Many small businesses are yet to fully understand social media channels and how they can affect their marketing processes. Apart from the fact that social media can give your business visibility, you can drive awareness and gain new customers both locally and globally. A properly executed social media strategy can improve your search rankings, drive more website traffic, and increase conversion rates.
Running a business on social media can be pretty overwhelming, and even gets confusing. Yes, there are many social media channels to choose from, but before you jump on any of these several platforms. You need to ask questions about how each platform affects your business. Does your business need a Twitter account? Is Snapchat the right social media app to expand your brand?
Using social listening, as a business owner, you need to take out time to conduct an analysis of each of these social media platforms and find ones that can effectively grow your brand’s reach. And your business necessarily does not have to be on every platform. The best approach is to choose social media channels that are relevant to your brand and where you can find most of your targeted audience or customers. Others factors to consider while choosing a social media platform include your industry, demographic data and social media strategy. Here are some tips that should influence your decision when picking a social media channel that works for your business:
Choosing the best social media channels for your business
Know your Target Customers
The first step to choosing a social media channel for your business is knowing your target audience, and what channels they are mostly active on. If your customers spend more time on LinkedIn, then it’s not necessary to waste marketing budget on harnessing Snapchat.
When defining your target customers, use your existing customer personas as a starting point and extend each of these to their online social profiles. Make good use of your demographic data, for instance, maintaining a Linkedin account for your business could be deemed a wasted effort if your largest customer segment is composed of 18-year olds. As a small business owner, with a limited marketing budget, you can’t afford to waste resources chasing social media efforts that don’t get you the desired brand reach.
Run an Analysis of your Competition’s Online Activity
Analyse your industry, and what current social media channels your competition is optimising to drive awareness of their brand. You should remember that not all social media channels will align with what your brand message is about or the content your audience on a particular channel craves for.
For instance, visually-driven industries like fashion, cosmetology and dining gravitate toward Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. They should be the most optimised social channels. They have very visual interfaces and rely more on pictures and videos than text, and are where fashion enthusiasts spend their time on. Also, they are more likely to engage much more with your content than on twitter because it is a better fit.
There are important questions to ask while analysing the channels your competitors are using: What channels are your competitors using? Are there channels that are delivering the most engagements? What type of content on each channel drives the most engagement? To answer these questions, you can use social monitoring tools to track their online activity.
Conduct Research on all the Social Media Channels
Even though there are several social media channels you can choose from, it’s essential that you properly take note of what would work well for your brand or niche. However, each channel has its pros and cons, including the type of content that performs best.
For instance, a lot of small and medium businesses have launched on Facebook because it has both a global and local appeal. And the content works well on Facebook, includes traditional text, images, and videos, as well as live videos and Stories to encourage interaction from your users. While Instagram is more of a visual app, long boring texts might not work there, and to gain attention there, you would have to post high-quality images to showcase what your brand does.
Content on Twitter is slightly different. Unlike other channels, Twitter limits each tweet to 280 characters, so your message has to be concise. Although you can also communicate with GIFs along with images and videos too to grab attention, your caption has to draw them in. After conducting your research on all the social media channels you plan to optimise, the next step is to create a social media content strategy that aligns with your brand messaging for each of the platforms you have chosen.
Determine Your Social Media Goals
The next step involves determining what results from you expect from your social media strategy. This step helps you determine which channels to join or leave and define the type of content you can create for your audience.
Your social media goals may include:
· Brand awareness online or offline
· Customer service
· Traffic to your website
· Conversions/revenue or leads
· Community building
These metrics can differ and depend on what matters most to your business and the desired result you wish to achieve with each of these chosen channels. Certain social media channels can deliver certain types of results. For instance: As a B2B, LinkedIn can help you network with your professional circle, prospects and partners, generate leads and top your audience engagement in a way that Facebook or other channels cannot. Also, suppose your brand is a B2C, and you are looking to increase sales or conversions. In that case, Pinterest, Facebook Pages, Google My Business, Foursquare, Twitter, Instagram for Brands, Blog is your best bet.
As a business owner, it is okay to prioritize your social investment. Many social networks exist, but finding what works for your business should determine the channels that work.