Since the early noughties, the use of social media has grown exponentially. In fact today, there are thousands of social media channels worldwide, with new ones being developed all the time. As social media is now embedded in our culture, widespread adoption as a business marketing tool has become the norm. It’s easy to see the appeal… instant connection to your audience. As well as increased brand awareness and the ability to create rich, visual content in a cost-effective way.
However, with so much choice, how do you go about deciding which ones are right for your business?
Well, before you’re tempted to sign up to multiple channels, consider our following article. In it, we examine some of the pitfalls of spreading yourself too thinly across social media. As well as exploring how you can reach an informed decision about which social media channel works best for you.
THE HAZARDS OF MULTIPLE SOCIAL CHANNEL USE
It’s a time sucker
Different social media channels attract different demographics. Your average LinkedIn user will differ vastly in age and gender from your average Snapchat user. And will likely have distinct interests too. Therefore, choosing to market your business across multiple platforms is no easy task. It requires time, energy, and creativity which can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. So, before adding another item to your list, it’s worth considering that you can’t be all things to all people. Why expend effort filling your sales funnel with contacts that may not even be interested in your business? Your time could be better spent researching your target customer. And selecting the one channel that they engage on most frequently.
You risk overexposing your brand
Marketing your business on numerous channels can be risky. An endless stream of content could overexpose your brand and ultimately lead to your consumers switching off. This is true of followers who connect to your brand across multiple platforms and who may stumble upon duplicate content. Unless you are able to consistently generate tailored posts, you could be doing more harm to your business than good.
SO HOW DO I MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION ON WHICH SOCIAL CHANNEL TO USE?
Identify your audience
At Engaging Websites, we talk a lot about the importance of knowing who your ideal customer is. When deciding on which social media channel to use to market your business, this becomes paramount. Each social media channel speaks to different audiences, all of whom differ in age, gender, and interests. LinkedIn is used mainly by business professionals, audiences on Snapchat and Pinterest are primarily female and Instagram attracts a younger demographic.
Take time to consider exactly who your business wants to target. Being specific here is important as this will make your final decision easier:
- How old are they?
- What is their gender?
- How do you solve their problem?
- What are their hobbies and interests?
- Which social media sites are they already using and which do they avoid?
Once you’ve figured out the answers to these questions, you are better positioned to decide which channel you want to pair your business with and commit your time and resources to.
At Engaging Websites, as part of our Foundation Workshops course, we have mapped out a process to help you profile your ideal customer and can help you create solid foundations for your business. Find out more here.
Decide on your goals
Before setting yourself up on several channels, have a think about what your social media goals are. What do you want to achieve by using social media? How do you want it to help your business?
Do you want to:
- reach new audiences
- build brand recognition
- drive traffic to your website and increase your sales
- deal with customer support and service issues
- analyse and measure engagement with your business?
All platforms offer different advantages and help their users to market their business in distinct ways. Some support connection building, others focus more on boosting brand awareness, and some on reviewing business products and services.
Creating specific social media goals will enable you to determine which channel can help your business the most and therefore which you should focus your attention on. It’s worth noting here, that in addition to listing the obvious social medial goals, there’s value in considering the more unusual ways you can use social media to your advantage.
Determine your content type
Content is king. It’s what your customers engage with and it’s how they determine the relevance and value of your business. So, it’s important to be aware that not all types of content perform well across all platforms.
Instagram and Pinterest are both highly visual platforms and lend themselves well to creative businesses who market their products and services through photos.
If however your content is more editorial and involves white papers, blogs, or articles, LinkedIn may prove to be a more suitable channel.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to spark interest in something new, make an announcement or get people talking, Twitter could be right for you. Pairing text with an image and a link back to your website is a clever way of redirecting people’s attention towards what you want to say.
By considering the type of content that works best for your business and using that to guide your channel selection, you stand a better chance of increasing engagement with your services and products.
Get to know your chosen social channel
You’ve identified your audience, your goals, and your content type and you’ve used this insight to select the social media channel that works best for you. It’s tempting to think you can sit back and put your feet up!
However, in order to make your chosen channel work for you, we strongly advise you to take the time to get to know it – its ins and outs, its hidden features, and its extra tools. Only when you fully understand how it works, can you optimise its functionality and really enjoy its benefits. Once you’ve started to gain traction on this channel, try to measure your impact so you can properly evaluate how effective your strategy has been.
Then, when you’re ready, consider handing over the management of this to a member of your team. But remember, whilst delegating the day-to-day running of your channel is perfectly fine, it’s your business and it’s ultimately your voice that should be heard. So, set out your expectations clearly and ensure you stay involved, not only in actively creating written content but in editing it and signing it off too. Now, armed with a tried and tested selection method, you’re ready to start exploring a second channel. Repeat this process each time you want to start using a new platform.
Authentic connection vs. automated engagement
A word of warning here about the use of automation tools. It’s tempting as your business grows and time becomes scarce, to consider automating aspects of your social media engagement. Whilst there are certainly benefits to doing so, particularly when setting up the front-end of your business, relying on automation tools to foster and build relationships, however appealing, is a big no. Relationship building is a key part of growing both your customer base and your reputation. If you substitute personal relationship building for automated invitations and messaging, you’re likely to find your acceptance and reply rates will be low, and worse yet, your customers will know you don’t care. In business, human connection and conversation are still vital. The onus is on you to connect to, inspire and nurture the relationship with your customers.
LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE SOCIAL CHANNELS OUT THERE….
Below is a brief summary of some of the more well-known social media channels. Their average user, their strengths, and how they could work for you:
By far the biggest and arguably the most comprehensive social marketing tool is Facebook. Facebook attracts billions of users monthly and is popular across many industries. Its lead generation ability is strong. It also supports the creation of tailored advertisements, allowing you to target your ideal customers.
It enables you to showcase the more human side of your business. Its feed feature helps you foster a connection with your followers. Visual content also works well, allowing you to create posts that can build empathy with your audience. In fact, most content format is successful on Facebook: text, images, videos, and stories, making it one of the most versatile social media channels out there.
It also supports relationship building. One of the Facebook features we love is the ability to create a community within a private Facebook group and utilise it for online training. This provides us with an invaluable opportunity to nurture relationships. And create a more authentic and personal connection with them.
Twitter is great if you want to grab the attention of your audience quickly. Combining a few cleverly chosen words (up to 280 characters), with hashtags and images can redirect the attention of your audience back on to you. Whether you want to break some exciting news or promote your brand – Twitter could be the platform for you.
If you’re a B2B business, LinkedIn could be your perfect choice. LinkedIn encourages you to build connections and start conversations with other skilled, like-minded individuals. You can establish yourself as an authority in your field and promote the credibility of your brand. You do this by posting professional, editorial content which illustrates your company’s achievements and objectives.
Instagram is a photo, video, and story-sharing app, known for its vibrant, visually rich content. If you’re a product-based business or work in a creative industry and are targeting a younger audience – Instagram could be for you. 63% of its users are aged between 18 and 34 and both male and female users maintain a fairly equal presence. An Instagram business profile also allows you to track your analytics and monitor your performance.
YouTube, is a video-sharing platform that commands just short of 2 billion monthly active users. If your social media strategy is primarily video-driven, then YouTube could be right for you. It allows you to create your own channel and upload videos that your followers can interact with. You can also place a video into a blog post that is hosted on YouTube.
Pinterest is a visual graphics-based platform, which attracts a mainly female audience. If your business focuses on food, art, fashion, travel, or interior design and you’re seeking to target a predominantly female consumer base, this social medial channel could work wonders for you. In addition, if one of your goals is to boost your sales, Pinterest could be ideal. Research has shown over 90% of its users’ plan purchases using the platform.
Whilst Snapchat may not be your first pick of social media channels, it’s worth considering if you are looking to attract a younger demographic. Snapchat’s typical user is aged 13+. It is an app that runs off user-generated content in the form of photo sharing and short videos. It could allow your business to show off its fun side and gain more followers in the process. However, before opting to use this channel, it’s best to do some research. If teenagers do not comprise your ideal audience, this could be one platform to steer clear of.
Tik Tok is another video-based app promoting user interaction. It is associated with a younger audience and involves the creation of snippet videos to a song. Whilst this might seem like an odd choice unless you are a teenager, some brands have had huge success using Tik Tok, including Elf Cosmetics, NBA, and Gymshark. The key to their success appears to have been fusing humour with the creation of challenges.
Clubhouse is an exciting, up-and-coming social media channel. It sits apart from other platforms due to its lack of photo, video, or text use. As an audio-only app, you can start conversations on topics of interest to you, without the pressure of having to be video ready. You can also listen to conversations and connect with people that may influence or benefit your business. Keep an eye out for more information on this platform – it’s one to watch!
WHICH SOCIAL CHANNEL TO USE – CONCLUSION
In today’s fast-paced digital world, avoiding social media marketing altogether no longer seems to be an option. If you want to expand your customer base and increase traffic to your website, digital marketing is a must. However, to get the most out of social media, avoid the desire to hop on to every single platform. Do your research. By spending a little time upfront working out your audience, your goals, and your content, it will become apparent that less is more. By pairing your business with a single social media platform, you will avoid the fatigue and overwhelm that comes with managing multiple sites.
SOCIAL CHANNEL TAKEAWAYS
- Don’t sign up to multiple channels straight away
- Do your research and use this insight to select the one channel that works best for your business
- Fully develop your understanding of this channel before joining another one
If you are interested in having a chat about which social channel to choose, take advantage of my free 15-minute discovery call.