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.
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:
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.
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 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.
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.
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