Choose the right social media platform for your business
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Youtube... and the list goes on! There are so many social media platforms available today and for many business owners, the choice is overwhelming.
Do you need to be on Every. Single. One. of these platforms? NO!
Are you unsure which social platform(s) you should consider for your business? YES?
Take a breath, you have come to the right place! Today I'm going to show you which of the top 5 social media platforms are best suited to your business.
Step One: Know Your Ideal Customer
I know, I bring this up OFTEN - but that's because it is the single most powerful thing you can do to have a deep understanding of what your customer needs and how exactly you can help them.
There is a saying in marketing that goes something like this:
"If you're talking to everyone, you're talking to no one."
If the messaging around your brand, business, products and services is broad or generic so that (in your mind) it appeals to everybody, then it's not going to "ring true" or have an emotional connection with anyone.
Understanding your customer, their fears, their pain points, how they feel before buying from you, how they feel after buying from you, how they will feel when the succeed or solve their problems - then, and only then, can you create messages that are going to truly resonate and create trust.
Have you ever read a blog and thought "This is me!" or "This is exactly what I am looking for!"? Think about how that makes your feel. Connected? Like you're not alone? That someone understands you? That this person might be able to help you? THAT is what you are trying to achieve in your online marketing.
So please, if you have not already done so, stop right here and spend 15 minutes (or more) really walking in your customers shoes, thinking about their feelings, empathising with them and writing notes on how you can help. The phrases, descriptions and feelings you note down will be used in every single marketing, advertising and sales promotion you do.
Ideal Customer defined? Great work! Now we can delve the social stuff based on the knowledge of your ideal customer...
Step Two: Understand the Purpose & Unique Attributes
All social media platforms are designed to provide a way to engage and communicate. In addition to communication, each platform has a slightly different purpose based on the way people tend to use the platform.
As you read through the different purposes, functions and attributes of the platforms below, think about which one(s) best suits your business AND your ideal customer.
Engagement is usually via a Facebook Page that your customers and fans "Like" (or follow) to received updates on your brand, products and services. The primary functions of a Facebook Page are to build your brand's loyalty and reputation. Facebook is great for reaching a wide variety of audience segments with one post, boosting your posts and profile using very targeted advertising, encouraging interaction and comments with your audience.
Use a twitter account to share breaking news, product launches, quick and brief updates and to collect instant feedback from your audience. When writing on twitter (or tweeting), your posts (known as tweets) are limited to 140 characters, so they must be concise. Twitter is also well known for its #hashtag functionality providing a way to categorise your tweets or highlight the key ideas. Hashtags are searchable and using them in your tweets can be a powerful way for you to reach new audiences quickly.
Technically only available as a mobile app, Instagram is used to share photos and videos with accompanying text and hashtags. Owned by Facebook, it is one of the most rapidly growing social media platforms. Instagram is a fantastic way to share images and video of your products, brand, digital art, collages - anything visual. We also have Instagram to thank for the rise of the selfie, so if you are the main face of your business, don't be afraid to snap a pic of yourself every now and then to personalise your Instagram feed. If your business is in a creative industry you should definitely investigate Instagram further.
LinkedIn is designed to help people network professionally - to find others in their field, to look for suitable employees or employers, to find other businesses that can provide services. It is useful for targeting individuals who work for and are the decision makers within companies. For example, if you manufacture laboratory equipment, you can connect with scientists and lab managers who may be interested in your products.
Another visual platform it is primarily used to create vision/inspiration boards, collections or online scrapbooks of images to showcase products or the nature of your brand. This is a great platform for designers, artists, hairdressers, fashion retailers, specialty bakers, restaurants.
There are a few other social media platforms to note:
Youtube & Vimeo - are video sharing platforms and if you can produce video content, then you need to research them further.
Periscope & Blab - live video broadcasting platforms that are great for Q&A sessions and talking directly to people interested in your business offerings.
Google+ (Google plus) - is a great platform to help your content and posts rank well in Google's search engine (which should be reason enough for you to sign up and use it if you have the time).
Now for the DEMOGRAPHICS...
Step Three: Research the Demographics
Which platform is your ideal customer likely to use? The charts below can help you understand which platforms are more popular based on some basic demographics.
Facebook by far has the greatest number of users 1.44 billion and rising! That does not for a second mean that your should discount the other platforms. They all have massive audiences (in the millions) and if used effectively, can be a powerful way to reach customers and to market your business.
The next chart shows the percentage of the adult population using the five most popular social media platforms based on gender. So if women are the majority of your clients, you should definitely be investigating Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest if the purpose and unique attributes of the platform fit.
Which age demographic(s) are your ideal customers in? Pinterest, LinkedIn and Facebook have good engagement across all demographics. Instagram and Twitter are a little more skewed towards 18-29 year olds.
CONGRATULATIONS! You made it and I know you can do this! Combining your knowledge of your ideal customer with the demographics, purpose and unique attributes of each social media platform, I hope you feel more confident in choosing which one is right for your and your business to jump into now.
Don't worry if you haven't used the platform before, there are so many tutorials online - just Google "Twitter tutorial", for example. Aim for progress now and perfection in time.
Thanks for reading and if you have questions or comments, then please get in touch.