My clients frequently ask me what is the best social media channel for their business. In addition, they wonder if they need to be active on all the social media channels.

Which is better Twitter or Facebook?

Everybody says Snapchat is the next big thing, should we be on it?

What is Pinterest all about?

It can be overwhelming for businesses. However, successful and effective social media marketing can be simplified and tailored to your specific needs. Here are some pointers to help you Choose the Best Social Media Channel for your Business.

The good news is that you don’t need to be active on every single social media channel. In fact, that could actually do more harm than good. You will probably not be able to maintain high quality content on a number of channels. As a result you could end up damaging your brand and business image. The best strategy is to select the social media channels that are especially relevant for your business and focus on those. Your decision should be influenced by three key factors, your target audience, your business and the social media strategy that suits you best.

#1. Your Target Audience

  • First of all, clearly define the potential customers you want to reach.
  • Then, identify the social media networks they are most likely to use.

Its common sense to put your message in front of the people most interested in it, and most like to convert interest into sales.

So, if for example young men are your target audience, then Pinterest would not be a suitable channel. You might chose to reach this demographic using YouTube or Facebook. However it would be important to consider Pinterest if you want to get your message out to women over 30 years of age. To younger women, Instagram or Snapchat would be more suitable options.

Its also useful to review the social media activity of big brands targeting a similar audience to you. Identify what social media channels they use, follow them and learn from their activity.

#2. Your Business

Some social media channels will work better than others for your business. First of all take a look at what channels are currently driving traffic to your business. Then think about how you can improve on this. Consider the type of content you will be producing. Think about the format you will use, as well as the tone or brand voice. Is your content mostly visual or text based? Will video form an key part of your content? Will you be using similar content on a number of channels?

  • Facebook has the largest and broadest audience. However, it is vital that you commit to providing valuable, engaging, shareable content, not just promotional posts, to make sure your posts reach your target audience.
  • Activity related businesses such as holiday resorts, visitor attractions, DIY stores, or hair and beauty businesses can benefit from using You Tube. You can showcase products, services, tips and “how to” tutorials in short, shareable videos.
  • By using hashtags on Twitter you can leverage off trending topics to promote your business to an audience already engaged on that topic, your target audience. Its also super for social listening and delivering top quality customer service through engaging directly with clients.
  • The people who use Pinterest are very interested in topics related to food and recipes, event planning, home decor, crafts and gardening. The highly shareable nature of top quality content on Pinterest can help it be a key traffic driver for you. It also has the highest browser to conversion rate of all social media platforms.
  • For Fashion and Food businesses, the highly visual nature of Instagram has proven to be very successful. Using hashtags can expand the reach of your message beyond your own followers, to others interested in what you have to say.
  • If you are targeting B2B business then LinkedIn should be part of your social media strategy. It is also very useful to access thought leadership content related to your business and sector, as well as developing your network and peer support through discussion and groups.
  • Snapchat is the darling of younger audiences. It gives ‘behind the scenes’ access which is hugely popular. This offers the opportunity of one-on-one engagement, it’s worth considering if you are in the events or experiential sectors. Snapchat appears offer a more real experience than the carefully curated content found on more established social media channels.
  • Google+ is often overlooked. Its mostly used by older men, and is most popular in the engineering, software and design sectors. As it is linked to Google Search it can be useful in driving traffic to your website.

#3. Your Social Media Strategy

You have now decided on your target audience, identified their preferred social media channels, and decided which of those best suits your business and key message. Next you have to devise a social media strategy for each channel you want to use. Consider the following when devising your strategy.

  • How often should you post, and when should you post?

This depends on the platform, and on your ability to produce relevant content. With Twitter, the more you tweet the more opportunity you have to engage with your audience. However with Facebook, over posting can quickly become annoying. Listen to your audience. Monitor your social media activity to see when audience engage and at what post or tweet level that engagement drops. That will indicate the sweetspot for your business.

  • What type of content will you publish?

Audience love visual content. Images, short videos, GIF’s are highly engaging and widely shared. You need to have a highly visual social media strategy.

When producing content consider if you can use it on more than one channel. Try to produce evergreen or seasonal content to extend its lifespan. Republishing high quality content can reward your initial effort with repeated reach and engagement. 
  • What proportion of your posts will purely promotional?

Be clear on the goal of your each of your posts. Are you building brand awareness, promoting brand loyalty or using this post to generate leads and drive sales. Make sure that the majority of the content you post is entertaining, engaging and useful for your audience. Build up a relationship with your audience and trust in your business. This will make your audience more positively disposed to a sales message when it appears.

  • How will you measure the effectiveness of your social media activity?

All of the social media channels have analytics that allow you to see how your activity is performing. You can see what type of content interests your audience, when they are most active online. You can even benchmark your business against competitors to see how you measure up. Set goals, monitor, measure and review your strategy until you get it right for you.

  • Automate your social media activity

Once you have developed a bank of high quality content you can automate your publication schedule, making it far less time consuming. You will still need to monitor, respond and add timely content to your social media channels. However, by setting up the bulk of your content to automatically publish using Hootsuite, Co-Scheduler or any of the other automation software or apps available you will deliver great content on multiple social channels with minimal time commitment.

Over to you now. Did you find this article useful? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.