While nearly all businesses need a social media strategy, there’s no rule that says businesses should adopt every single social media network. On a purely practical level, the value of social media is in frequent sharing and content and this requires a significant time commitment.
Choosing which social media platform(s) is the right fit for your brand is an important decision as it will influence the type of content you need to produce.
Where do your customers hang out?
One of the most important factors to base your decision on, is to be in the know about where your ideal clients and customers spend their time. Social media is all about relationships so you want to make sure you are building relationships with your target audience.
The right social media for your business is often the one that you find the most fun and engaging. If you don’t enjoy using the platform this will come across in your marketing.
Also, if you enjoy using the network(s) yourself, then you are more likely to put the effort in to keep it up-to-date.
Facebook is a good place to entertain customers, share updates and show that you have an active supporter base. Seventy-one per cent of the population use Facebook, so it has wide reach.
However the downside of Facebook is that it has no one-way following ability, and since the platform has changed its algorithm, as little as two per cent of your audience may see your posts. However there is great potential for all brands to use Facebook promoted posts or remarketing ads.
Google+ is a Facebook alternative that was introduced a couple of years back. It’s most used by a tech-savvy crowd of professionals and offers one-way following and selective sharing allowing you to handpick your feeds.
It also offers the Google Authorship advantage and the use of free chat tools such as hangouts. Google+ lacks the personal element that Facebook does…you won’t see much in the way of family and friends sharing updates here, and it also lacks time-sensitive news and events.
Instagram is all about taking photos of beautiful things that look professional.
This makes it a good social network if you sell attractive physical goods that you can showcase regularly. Instagram is relatively friendly to brands and almost half of its 300 million monthly users log in every day.
Tumblr has a very youthful audience most in their teens and twenties and its content centres around photos, GIFs or blog posts that are often artsy or Not Suitable For Work (NSFW).
It has a great sharing and reblogging function but doesn’t allow comments. The focus is not on dialogue so much as finding and curating interesting content. (Make sure to always give credit to artists and try to add new content of your own from time to time rather than mooch off other people’s ideas.)
Twitter is the venue for breaking news and quick links. With only 140 characters to get your message across you have to make it snappy. Fans of TV shows often share their reactions in live time to episodes which are airing, and it’s also where celebrities will hang out to live-tweet events.
Several businesses have used Twitter to reach out to celebrities that like their products and score endorsements.
Pinterest is the place for women who love to shop. Eighty-five per cent of Pinterest’s audience is women and 87 per cent have bought something they found on the site.
The five industries which get the most pins are food, home décor, clothing and accessories, hair/beauty and health/fitness so if your business is in one of those industries, Pinterest would be a logical move for you.
LinkedIn is primarily about company culture and careers. People will not check out your profile because they are looking to buy from you, more likely it’s because they are looking to work for you.
LinkedIn users are generally college graduates 30+ years old. If you’re a large corporation and want to attract certain types of staff here is where you can educate users on your company culture, ethics and values.
Video Networks (e.g. YouTube & Vine)
Video networks are often appealing since a lot of people learn visually. If you’re opting for a video network it often pays to have another social network that you actively use that you can cross-promote video content on.
If this is for you experiment with different video lengths and both scripted and unscripted videos.
Measure Your Success
Finally, whichever networks you opt you for there are three important factors that you should track:
1) Followers & Engagement
2) Traffic Generation
These measures will help you see what is resonating and working, and what isn’t.