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Choosing A Social Media Platform For Your Business
Plenty of businesses know they should be on social media, but they don’t know which platforms they should focus their time or money on. If you currently find yourself in this category, then it’s worth taking a little bit of time to plan, just like you would for any marketing strategy.
Who is your ideal audience?
If you skip this step, then you could still end up with a great social media following. But if there’s a mismatch between your audience and your ideal customer, then all the work you’ve poured in won’t be doing you much good.
The ultimate goal might be to drive customers to your website or to get them to pick up the phone and call you. More and more social media platforms are offering e-commerce features, so there’s no need for customers to even leave social media when they want to buy your products.
Chat functions on Facebook and other platforms are also a popular way for businesses to answer questions. Whatever your purpose, there is a social media platform that can work for you.
Where are your customers?
Are they on Twitter for real-time updates that fit into their busy day? Are they searching for inspiration on Instagram or Pinterest? These insights will help you to choose your platforms, as well as the times of day that you post and monitor your social media feeds.
Florists will always fare better than plumbers on a platform like Instagram because blocked drains don’t look pretty on an Instagram feed. Tradies are more likely to find success on a platform like YouTube, where they can post videos that answer common questions.
Diving a little deeper…
Let’s take a look at the different platforms currently dominating the social scene. The following are ranked using a recent Hootsuite and We Are Social report, which looked at global numbers of active social media users. Facebook, once again, came out on top.
While each new platform’s rise to fame seems to signal the demise of Facebook, it’s yet to happen. Facebook simply adopts winning features from its competitors and the brands it acquires and keeps on going. Retailers can sell products through Facebook, restaurant-goers can make bookings, and anyone can find a business’s vital details at a glance. All of this means Facebook remains a very useful platform for a range of industries.
YouTube holds a unique position, as it really is a type of search engine in its own right. There is also an opportunity to reach very different audiences, based on the type of content that you post. From product launches to assembly videos and Q and A sessions, businesses have great scope when using YouTube.
Instagram started as a photo-sharing app and remains a visually appealing platform to this day. While captions, videos, and hashtags all have their place, the first thing to get right for Instagram is to have visually appealing posts. These don’t have to be photos. Many brands have success creating infographic style posts. Just make sure they look great and are in keeping with your branding.
TikTok is not only popular amongst the Gen Z audience, and it’s certainly not all dancing. TikTok continues to heavily influence other social media platforms. For instance, Instagram adopted its Reel feature in the wake of TikTok’s success. Even if your audience isn’t on TikTok, its popularity can’t be ignored.
While Pinterest has traditionally been the domain of women (with their largest audience is in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties), the Hootsuite and We Are Social report suggests that Pinterest’s appeal is broadening. The platform’s primary use remains geared towards project planning, with users pinning images (or videos) to their vision boards, whether they want recipe tips, fashion inspiration, or home DIY advice.
Twitter might rank below Pinterest and Reddit in terms of active users, but it continues to have an impact that reaches beyond the platform.
LinkedIn, Clubhouse… and whatever else is next!
This is by no means an exhaustive list; there are a host of other social media platforms out there. LinkedIn remains true to its origins as a professional networking site, while Clubhouse remains true to its name as a small clique of those who have been invited to join.
New social media platforms continue to appear. But that doesn’t mean you have to go chasing after each shiny new thing. Like any other marketing strategy, make sure you remain aware of emerging trends and check in regularly to see whether your strategy is working well for you, or whether it’s time to change course to achieve your goals.