One of the most common questions we get asked during our strategy training sessions or at networking events is;
“What social media networks should my business use”
There are hundreds if not thousands of active social media platforms with significant users across the world. Therefore it is no surprise that marketing managers and business owners can be confused as to which ones to use to promote their business.
It is an important question for businesses to get right to make sure they are getting the most from their marketing and not wasting time on ineffective networks.
Answering this question is one of the key components of a social media marketing strategy, as it revolves around defining your target audience and finding where it is active, engaged and ready to talk to you.
The Questions To Ask To Find Your Platforms
The right social media platforms for your business depend on a number of different factors around your business. By answering the questions below you can start building the niche.
Who Is Your Target Market and What Platforms Do They Use?
Many social media networks are used by specific demographics which typically evolve and mature over time.
Platforms gain popularity, in a young or teenage market, but as time passes adoption increases and they go mainstream. Something we have seen on Facebook, Twitter and most recently Instagram.
This is not a hard and fast rule, particularly for specialist social media networks or those that grow by capturing a niche.
A good example of this is Pinterest which started off with an audience dominated by middle aged women interested in crafts and shopping, but has started to grow towards the mainstream.
What Social Media Networks Do Your Customers Use
Hopefully this will be the same as those of your target market, but not necessarily, a great place to start is by speaking to your existing customers formally or informally to see where they are most active online. If you have multiple demographics in your customer base, try and segment them as much as possible so you can identify patterns of behaviour for specific customer sets.
Are You Selling A Physical Product?
If your business is selling a physical product then predominantly visual social media networks such as Pinterest and Instagram are going to pivotal, providing that your target market are active on these platforms of course.
How Many Platforms Do You Have Time For?
Time is the enemy of the marketing manager or business owner, with so many marketing opportunities there is not enough time to do every potential option for a particular company.
Instead you should define how much time you have available for social media and commit to the platforms most likely to work for your business.
Finally Do Your Own Research
The headline demographics of a social media network do not tell the whole story. For eample just to confuse things, whereas Pinterest’s audience is largely female worldwide, in the UK the gender usage of the site is nearly equal and users are younger than in the rest of the world.
Meaning that for those marketing products with the DIY or hobby markets to men the platform may have some value. The only way to find out for sure is to do some research and see if you can find activity and a community that relates to your business within the platform.