With so many social media channels now available, deciding which ones will benefit your business the most can be tricky. Can you really reach customers on Facebook? And what’s all this hashtag talk about? The good news is, your business doesn’t have to be on every social media platform. For most businesses, the best approach is to handpick social media channels that make the most sense for the brand. Your decision should be based on several different factors including your target audience, industry and social media marketing strategy.
We’re going to guide your through choosing the right social media channels for your business.
But First, a Business Infographic of Social Media Channels
For this infographic, we chose what we feel are the top performing social channels as of October 2016. Not all social media platforms are represented in this diagram. Feel free to share but do not alter the infographic in any way.
The first thing you should ask yourself is what social networks does your audience use? Define your target audience, and match it against these social media demographics. For example, if you’re primarily targeting women ages 18-40 who like to shop online, Pinterest might be the way to go. In addition to these statistics, you should also do a manual review of the social networks where you’re interested. Look at the content being published, and if it’s related to your industry, that’s a seal of approval.
Not every social media channel will work well for your industry. For instance, visually driven industries like fashion, cosmetology and dining gravitate toward channels like Instagram and Pinterest. These channels rely more on visuals than text, so they’re a great fit. On the other hand, software companies see a lot of success with Twitter because they are able to deliver content and pull new users onto their site.
The quickest way to determine which social channels work for your industry is to look at your competitors’ social media presence. Look for these key factors with each social media profile they have:
- Are they actively posting?
- Are customers engaging with them?
Already using a couple of social platforms?
Sometimes the answer to which social media channel you should use is right in front of you. If you’re in a position where you’ve been giving multiple social networks a try, but want to focus on just a few, this tip is for you. Look at how many visits your site currently gets from social media. You can find this in
Google Analytics under Acquisition & Social & Network Referrals. If you’re already getting traffic from a social network, start focusing your efforts there. Look at your social media analytics (like Facebook Insights) to find your best performing posts, then create a strategy for growth.
What will I post about?
Brands sometimes completely neglect this key element when choosing social media channels. Before you make a decision, think about how you want to use social media. Specifically, what type of content do you plan on posting? Content that performs well on Instagram doesn’t always translate well on Twitter. And vice versa.
Here’s an overview of what type of content works best on major social networks:
Thought Leadership: If you plan on curating content and sharing a lot of links, consider Twitter, Facebook and even Linked In for B2B companies. These platforms thrive off of people sharing articles. They even include thumbnails, snippets and other features to highlight blog posts and articles even more.
Company news: Facebook and Twitter will be your two top choices. Consumers expect to find news about product launches or events on these sites. Linked In is another great option.
Videos: You have a lot of options if your social media strategy is video driven. Facebook, Snapchat and Periscope are all good options. Facebook videos are very hot right now (be sure to use captioning), with users watching 100 million hours of video a day. And of course, YouTube is always a solid option – especially since they are owned by Google.
Pictures: Visuals rule social media, and that doesn’t only mean videos. Social Media Examiner found 71% of online marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing. If you want to share photos or even custom graphics like infographics, look at Instagram, Pinterest or Tumblr. Many businesses overlook Tumblr, but it’s a great platform for targeting a younger demographic. Nearly 70% of its users are millennials. Netflix is the perfect example of how effective images and GIFs can be used on Tumblr.
Branding: A lot of companies use social media for branding purposes. So the content they share is a mix of funny and entertaining videos, pictures and articles. Instagram and Snapchat are great for branding because users are highly engaged. On top of that, both of these mobile-first apps focus heavily on content, and less on advertising.
Lead generation: For lead generation, LinkedIn is the clear winner for B2B social media. However, if you’re customer-focused, gathering leads through a Facebook ad campaign can work well.
As you probably guessed, the best approach is a combination of different social media channels. Not only will you have more reach, but it adds variety to the content you’re giving your audience. You need to engage on every platform chosen, so organization is key. Engaging means having conversations and listening to your audience. They want to be heard and they definitely want you to pay attention to them! The moment you start to neglect your audience, you’ll lose their attention. This is one of the biggest challenges businesses have with social media marketing.