How To Choose The Best Social Media Channel For Your Business

social media time management and web strategy concept with a clock and social network word and sign printed in multiple colors 3d render image.
Marketing your business on Social Media can be overwhelming, sometimes, even for those of us familiar with it. So many choices…where do you begin?
Everyone has an opinion and advice, and most offer it up with the best of intentions (often without being asked 🙂 ). Your friends, your family have all told you that you need to get your business onto social media. It is the best way to build your business. It’s where your customers are. Everyone else is one there….why aren’t you?
Sound familiar?

They might be right. But, what about your most precious resource…time? Where do you start in order to make the best use of your time and get the best return on your investment of that time?
My advice, first take a deep breath, step back, turn off your cell phone, clear your mind and relax. (The turning off the cell phone thing should be ignored if you are expecting that million dollar order….just sayin.)

First Steps

Think about…Who is your target customer? Not just your potential customer, but your very best customer. What are they like? Where will they hang out online? Will they even be on social media? If you do decide to jump into the social media arena what are you trying to accomplish?
So, first steps…know your “best” customer and know where they might be on social media, and what results are you looking for from social?
Next, what kind of resources do you have to commit? Who is going to be responsible for your social marketing? If you, is this good use of your time to grow your business? Can you start out on one social channel or do you need to be on multiple?
And don’t forget to check out what your competition is doing, where are they active on social media and what kind of content/activity are  they sending out. If they have been doing this for a while, what do they appear to be doing over and over – this may be a good clue as to what is working for them?
The important thing here is not that you know all the answers to those questions. Many times in business we don’t know the answer…at least at the beginning….we just make our best educated guess based upon the information. But, the most important thing is that you take the time to think about it before getting started.
I am often reminded in my own life what Abe Lincoln said, “Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 hours sharpening the axe”. Great advice. So, step 1, establish a plan.
OK. You have asked yourself the questions and you have decided you are jumping into social media, but which is the best channel for you?
The following is an overview of the different social channels and some general advice to help you decide which might be best for you. Again, these are generalities – there are exceptions to every rule. And, remember, you don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great. So – let’s get started. 🙂
IMPORTANT: My one rule is that it is always better to do one social channel well rather than try many and not do any of them well. Unfortunately, I see many businesses start out using the latter strategy.

Some Facts

Here are some stats that might help, but remember these do change constantly so use them as a guideline only.
  • Facebook: largest active user base – 53% of users are female – 7% of user are between 25-34 years old
  • Twitter: 31% of the population on Twitter is between 18 – 29 years old
  • Instagram: 68% of Instagram users are females – 37% are between 18 – 29 years old
  • Google+: Average age of Google+ users is 25 – 34 years old – Over 67% of Google+ users are male
  • YouTube: YouTube reaches more 18 – 34 year olds than any cable network
  • Pinterest: 84% of Pinterest users are women
So, what could we conclude.
Pinterest – this might be the easiest decision. If your target customer is primarily female and if you can market and promote your products visually then Pinterest is the place to start, with Facebook or Instagram possible second choices.
LinkedIn – if you are in the B2B sector – in other words you do business with other businesses and not directly with the consumer then LinkedIn is your first choice. It is the largest network for professionals and is a great resource. Facebook might be a second choice.
Facebook – In terms of sheer audience size it is no contest. Facebook has almost 1.3 Billion active users. But, are they the right users? User base appears to be skewing a little older as the kids move away from the “grown-up” channel to what they consider to be “hipper” channels like Instagram. Probably better for B2C.
Twitter – Majority of users are on mobile so if that is a target for you, then give Twitter a try.
Google+ – Users tend to be more male and more tech oriented.
YouTube – If using video to promote/sell your products or service is effective then again this may be an easy choice for you. You might also want to check out Vine which is helping to re-invent the way we view video for marketing.

Goals and Conclusions

Once you have chosen your channels, you need to sit down and write down those goals.

They might be how many clicks, favorites, RT, likes, followers, +1’s you want to achieve after 1 month, 2 months or 3 months (whatever time span you choose). But, whatever they are make sure they are realistic goals.

Review every month, maybe each week at the beginning, to see how you are doing. You will need to be actively putting out content, growing your following, commenting on others content and sharing their content daily to see results.

If over time you are not achieving your goals then re-evaluate. Are you on the wrong social media channel, is the wrong target audience following you, are you not putting out the right content to connect with your target audience etc…

As you can see…lots of choice with no one channel being perfect for everyone….but with some planning, thought and activity you will find the right one for your business.

So, I hope this has been of some help. If you have any questions or comments please let me know. I love to hear from you.

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