business ambitions.
7. Understand industries and the different social platforms
Some platforms like Instagram and Snapchat suit the entertainment and fashion industries best. LinkedIn is considered to be formal and works well for professions such as medical care, law, marketing and accounting. YouTube and Instagram videos are very effective in sectors which require detailed imagery, story telling, guides and visual marketing.
Your social channels should help you achieve your goals and pass the intended message across in an impactful way.