How to choose the right social media platforms for your business

Your website is up and running and you’re ready to venture into the world of social media! But where to start? Your social media marketing should go hand in hand with your content strategy and all your other marketing efforts. By harnessing the right social media platforms, you can distribute your content widely – increasing your brand awareness and, hopefully, your sales too. 

The most popular social media channels at the moment are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn. While it’s possible to have a presence on each of them, it’s better to master one or two at a time.

Focusing your social media efforts will guarantee a better return on your investment.

What to consider

Some of the considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when choosing which social media platform to focus on are:

  • What are your specific social media goals? 
  • Which platforms are your customers using? 
  • Which platforms are you comfortable using, or do your team members have expertise in?
  • Which platforms are your competitors using? If you’re not sure, do a quick competitor review to find out what’s working for them.
  • Which platform is best suited for the type of content you intend to post? If you have a lot of great images, consider using a platform like Instagram or Pinterest. If your content isn’t as visually strong, consider another platform like Twitter or Facebook. 

So how do you know if your efforts are working? Traffic and conversions measure the success of your social media – you’ll need to set realistic social media marketing goals and measure them regularly. You can measure how much web traffic comes from each platform. Is one platform performing better than the other? Double down on that one. 

Know who your audience is

To create meaningful content on social media, it’s essential to Identify your audience – the more specific you are, the easier it will be to narrow your focus.  Here are some guiding questions to help you get started:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What are their specific characteristics? Things like their age, gender, etc.
  • What devices do they use to access your website? (You can get this information quite simply from Google Analytics.)
  • Other than your product/ service, what else are your potential customers’ interested in?

The answers to these questions will help you create a general profile of your customer base. 

Explore the platforms your customers use

Now that you know who you’re targeting, and what you’d like to achieve by using social media, you need to determine which platforms are best suited to your business. Your customers may be on multiple platforms but this doesn’t mean you need to be on all of them as well. 

Rather focus your attention on one or two platforms, and do them well. 
Unless you work on it full time, it’s not possible to be present on all of the available social media platforms without compromising on the quality of your content. Also, remember that there’s a difference between presence and engagement. Engagement means how much your customers interact with the content you’re sharing: the number of page likes, comments and shares. Your customers may be on Facebook, but they may interact more (and be driven to make purchases) via Instagram, for example. 

Social media success relies on testing and iterating. Adjust your posting schedule and content once you see when your customers are most engaged – Google Analytics can help you uncover when your site is the busiest, and you’ll be able to get insights on post-performance from each social media platform.

Remember: if you want to drive sales, make sure your customers land on your product page or sign up page. Make their journey as seamless as possible. 

Understand where your content fits best

Your content goals will not be suitable for every platform. Here’s a quick cheat sheet of what content fits where.

Facebook

  • With over 2.45 billion users, it’s no surprise that Facebook remains at the top of the list of social media platforms. 
  • Facebook is great for developing your brand identity, broadening your reach, creating a community and keeping customers informed of changes.

Twitter

  • Twitter is a popular choice for many businesses and is popular among readers who want to keep up with the world but don’t want to read long-form content.  
  • Twitter uses hashtags (organising content according to a certain word or phrase), making this platform ideal for real-time updates and promoting events.

Pinterest

  • More than 47% of Pinterest users log on specifically to make a purchase.
  • As Pinterest is entirely visual, you’ll need high-quality imagery to get the best results from this platform. 
  • Pinterest is predominantly used by women, so if your business is female-focused, this channel could be an ideal platform for you.

YouTube

  • YouTube is considered the second most popular search engine after Google.
  • 1 billion people visit YouTube each month globally, with 100 hours of video uploaded every 60 seconds. That’s a lot of traffic you can reach.
  • By 2022, online video will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic, so this is a trend to get involved in now. Viewers of your content have the option to share your videos on their social media platforms. They can also comment on your videos, making it a valuable way to connect with your (potential) customers.

LinkedIn

  • LinkedIn is ideal for creating a professional business network community.
  • Having a LinkedIn profile helps build business credibility and is a valuable marketing tool to have at your disposal. 
  • LinkedIn enables you to interact with like-minded professionals and other industry experts. 
  • Due to the unique focus of LinkedIn, this platform is best used for business-to-business (B2B) lead generation, recruiting and networking.

Instagram

  • Like Pinterest, Instagram is dependent on appealing, good-quality imagery. 
  • Instagram promises ‘less noise’ than Facebook and relies on imagery for lead generation (sales). By adding buttons to your posts, or using the ‘swipe up’ feature in your stories, you can easily take your customers from viewing your products to purchasing them.
  • Consider using Instagram for lead generation, creating a community, expanding your reach or affirming your brand identity.

No matter the platform you choose, every small business needs a social media presence of some description. But before you dive into social media, it’s important to understand where your potential customers already are and join them on those platforms. Choose one or two of the best-suited platforms for your business, and focus on doing them well.

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