How to choose the right social media platform for your business?
You’ve probably heard it before: “you need to advertise on social media!”
But where to start and what to post on which platform? With so many social media channels to choose from, it can be daunting to pick the right one for your business, whilst reaching the specific audience you want. It may be tempting to be active on all the platforms at once, but do you really need to?
The right answer is: it depends on your business, your target audience, and the industry you’re in.
Having an adequate social media strategy will help you determine where you need to be active, and which platforms you may want to skip. Social media channels have gone a long way since the early stages where they were mostly focused on social networking and image sharing – nowadays they have expanded to incorporate live streaming, augmented reality, shopping, social audio, and more.
4 key points you should first consider these to choose the right social media platform for your business:
What is your audience like?
Even if you aren’t currently on social media, chances are that your customers are. Where are they most active, online? Defining your target market is key to understanding where you need to post, based on sociodemographic factors such as age, gender, lifestyle, location, income levels etc. Basically, you need to figure out who are your ideal potential customers and whether they would be willing to buy your products/services.
You could also consider more personal characteristics too, such as:
- Is my product/service affordable to them?
- Does it solve any problems they have? Are they beneficial to them?
- Is my product/service easily accessible?
- Will I be able to get my message across effectively?
- Am I fully aware of what drives my market’s ability to make decisions?
Remember, it is always possible to have more than one target market, and each niche will have their own marketing message that you need to get across.
Asking your customers for feedback or reviews is always a sure-fire way to know exactly what they’re thinking. You could then use the information gathered to improve your marketing strategy based on your target market and what they’re looking for.
What are your goals?
Once you understand your target audience, you need to find goals for that audience. Obviously, as a business-owner, your primary goal would be to sell your products/services, but think slightly beyond that. There are other creative goals for social media, such as increasing brand awareness, creating a community and connecting with both customers and potential customers alike, sales/lead generation, increasing website traffic, or even providing customer support.
A rookie mistake is to often define goals based on the number of followers you want to have on social media; that’s more a vanity metric. Instead, consider the channels that will benefit you in fostering high levels of engagement with your followers.
What are the types of content on each channel?
This is where knowing your target market really comes in. You won’t set up a Snapchat account if your primary customers are mostly older working professionals, right? You should also pick around only 2-3 platforms and really commit to them; there’s no use in dedicating all your time and effort into trying to build a following on all of them. Ultimately, it’s all about quality, not quantity.
Based on your goals, having the most adequate social media platform will be the game-changer. Setting clear objectives to measure your ROI is pivotal in understanding how well your social media campaigns are doing, which can be measured by clicks, fans, followers, retweets, check-ins, views, and more.
Instead of writing down all the social media platforms and their respective features (you probably are already aware of them anyway), here’s a list of the different types of social media posts and formats, and how they’re used.
Platforms: YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Stories and Reels, Facebook Watch
Used for: Watching videos in short and long formats
Why: Capturing attention, driving brand awareness, and bringing products to life in a way that still photos can’t. Any video content that you publish should be designed to entertain, educate, and/or inspire your audience. Videos made purely to sell aren’t going to engage viewers.
Platforms: Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, LinkedIn Stories
Used for: Sending ephemeral messages privately and publishing limited, in-the-moment content for all of your followers to view for up to 24 hours
Why: Good for posting short, momentary content such as announcements, limited edition items, or live events.
Here are some ideas for how your business can use disappearing content:
- Polls, voting (using interactive Stories stickers)
- Teasers/countdowns to product/service launches
- Behind-the-scenes content
- Time-sensitive announcements
Shoppable social media platforms and features
Platforms: Facebook Shops, Instagram Shops, TikTok, Shopify, Pinterest Product Pins
Used for: Researching and purchasing products from brands directly through social media platforms
Why: Allows customers to purchase your products directly without having to leave a social media app. Shopping features also allow you to tag products, add additional product info and drive traffic to your website.
Platforms: Twitch, YouTube, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, TikTok
Used for: Broadcasting live video to many viewers. Live video streams can range from one person showing themselves and what they’re doing on their screen to professionally organised panels with multiple speakers.
Why: Live streams became hugely popular during the pandemic when people were stuck at home during lockdowns with nothing to do and nowhere to go. However, you don’t need a global pandemic to get viewers to watch your live streams, you just need good content, which could include exclusive product reveals, interviews, behind-the-scenes content etc. Live streams also offer the opportunity for users to interact live with the hosts, so it’s vital to monitor and engage with comments during the stream.
B2B social media
Platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter
Used for: Connecting with professionals in your industry or potential clients
Why: Many different uses, including recruiting and hiring talent, building B2B relationships, and connecting with professionals in your niche, as well as connecting with new audiences or meeting them where they go to network and do business.
Platforms: Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, blogs
Used for: Searching for information and finding inspiration for anything from cooking to travel to decorating to shopping and more.
Why: Curate visuals and inspire your target audience with content tailored to their preferences, and weave in your own products where relevant. Also note that these platforms are well-optimised for search, which means your posts should include keywords, hashtags, and images in order to improve visibility.
Platforms: Facebook podcast, Clubhouse, Apple podcast, Spotify
Used for: Listening to live conversations on specific topics.
Why: Lively, engaging conversations can help you build your image as a leader in your niche and introduce your business or products to valuable audiences already interested in topics related to your niche (otherwise, they wouldn’t be tuning in).
What are your relevant skills and resources available?
It ultimately comes down to which objectives are relevant to your business or brand, so choosing the right platform depends heavily on the type of business you have or the industry you’re in. Not only is it crucial to align your business’ needs with the correct social channels, but it’s also critical that you have both the expertise and tools to successfully use it. Each social media platform has its own features, pros and cons, so there are plenty of marketing tools available to generate content for your business. Brainstorm your strengths, and identify the best platform that combines both your relevant skills and what your business needs.
If you’re still feeling stuck and want a professional’s opinion, we would be delighted to help you. At Design Lounge Ltd, we are highly skilled in social media marketing and advertising, and can provide insight into how you can meet your businesses’ short- and long-term social media marketing goals. Get in touch with us and we’ll guide you through the whole process.