What Social Media Should My Business Use?
If you're just starting to market your business on social media, or rethinking your current social media platforms, you're probably asking yourself: what social media channels should my business be on? You can't be everywhere at once. You'll spread yourself too thin if you try to jump on 5, 6 or 7 social sites all at the same time. It's better to start with 2 or 3 social media channels and do it right:
- Strategy: Define why you want to be on social media and how social media can help grow your business.
- Branding: Create a consistent brand and personality for your business, and then customize your brand and messaging for each social media channel.
- Engagement: Follow, Like and Comment on posts from your ideal client. Welcome new followers and respond to all comments.
What Are the Best Social Media Channels for Your Business
1. Where Does Your Ideal Customer Live on Social?
It doesn't really matter if you're a big fan of Pinterest, or all your friends are on Facebook: what matters is what social media channels your target audience prefers. Before you start choosing your social media channels you have to know who your typical or ideal customer is.
- who is your current customer
- what type of customer do you want to attract
- who are your competition's followers
Create a buyer persona and think small: you can't target everyone. The more narrow and defined your target audience is, the more likely you can create a message to reach them.
tip: New social channels pop up frequently: if you have a trendy and socially savvy ideal customer, be sure to assess new opportunities to connect on social!
This infographic shows the demographics for the top social media channels.
Social Media Demographics for Marketers by Sprout Social
2. What Social Media Channels Do Your Competitors Use?
Your goal is not to copy your competitors: you're looking to understand how your competitors reach their customers, and how they interact with their audience. That's just smart business. It may even help you identify an opportunity your competition is missing: and is perfect for your business!
There are many social listening tools to help you monitor and analyze what your ideal client is saying about you, your brand and your competition, here are 2 that are free and easy to use:
- HootSuite: you probably know HootSuite as a tool to plan and schedule your social media posts. It's also great for social listening. All you need to do is determine your keyword and social channels, set up a stream and then start listening what people are saying about that topic!
- Google Alerts is an old standby: enter your brand name or keyword or competitor or any phrase you are interested in, and Google will send you an email alert notifying you when that phrase pops up on social media.
tip: Where isn't your competition: that might be the best social media opportunity for your business!
3. How Much Time and Money Do You Have for Social Media
It doesn't matter how well you know your ideal client and how great your product or message is if you can't get the word out. If you only have the time and resources for one social media channel, then pick the one that will benefit your brand the most. Many social media channels are free to use, but there is a cost in time and resources to create and manage your social media profiles. It's better to use one or 2 social media channels effectively than to be on 4 or 5 channels and have them sit idle and ignored.
- How big is your team?
- Who on your team is trained in social media strategy, etiquette, and best practices?
- Do you have a budget to outsource your social media?
tip: Consistency is key to effectively engaging your audience on social media.
4. What Type of Social Media Do You Want to Share?
Instagram is great for photos, video is taking over Facebook, professional articles do great on LinkedIn. Not every type of social media post is effective on every channel. Once you decide your social media content strategy and messaging, decide which channels are best for your type of social media content.
5. Be Realistic
You may determine that a B2B social media platform would be ideal for your business, but you don't have the time or resources to write articles, engage in group discussion or interact with potential clients.
On the other hand, you may be ideally situated to post photos of customers using your latest product, or to share glowing feedback from satisfied users.
You may not be able to achieve all your goals in your first efforts on social media. Be honest and don't take on more than you can realistically manage, or you'll be frustrated by the (lack of) results on social media.
Choosing the best social media channels for your business is a critical investment in the success of your marketing efforts. For social media success follow these steps to identify your marketing goals, understand your ideal client and determine your brand personality so you can choose which social media channels work best for your business.