The question you should be asking is, “Which social media platform will help my business meet our goals?” Now that’s a question I can help you answer.
It seems to me that a lot of people—from small business owners to marketing directors—are missing the main point of social media platforms and need a mindset change. I find a lot of people are in one of two situations:
- They assume they should be on all the major social networks—regardless of their business goals, products, or staffing.
- They’re already on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and Pinterest without any strategies, are overwhelmed with the work it takes to maintain it all, and are underwhelmed by the results.
Regardless of what situation you’re in, the answer to the above question is the same: it depends. It depends on your social media strategy, which of course depends on your content strategy, which depends on your business goals.
Once you have your goals and strategies in place, here are some questions you need to answer to determine which platform(s) your business needs to be on:
Where are your customers and what are they doing?
It’s true that 1.23 billion active users are on Facebook. But what are they doing? How will you attract and engage them, and how will it benefit your business? The answers are different for the various generations and niche communities. Better to answer them now then at an end of the quarter meeting with your boss.
There are a lot of smart ways companies can create value for their customers through social media marketing. If you don’t know what your customers value, ask them. Focus groups and surveys are still effective ways to get the information you need.
What kind of amplification do you want to give your message?
Think about the kind of amplification, boost, or help your message needs to reach your audience. Is your message better suited to visual content—images, infographics, or videos? Or do your customers prefer to listen to a weekly podcast with a follow-up email?
What platform fits best with your goals?
One resource I use often when talking to clients about social media platforms is SmartInsight’s Social Media Marketing Radar infographic. This is a great visual that shows the entire scope of social media platforms.
As SmartInsights explains, you need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each platform—as well as what activities users are participating in on each platform—as you’re creating your strategy.
And finally…it’s time to prioritize
Now that you know what you’re trying to accomplish, you can prioritize your social media marketing efforts based on your goals, budget, and [staffing].
For example, maybe you’ve decided to monitor your competition and customers on Twitter while you test promoted posts on Facebook for three months and then—depending on the results—ramp up your efforts on Twitter.
Again, resist the pressure to be on all the platforms at once. Start slow and set an experiment phase time-frame before you decide to ramp up your efforts.
Let me say it again: prioritize and test.