How many social media platforms are there and which ones should I be on? Social media can be tricky business for your business!
You want to sign up to every possible social media platform so your business can be seen by as many people as possible, right? Turns out this can actually stump your efforts! Instead of jumping into the deep end, take a moment to really think about which platforms you need. Focusing your efforts will get the best return on investment.
So what are the steps to determine which platform is best?
Step 1. Understand the purpose of each social media platform
Before choosing the social media platforms you need to be on, it is essential to know what each platform does. Below is a breakdown of the major contenders.
On average, 1.59 billion people log onto Facebook daily and are considered active users; that’s more than the UK population and China combined! More people more business? Not necessarily. It is important to understand how Facebook is used: to keep in contact with friends, build relationships and express yourself. Business wise, Facebook is great to keep in touch with your existing customers/fans, building and retaining relationships.
Twitter is the king of the hashtag. By use of language and key phrases, hashtags organise conversations worldwide. Searching hashtags can be useful to find out what people are talking about, or if they are talking about you. Twitter is great to build awareness for your brand and to have a voice and opinion about real time events/ relevant topics.
Instagram is growing like no other platform! Only surpassed by Youtube and Facebook, Instagram has an impressive 1 billion users, 500 million+ of which log in everyday.The photo communication app has continually grown on both features and user base since going live in 2010. However, if your business is not showcase-able in pretty pictures (B2B accounting service for example), Instagram will show little benefit for your company.
Like instagram, Pinterest is communication via photos. The platform is for montaging ideas and themes and “pinning” them into albums e.g. ‘vegan foods;’ the album will be filled with photos of, you guessed it, vegan food. This platform is great for driving traffic to your website. For example. you may share a photo of the vegan dish on Pinterest but link the recipe to your website. If your business can capitalise its imagery, Pinterest can lead to strong retail sales. As of March 2019 the platform reported 291 million active users.
2 billion logged in users visit Youtube every month; that’s half the internet! Everyday, billions of hours of content is viewed. The platform is notorious for users spending lots more time on the platform than ever planned – ‘falling down a Youtube rabbit hole.’ You may be able to take advantage of these hours spent on Youtube if your business has meaningful content e.g. a tutorial or entertainment for your audience. Service industries do particularly well on Youtube. If you are more product based you may want to take advantage of influencer marketing and send some freebies/collaborate with influencers that your audiences will be interested in.
If you’re trying to sell fluffy pens to 15 year old girls, this is not the place for you! Linkedin is unique in that it is a professional network; mostly used for job searches and career networking. The platform is associated with older audiences; most users are between 30-49. There is great use for Linkedin when recruiting employees, generating B2B leads and networking with those in your field and industry.
Step 2. Identify your Audience
Now that you are up to date on what each platform does you can start to link their uses to your audience.
You should be as specific as possible when identifying your audience as this will help to focus your social media efforts. Answer the following questions:
- Are they male or female?
- How old are they?
- What’s their Income level
- Where are they located
- What are their hobbies
- What interests do they hold
- Who are their key influencers / role models
Step 3. Define your social media goals
Once you know your audience, you will need to know your goals. Do you want to increase your brand awareness? Drive people to your website? Generate new leads? Build a community? Increase press and news coverage? Offer effective social customer service?
Your goals will help you choose platforms, for example, Netflix use Twitter to address customer service problems; freeing up phone lines and cutting staff costs.
Brainstorm all the possible ways that social media could work for your business and you will start to see which platforms will work best for your goals.
Step 4. Scope out the competition
What are your competition doing? Who follows them? Who are your competition following? Which platforms are they performing best/worst on?
A competitor analysis is highly important for any business to answer all the above questions and to use their success/failure to improve and advance your business. Reporting on your competition will assure you create a successful social media marketing strategy.
Step 5. Connect the dots
The final step is to use all the information you have gathered and match to the appropriate platform/platforms.
What if I still need help with social media platforms?
If you would like support, we specialise in managing brand-consumer relationships via social media. We can take the time to identify the best channels for your company based on what they make/sell/do. Contact us today or read about our social media marketing services.