Social media has become an essential part of any successful marketing strategy, but it can be overwhelming to choose the right platform for your business. Brands and businesses of varying sizes make the mistake of attempting to be active on all popular social media networks. In theory, being on every platform means you have the potential to reach more possible customers. However, this leads to poorly used budgets, lackluster content, and a low return on investment.
Instead of spreading your content and your marketing budget too thin, identify which social media platforms are right for your strategy. So here are some steps to follow in order to find the right social media platforms for your marketing strategy:
- Know your audience and understand your industry:
Some social media channels work better for certain industries than others. For example, visual platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat are ideal for industries such as hairdressing, culinary businesses, and the arts. On the other hand, professional platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn are perfect for companies looking to make connections and share information. Start by understanding who your target audience is and where they spend their time online. Demographics such as age, gender, location, interests, and behaviors can help you determine which social media platforms to focus on.
You can also take a look at the social media platforms your competitors use. This will help you get an understanding of which channels your brand should consider using. However, when analyzing your competition’s social media strategy, also pinpoint which channels they are not using. This could lead to a potential opportunity for your brand to occupy an unused position in the social media market for your industry.
- Set your goals:
You won’t be able to narrow down your social platform choices without understanding why you are interested in using social media.
Social media can be used to accomplish a multitude of marketing objectives. Brands use social media marketing strategies and their respective networks to: increase qualified leads and sales, engage with their target audience, distribute branded content, build a community of loyal brand followers and promote product discounts/offers.
In other words, your goals will help you decide which social media platform is best suited for your business.
- Research social media platforms:
Each platform has its unique features, advantages, and disadvantages, so it’s important to understand their strengths and weaknesses to determine if they align with your business goals. To better understand how these platforms work, let’s see their proper categories:
- Image-Based Platforms: Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr
- “Kitchen Sink” Platforms: Facebook, Twitter
- Video Networks: Vimeo, YouTube
- Professional, Business-Focused Networks: LinkedIn
- SEO and Authorship Platforms: Google+
- Location-Based Networks: Foursquare, Yelp
- Niche Networks: Reddit
Think about the content you plan to create and distribute and use this information to help choose the appropriate social media platform for your strategy.
- Analyze your resources:
Instead of trying to do it all on social media, draft a social media marketing plan you can commit to. When you aim too high and create content for a multitude of social media channels, chaos can happen. This often leads to a business abandoning their social media pages.
Consider the resources you have available to devote to social media marketing, including your budget, time, and team. Some social media platforms may require more resources than others, so make sure you have the capacity to manage the platforms effectively. It’s perfectly fine to select one or two channels and only focus on those networks. If these platforms allow you to craft quality content, respond to customer inquiries in a timely fashion.
- Test and iterate:
Once you’ve identified the social media platforms that best align with your business goals, start with a small test and iterate over time. Analyze the results and adjust your strategy as necessary.