Diving into the world of social media can be super intimidating. I am very aware of that. I have dozens of clients that are already overwhelmed by the laundry list of tasks they need to complete as a small business owner or recent startup.
Adding social media on top of the current task list could seem impossible, especially if you think you need to be pinning on Pinterest, tweeting on Twitter, snapping on Snapchat, posting on Facebook, and sharing on LinkedIn. STOP! Let’s slow down for a moment and address this overwhelming feeling.
Social media can be manageable. However, it is extremely important to focus and not spray. Choosing to be effective with one or two social media platforms is far better than dabbling on four or five social media channels. If you need to manage too many, you’ll spread yourself thin and dilute the impact of your efforts as a result. If you select which ones you want to use randomly, your brand visibility and reach might suffer.
There needs to be some strategy in selecting which social media channels you use. To keep this selection process as simple as possible. I am going to break it down to three questions that you need to ask yourself:
- What platform is your target market already engaging in?
- What channels are your competitors using?
- What kind of content will you be sharing?
What platform is your target market already engaging in?
Step one before we even start investigating is making sure you have pinpointed your target market. Who is buying your product or utilizing your service? Is there a specific age group? Teens? Millennials? Baby Boomers? Are you targeting individuals (B2C) or does your business target other businesses (B2B)? If your product or service is typically gender specific that is important to identify as well.
Once you have that information, you can then dive into the studies that have been done on demographics of users for each social media platform. To sum up a lot of the information out there:
Women : #1 – Facebook #2 – Pinterest
Men: #1- Facebook #2 – LinkedIn
Millennials: #1- Facebook #2 – Instagram
Active Seniors (50-64): #1- Facebook #2 – Pinterest
College Graduates: #1- Facebook #2 – LinkedIn
These stats are out there. It’s just a matter of finding your target market and pinpointing where those individuals are spending their time on social media!
What channels are your competitors using?
After answering the first question, you may have an idea already as to which platforms you should focus on. However, I’d highly recommend you dig a bit deeper and answer the other two questions as well.
A great question that a very successful, established business owner asked me in order to help me gain some clarity is, “Who is doing what you do REALLY WELL?” The nice part of competition is we can learn from them. So take a look around your industry, visit their websites, and see what social media channels they are utilizing/promoting on their website. How many followers do they have on that channel? If the answer is hundreds or thousands of followers, that is likely a good platform for you to utilize as well. Your potential customers are already in that space.
This simple analysis will provide a solid gauge as to which platforms to use and also determine what you should be doing in regards to activity on that platform. What type of content do your competitors post? How regularly do they post it? How many likes or shares do their posts gain? Checking how active your competitors are on social media, as well as how well their followers engage with what they post, will provide you with extremely valuable insights. Then you can simply replicate what they have been doing to ensure success for your own strategy.
Slow and steady wins the race. You don’t need to post 12 times a day or even daily. But sticking to a regular schedule
will often get the best results. If you can only do one post per week on one social media platform, it’s better than
nothing! Let’s look at some of the best methods and practices for promotion on Discord.
What kind of content will you be sharing?
If you have image based content, you will ideally invest your efforts on Instagram or Pinterest.
Instagram will allow you to build an inspiring visual brand story while Pinterest is the most ideal platform if you have an engaging product that you are looking to sell to consumers (not B2B).
If you want to share industry updates, company news and whitepapers to B2B audiences you will likely want to focus your efforts on platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter in which professional can predominantly be found. Google+ or Google Business is also a good option for professional purposes.
If you want to share video content, you are going to want to live in the world of YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat or Periscope. If your videos are longer and more universal in its audience, Facebook and Twitter can also generate high levels of engagement. It’s smart to upload your videos to YouTube as it is the world’s second largest search engine with over 3 billion searches a month. I have often found that YouTube videos can rank for keywords that my website could never rank for which exposes my business to new audiences I never would have reached!
Finally, if you are a company in which you are regularly planning events, you will want to take some time to get familiar with Facebook Events. Facebook Events can be shared on your Facebook Business Page and it a great way to organize, promote and communicate leading up to events for your business.
Remember, the purpose of your chosen social media channels to is support the achievement of your strategic goals.
Just a few tips to achieve your goals:
- consider selecting well-established platforms with a large following (avoid anything new or niche).
- one of the most effective methods for raising awareness and extending reach is through paid promotion (this is an advisable option, whatever your budget)
- Research the social media advertising options available to you. Facebook’s advertising platform, for example, has a great reputation for generating impressive ROI.
- Facebook and Twitter are also highly effective and often enjoy a lower cost per click (CPC) than an AdWords campaign!
Learning about the world of social media can sometimes feel like you are drinking from a fire hydrant. My hope is that is once you have answered the three simple questions, you will have a better idea of where you should focus your efforts as you take the plunge into the world of social media. If you have more questions in regards to social media please post them below or email me directly, and I would be happy to provide answers from some social-media-savvy friends.