Which social media channel’s right for my business?

Today every business knows that having a presence on social media is essential.  Social media builds relationships with your audience, encourages word of mouth recommendation, enhances your brand and draws in consumers. The problem is knowing which network to use. Image of mobile phone screen with social media app iconsChoosing the right social media channel is vital, and having the resources and time to nurture it is essential to its success.

Where to start?

Not all channels are right for all businesses; you need to evaluate them based on your specific business needs.

  1. What are your goals? Do you want to increase sales? Offer a different form of customer service? Build relationships and loyalty?
  2. Can you create great content? What type of content will you want to publish?
  3. Know your audience – where are they spending time online?

The answers to these questions will help identify the channels that are more likely to work best for your business.

Choose the right channel

One way to determine whether a channel might be right for your business, is to look at what your competitors are doing. Identifying the social media channels that they are active (or inactive) on will help you determine the best ‘fit’ for your business.

Take the time to review the huge variety of channels, mainstream and niche, that are available including:

LinkedIn

Useful for B2B connections, LinkedIn is the business networking site. Great for growing your contacts list and sharing your business expertise with 467 million members.

Facebook

Probably the most powerful social media platform in the world, Facebook is almost guaranteed to have a positive impact for businesses with 1.79 billion monthly active users. But Facebook is not geared for selling, it’s about building relationships with potential customers giving them a chance to see ‘behind the brand’ and develop a more personal relationship with you. It can often be difficult to get your message across without investing in advertising,

Twitter

For instant reactions and ‘in the moment’ marketing Twitter works best, especially for things like customer services, responding to queries or giving customers an opportunity to share feedback! With 317 million monthly active users Twitter is a channel used by business, government, celebrities and individuals.

 Pinterest

A visually orientated niche network with a mainly female audience and clear categories of popular interest where people share things they love, Pinterest works well for certain businesses.   Pinterest has 100 million active users, and two thirds of its content comes from retail sites and blogs.

Instagram

Based entirely on photo and video posts, Instagram has 600 million active users. The platform distinguishes itself with photo and video editing options and is almost entirely mobile based. Artistic niche businesses tend to excel on Instagram where they can cultivate followers with intriguing images and popular hashtags.

Snapchat

With over 150 million users and a mobile only platform, Snapchat is ‘in the moment marketing’. Build your audience and then share content with them specifically.  All content is temporary so it is easy to create quick posts, which your audience can save and share elsewhere.

YouTube

The video sharing platform has over a billion users. Most businesses sharing content on YouTube have educational, visual or creative services, but you can also work with existing YouTubers who have established audiences for product placement and endorsements.

And then there’s the rest!

Then there are hundreds of others including Google+, WhatsApp, Foursquare, Flickr, Tumblr, Viber and Reddit, which if you work within a niche market may serve your business better.

Make it a success

Social media marketing is about cultivating an audience, building credibility, trust and ultimately revenue.  To do this you must be active, engaged and consistently publishing relevant high quality content.

Each channel is different and will require different content and different approaches to engage your audience. Don’t assume that content posted on Facebook can just be shared on Twitter, it doesn’t work. Instead choose the channel/s that you want to focus on and then develop a strategy for success on both, tailoring your content to suit.  Social media should be an integral part of your marketing strategy; used correctly it will underpin and amplify your marketing activities.

Top tip!

Avoid the temptation to be on multiple channels at the start.  Once you have one working successfully with a loyal following, it will be easier to expand and experiment with different platforms and content.  If you need help determining what will work best for you, then give us a call, and we can help guide you through the social media maze.