How To Choose Your Social Media Platforms

When first starting a business every owner wants to get on social as fast as they can.

I love this because it’s recognized that social is a vital strategy to any brand.

What I have come to realize though is that as a small business owner (or entrepreneur) it is far too easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of energy and options presented by each platform. Layer on the fact that each is changing on a weekly, if not daily, basis the overwhelm is real.

When businesses are first starting out I almost never recommend having a presence on every platform. There are always special instances where it is possible though (say you have a team or the funds to outsource this).

You don’t need to be everywhere (unless you want to be)

Why you ask?

When you are first getting started capital and time can be limited so I always recommend spending the most time and effort on the channels that will bring you the highest ROI.

Also, with social I don’t define ROI as a purely monetary revenue. ROI on social can be in the form of brand awareness, relationship building and gaining customers in the consideration and research stages. Your strategy should account for this and include content for each stage.

 

How To Choose Your Platforms

Audience Research

Being where your customers already are is a major key to a successful social strategy.

So, how exactly do you start to find your audience?

A great place to start is to do a competitive audit. Simply measured is a great tool to start with and even provides some reports for free (they are fantastic options when just starting out). Doing a competitive audit will not only allow you to see where your competitors are putting their efforts but also provide you insights into their ROI and demographics.

Note - never hop on a social channel just because competitors are doing it. Make sure it aligns with your brand’s mission and checks the box for the rest of the needs in this post first.

Also, don’t ever assume your audience isn’t there just because many outlets are saying it. For a while it’s been trending that “kids” (under 18) aren’t on Facebook or Twitter, yet Twitter is actually the most frequently used app in certain high schools right now.

Action: always do your research within your niche/industry

 

Category

Think about your industry and category? If you are a highly visual brand or product you will naturally gravitate to Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook.

If during the purchase cycle you need to educate your consumer on what exactly your product does and how it solves their problem you may gravitate to Snapchat or Facebook. The ability to provide background, video and insights easily and potentially demonstrate your product could be your differentiator.

 

Content Production

Think about the types of content you’ll be able to produce on a regular basis. What types of images/copy/videos/articles will your business be known for? What can people come to expect from you?

Below are a few questions to get you thinking:

Are you a talented photographer or have access to one? Then producing beautiful photos on Instagram would be great.

Are you witty and have some copywriting talent? That’s a great way to stand out on Twitter.

Do you feel like you are the personality for your brand? Facebook live video and Snapchat are perfect for relationship building.

 

Have A Defined Purpose

Repurposing content across all your channels is an ok strategy to just get by but there is a better way.

Before engaging on a new channel define its purpose. Not all of your social profiles should do the same thing.

I’ll use myself as an example:

·       Facebook – I want to provide my content to learn from, inspire with quotes and thoughts

·       Twitter - I want to engage, give short thoughts and build relationships

·       Instagram - my goal is to provide an inside view into my life, travel and show my minimalist/essentialist way of life

·       YouTube (videos coming soon!) – I want to provide tutorials and insights into branding and digital strategy

 

Evaluate Your Resources

As I mentioned above some businesses will have the capacity and/or funds to be able to support a robust social media strategy. In this case, identify the most platforms that will give you an ROI on your efforts and go for it!

If you are limited on either resource (time or money) then you are going to want to make a list of everything you will need to create content and execute. Here are just a few items to evaluate:

·       How quickly can I concept content?

·       Do I have the right tools to create content?

·       Should I run ads on my platform? If so, how much can I allocate?

·       On a weekly basis when will I create content?

·       Will I have the availability to engage? (key to social!)

These are just a few of the questions and processes I pose to businesses when determining the best social strategies for their businesses.

Which of these do you struggle with? Where have you found success?