Social Media Platforms for Your Business
August 15th, 2014

How to Choose the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Business

by Ashley Bullin

There are a multitude of social networks to choose from, from all the most popular ones like Facebook and Twitter to others on the rise such as SnapChat and Vine. But how do you know which platforms will provide the best ROI for your business? Fortunately, we can help you figure it out. Determining factors such as industry, target audience and types of content you wish to share are all part of a comprehensive social media strategy, and should be top considerations when deciding the best social platforms for your business. Let’s go through it step by step.

Take a step back and really analyze your target audience. What generation do they belong to—are they Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers, Millennials or do they fall somewhere else? Doing research on their overall values, behaviors and what types of content they prefer to see will go a long way. Determine the most active audiences on each social network and compare that against your target demographic. For example, Facebook is aging—it’s the most appropriate platform to reach older users (65+). And age isn’t the only factor to consider. Gender, education level, geographic location and more should come into play as well.

Consider what types of content your target audience prefers to view. Is it visual or written? It is images or videos? Is it user-generated or company-based? Get to know what types of content are most prevalent on each social network. Facebook has a strong mix of all types, Twitter is mostly text although images play a role too, Pinterest and Instagram are all visual, YouTube is all video and LinkedIn is all business. The type of content your company is mostly likely to share should match the respective network. For example, Ecommerce websites with a primary focus on visual content are ideal for Pinterest—as you can drive users directly to your site with an image, and potentially even convert them into paid customers. Think about what your company does, and consider what balance of text, image and video would best facilitate your products or services. From there, choosing social networks should be relatively simple.

Knowing your target audience and what types of content you’ll share with them will help you determine what networks are best for your business. But also take into account your industry—are you a B2C (business to consumer) or B2B (business to business) company? Keep in mind networks such as LinkedIn, which is a great resource for B2B companies. Known as the business-oriented social networking site, it’s an ideal place for B2B companies to find new prospects, highlight recent accolades and spread the word on their products or services. B2C companies aren’t necessarily right for LinkedIn, whereas they are probably more suited for networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook is ideal for local businesses, as customer will seek out your page for updates, opening times, events and more. It’s a great site to interact with audiences of all ages, offer customer service and showcase your products or services. An important aspect to keep in mind when using Facebook, however, is that your updates are only seen by a small percentage of your overall fans. This is why paid advertising plays such a large role—you can pinpoint your target audience (including your current fans and beyond) and show them important content such as special promotions or company announcements. It’s also necessary to post frequently and stay active on Facebook; brands that post multiple times a day experience higher levels of engagement compared to those who don’t.

Even if your business is small, or has a unique niche, you can still find an audience on Twitter. It’s one of the most active social networks, with over 340 million tweets per day. Your followers can see everything you tweet, unless you tweet someone directly. Tweets, which are comprised of 140 characters or less, are easy to create—and because they’re so short, they’re not very time consuming. It’s possible to become an active player on Twitter in just 15 minutes a day! And by utilizing popular and relevant hashtags, you can get your message in front of other users beyond your current followers. You may even utilize paid advertising opportunities such as Promoted Tweets to show targeted users your content, or Promoted Accounts to increase your following.

When it comes to deciding where you’ll spend your time on social media, listen to your gut. Are there any social networks on the rise that you feel are a great match for your business? How are your existing platforms doing? Which ones are getting the most traction? Evaluate your website analytics to understand whether social activity (either yours or user-generated) is a major driver of visits to your site. If you’ve done your homework and are confident you’re utilizing a social media platform appropriately, don’t continue to spend the bulk of your time on it if it’s just not getting you the type of results you had wished for.

Whether it’s time to reevaluate your social media strategy, or start from scratch, Sage Island can help. Our savvy team of marketers knows the ins and outs of each social network, and can match your company’s goals to the most appropriate platforms—or even devise a comprehensive content plan for you. Give us a call today to get started.