When you’re busy running your business it’s hard to find time to manage multiple social media networks and maintain routine engagement. Focusing on one or two networks will make it a lot more manageable and will help you to get the best return on investment.
There are a number of factors that will help you decide which network is best. From knowing where your audience are to understanding which platforms are best for different types of content, we’ve put together this three step guide to help you decide.
Identify your audience
The first step towards social media success is understanding who your audience is. You’ll need to be as specific as possible. Some basic questions to ask yourself include:
- Are they male or female?
- Who is your typical customer?
- How old are they?
- What are they interested in outside of your product?
- Favourite websites?
You may want to write down the answers to your question so you can get a good image of the person sat on the other side of the computer. Personally, we find it helps if you name this person and think of them as your friend.
Define your goals
Once you know your audience you’ll need to define goals for that audience. It’s likely that your first goal will be to drive website traffic and generate sales. But there are other social media goals to consider. Some brands may use social to generate buzz around their business, to drive engagement or to improve sentiment around their brand.
For example, @tescomobilecare set up a dedicated Twitter account to help out with customer service support queries. This is a non-invasive way of providing support and broadcasting any network issues to their wide customer base.
Find your audience
So now you have your audience (tick) and your goals (tick) it’s time to understand where to dedicate your precious social media hours. You’ll need to consider how active your audience is on each platform, the type of content each platform allows and how individuals use these platforms.
With 1.55 billion monthly active users, Facebook is undeniably the behemoth of social networks. But, and it’s a big but, Facebook users by large are on Facebook to keep in touch with family and build relationships.
The good news – if you already have a dedicated fan base it’s great for building loyalty. The bad news – Facebooks Edgerank makes it near enough impossible to reach a new audience. Reportedly organic posts only reach 16% of your following, meaning you’ve got to have deep pockets and a lot of patience to reach new audiences.
Twitter is the ultimate platform for building brand awareness. The use of hashtags teamed with real-time updates can give you a real opportunity to get directly to your audience. Be careful about joining trending topics for the sake of joining in – as a general rule, we advise that if it takes you longer than 5 minutes to think of an idea to join in with a hashtag then it isn’t the right hashtag for you.
The cherry on the icing for Twitter is the in-depth analytics on offer, allowing insight into your most popular Tweet, your audience demographic and your average engagement rate.
LinkedIn is undoubtedly the preferred B2B social media platform (they even advertise it that way) and boasting 400m professionals it’s no wonder. It has a rather niche purpose and is often joked about as being a feeding ground for professional recruiters. Whatever the joke, 80% of B2B leads generated on social media come through LinkedIn, the bottom line here? LinkedIn works for B2B lead generation.
Over the past year, Instagram has proved itself to be one of the fastest growing platforms (doubling in size in just 18 months), especially among a young audience. This platform works really well for visual based businesses such as food, travel and beauty. One of the bonuses of Instagram is the support of hashtags and how handy they can be in amplifying your content.
Yep, Snapchat – a worthy contender in today’s social media landscape. In a recent study of 1600 students, 67% revealed that they would be open to receiving discounts and coupons from brands on Snapchat. But in that study lays Snapchat’s weakness and strength – its youthful demographic. To appeal to such a young audience you need to be prepared to put in a lot of time for what could potentially be a low return on investment.
If your business markets to college students or young people then Snapchat is definitely the answer to standing out in a crowded marketplace.