The amount of social media networks out there today can seem overwhelming at times. It is extremely beneficial for businesses to be active and present on multiple forms of social media. However, it takes a significant time investment to keep up with every social network out there. So, how do you know which networks are worth your time and which ones will not provide you with as many benefits?
We’ve mentioned before about the importance of being active on social media. While we do recommend at least having an account on most platforms, trying to actively post one or multiple times a day on every account is not always in the cards for a company.
On average, most companies spend about 6 hours per week on their social media marketing and management. This typically breaks down to an hour or so every day. If you only have an hour to dedicate to maintaining your presence on social networks, you need to be sure the ones you choose will reach the highest amount of qualified people to achieve your marketing goals.
How Do I Choose the Right Social Networks for My Business?
1. Determine your ideal customer through a buyer persona
The first step to choosing which social networks will be best for your business is to determine who your ideal customer is. This is best done by creating a buyer persona for this person.
This buyer persona is created through research performed on current and non-current customers alike. By asking them questions, you will be able to find out who they are, where they work, what their life is like, what they need, and what questions they have.
Nothing you do in any kind of inbound marketing - including social media - will be effective without this information.
Buyer Personas are an important tool in any Inbound Marketing Strategy. Download your free Buyer Persona template here!
2. Use your buyer persona to find out where your ideal customer “hangs out” online
After you have determined who your ideal customer is through a buyer persona, you should be able to find out where this person “hangs out” online.
- If your ideal customer is a Millennial, you would probably consider focusing on Instagram since over 90% of Instagram users are 35 and under
- If your ideal customer is a Baby Boomer, you might instead focus on Facebook because 84% of that generation have and use Facebook
- If women are your ideal customer and your product matches the profile, Pinterest would be a good option since 42% of all women online use the network.
By taking the time to research where your ideal customer spends their time online, you can focus more on those areas when developing your social media content and campaigns.
3. Find out what type of content your ideal customer is most likely to consume
Once you have figured out where your ideal customer is most likely to spend their time on social media, you can then determine what type of social media content they are more likely to consume.
- If you are a company who caters to businesses or industries, you may find your ideal customer spends their time on a professional networking site like LinkedIn. In that case, they may be more likely to respond to professional articles or business offers for content.
- If your ideal customer is someone in Generation X you might notice that they tend to use Twitter less than younger generations, so you could publish to Facebook instead. However, you could also notice that the amount of Generation Xers who prefer to use desktop is almost equal to the amount who prefer to use mobile for social media, so you would need to ensure your content was viewable on both platforms.
When creating content for social media, you need to determine not only what type of content your ideal customer prefers, but also how they prefer to use the social networks in the first place.
4. Choose the social media network or networks that will meet your customer where they “hang out” and allow you to share content they will consume
You will then take all the information you have compiled and choose the social network or networks that best fits the profile of your ideal customer from your buyer persona.
Remember, you should try to have a presence on the most popular social networks, but unless you have unlimited resources dedicated to social content creation and maintenance, it’s ok to focus your efforts on the one or two networks that will provide you the largest return.
Each network has different abilities, so choose the ones that work best for your company:
- Largest social network at over 2 billion users
- Share blogs, photos, and video
- Highly targeted advertising options
- Good customer service tool
- Options for live videos
- 330 million active users
- Limited characters make it ideal for quick updates or news
- Many people reach out to brands with customer service inquiries
- Good way to show your brand personality
- Trending hashtags help marketers to reach out to users
- Over 800 million active users
- Share photos, videos, 24-hour stories, and live streaming
- Recently incorporated links to websites for shop now or learn more
- Generate interest and engagement by showing people using your product instead of just the product
- Opportunity to take advantage of influencer marketing
- 467 million active users
- Tends to be used for business purposes and professional networking
- Share industry tips and advice, new products, blog posts, and service promotion
- Recommended for B2B companies
- 250 million active users
- Mainly used for sharing photos
- Good for companies with products or services that can be captured in a sharable image - design, fashion, cooking, photography, etc.
- Links can lead back to products on a site which provides good opportunities for CTAs
- 1.5 billion active users
- Video Sharing platform
- Good for companies who can offer how tos, tutorials, installations, tours, etc.
- Videos can be shared on other social platforms
5. Measure your results and make any necessary changes
Finally, after you have spent some time posting on your chosen sites, you can measure your social media marketing metrics . These numbers will tell you if your strategy is producing a return or if you need to adjust your methods. Adjustments can range from content changes to switching to a different social network.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works for your company. Social media is ever-changing and even if something works at first, you might find months later it needs to be adjusted.
Determining which social network is best for your company isn’t a black and white answer. However, with some research and some trial and error, you can determine which networks to focus on to reach your ideal customer with their ideal content.
What works for one company may not work for another, so you need to take the time to do the work and find out which one will provide the highest return for your business.
The best way to determine if your social media marketing is effective is by measuring the correct marketing metrics. Download our Marketing Metrics calculator to figure out the numbers that matter!