“Does your brand need a LinkedIn page?”
“Is Instagram the right social media network to expand your business?”
“Should you just start rolling out content on every popular social media site to maximize your reach?”
With so many social networks to choose from, determining which ones deserve your attention can be tough.
Contrary to common practice, you don’t really have to be on every social channel.
In fact, working with this approach can do more harm than good. Today, even bigger brands with dedicated SMM teams prefer to share content on a few social networks with a more focused and targeted approach as they get familiar with all the ins and outs of effective social media marketing.
For most companies, the recommended approach is to select social media networks that make the most sense for their business, rather than trying to make things work everywhere.
So, how do you decide which social channel to go with?
I have worked with some popular brands in the cosmetics, hospitality, education and footwear industry, and learned a few important factors that you need to keep in mind when deciding which social channels to use.
Knowing your target audience, industry and social media marketing strategy is the key to success.
So, in this article, I’m going to unveil the secret factors that will help you choose the correct social media channels for your brand, and how you can manage it all like a pro.
Who and where is your audience?
This is the base from where you start. To market your brand, you need to define your target audience and investigate what social channels your audience uses. You wouldn’t want to spend your time curating content for a social channel where your target audience doesn’t have an active presence.
Define the type of audience you want to target and match it against this social media demographics data.
This will build the base for you to work on. For example, if you are primarily targeting men over 50 years old, Snapchat probably isn’t the best option. Data suggests that you are more likely to connect better with your target audience using YouTube and Facebook.
In addition to studying these stats, explore how your competitors and influencers in your industry are using the social channels where you are interested. Spend time looking at the type of content they are publishing, and who the top content creators are. If you find the content related to your industry performs well, it is a good signal.
Based on how deep you want to explore, you can make use of different social media management tools to get insights on how your industry-related topics perform on different social channels. This approach works great for social sites with diverse users i.e. Reddit.
Let’s say you are trying to market your brand in the footwear industry. You can run a quick search for your related keywords on Reddit to see if there’s an active audience for it.
Avoid choosing social channels based on what’s new. Instead, look for social sites that are popular among your target audience.
What industry are you in?
It is essential to understand that not every social network will work well for your industry. According to research, visually-driven industries i.e. cosmetology, fashion, and photography perform better on Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest. As these social channels rely more on images than text, so they are a perfect fit.
While on the other hand, software and tech industries gravitate towards Twitter and are more likely to pull users to their website and/or landing pages.
The easiest way to figure out the right social networks for your industry is to study your competitor’s social activity. Just ask yourself these two questions every time you scroll through their social profiles:
- How actively they are sharing content.
- Are they getting any engagement on their updates?
This is important because brands aren’t very active on a social channel that’s not giving them the desired results. Whether it is generating leads or driving traffic to their landing pages, there is a reason why they are more active on a particular social network.
The volume of social media engagement shows how actively your target audience uses one social channel over another. Now, social media engagement is not about how many page likes or followers does a brand has. Having a big following doesn’t mean much if they are not actively interacting with your content.
Check for social channels that are bringing traffic to your website
At times the answer to which social media network you should use is very clear.
If you have been rolling out content on multiple social networks, but now want to shrink your focus and efforts of your content strategy on one or two, this is what you need to do:
Track how many visitors your website currently gets from social media. You can make use of Google Analytics to see how many network referrals you are getting. If you are generating traffic from a certain social site, start diverting your efforts there. Study your social media analytics to point out your top-performing posts and then create a plan for growth.
Do not limit your thinking to core social media sites
Today, people are using many more sites as social media networks, even though most of us don’t even consider them as traditional social channels. For instance, YouTube has become a popular search engine in its capacity, with users who are very active in the video comments. Reddit, as I talked about it earlier, is a great platform to run online listening research and get a quick idea about active communities relevant to your industry.
Your audience reviews are another great source of audience insight. Similar to social, if you are running a business that is highly dependent on customer’s feedback online, your team can use that data from tracking and replying to users to tailor your social media marketing strategy.
Reviews can provide you with all the necessary details you need to learn more about your core and strongly voice your audience’s interests.
Social channels including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram cater to many industries. Users are not primarily joining to learn about your industry or business. While some people use Instagram to follow their favourite celebrities, others register to stay in touch with their friends. But with review sites, the users are there because they are specifically interested in your industry. If you are searching for new opportunities on social, these are great platforms to tap into.
How to decide the right social channel for the type of content you want to share
Quite often brands neglect this step when deciding the right social media channels. It is important to think about how you aim to use social media before you decide to use it. You need to know what type of content you plan to roll out on social.
Content that performs well on Snapchat does not always get good engagement on Twitter. Here’s an outline of the type of content that performs best on the popular social channels:
Curation: If you want to curate content and share links to different landing pages, consider Facebook and Twitter. These channels are a hub for people sharing articles and links. To help highlight your blog posts and articles, even more, Facebook and Twitter use thumbnails and snippets.
For B2B organizations, LinkedIn is the best option.
Videos: If your social media strategy is video-driven, you have many options to choose from. YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram all offer powerful features for videos. You can keep your content strategy fresh with the use of the latest video formats that become available on these channels i.e. live video streams, video premiers or IGTV.
Company related news: When it comes to sharing posts about your company, you need to keep in mind the audience you are targeting and the industry you belong to. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are all-perfect for posts related to thought leadership, events, and webinars. While on the other hand, Instagram Stories and posts are a cool way to announce product launches and highlight limited-time offers.
Visuals: Visuals dominate social media and that doesn’t only account for videos. According to research conducted by Social Media Examiner revealed that more than 70% of online marketers use graphics in their social media marketing. If you plan to share images or custom graphics like infographics, Pinterest and Instagram can be the best platforms for you to connect with your audience.
Lead generation: For B2B social media marketing, LinkedIn is a clear winner for lead generation. However, if you are working on a B2C social media marketing strategy, it is quite difficult to choose between Instagram and Pinterest. According to Shopify, 93% of users on Pinterest use the social site to plan purchases, and more than 95% use it to collect product-related information.
Branding: Most of the companies use social media for branding. How you make things work depends on your content strategy, and using eye-catching videos and photos are often an essential part. Snapchat and Instagram are great platforms for branding, as users actively engage with the visuals.
The best approach is to use a combination of these social networking platforms. This will not only help you maximize the reach of your content but also add variety to the type of updates you share with your audience.
What social channels are you using for your business, and what made you choose them? Let us know in the comments.
Jamal writes about the influence of social media on modern-day business activities. He’s best known for designing social media strategies for some of the well-known global brands. His recent interests are in helping a local footwear brand elevate their peshawari chappal sales using the power of social.
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