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How to Choose the Right Social Networks for Your Business

The social media gold rush promised businesses marketing success on channels that are cheap and easy to use. With stories about entrepreneurs making a name on Facebook, online boutiques getting traction on Pinterest, and the new class of YouTube millionaires, the pressure for businesses to have a presence on social media is huge.

Scoring the right social channels for your business It’s no wonder that many businesses jumped into social media marketing head first before considering a game plan – and why, ultimately, many businesses are frustrated from a lack of results.

You already know social media marketing is used by businesses like yours for purposes such as:

  • Brand awareness and visibility
  • Customer service, feedback, and insight
  • Brand reputation and integrity
  • Web traffic and SEO
  • Networking and recruitment
  • Sales and promotions

But success requires strategy. An efficient and effective strategist knows social media marketing is not about being everywhere at once – but about delivering the right content to the right people. You make this happen by choosing your social channels carefully.

There are literally hundreds of social media sites. How do you know which ones are the best candidates for your business? How many should your brand be using? And how does each play into your marketing strategy?

Ask Yourself These Strategic Questions:

Find your target audience

Where is my target audience? Some social networks have a more general audience, while others appeal to very specific demographics. If the audience you are trying to reach is not using a particular social network, then that network is much less valuable to you. Google+, for instance, is much less likely to be useful to you than Pinterest if your target audience is mothers that homeschool their kids.

Set your goals

Where am I most likely to meet my goals? Each social network has a different format for presenting content, and some of these formats are better optimized for particular goals than others. If, for example, your brand awareness campaign involves a lot of visuals, you might be better off using Instagram, Pinterest, or YouTube rather than Twitter.

What are your limitations?

What are my limitations? Your limitations are generally time, money, resources, and expertise. Some social networks require a greater investment in one or more of these than others. Twitter, for instance, is pretty simple to use once you understand its nuances. However, producing high quality videos for YouTube can be time-consuming and costly, even requiring special equipment and a knowledge of how to use it.

When a social network is a great match for you, it can offer you all of these factors. Goal! Depending on the nature of your business, there may be many or only a few social networks that make good candidates – and that’s okay! The point of the exercise is to understand how much potential a network has so that you can decide whether it deserves a place in your marketing strategy.

Soccer proProTip: Choose one social network to start. Make sure you can meet your goals there before expanding into other channels. Prioritize which networks to develop based on how well those channels can deliver the right content to the right people for your business.

Jumpstart Your Research!

Coming soon… a cheatsheet that breaks down each of the major social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. Get all the information you need about audiences, content optimization, and limitations in our next blog post.

Thank you to the following photographers for their creative commons images: soccer playerssoccer stadium | soccer balls | goalie | player with ball

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Jackie

Ahoy! My name is Jackie and I'm a graduate student studying Conservation Biology at Antioch University in Keene. I live the good life- hiking New Hampshire's great outdoors, dancing, drinking tea... I'm also the Social Media Specialist here at Paragon. I help businesses create an online community that supports the needs of their customers and clients. And I develop strategies for using social media to gain exposure and promote awareness of your products, services, or cause. Whether it be through posting or pinning, sharing or stumbling, I can help you find your digital niche.

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