Choosing which social media platforms you should use for your business can be a daunting task. Do you need to have a Facebook page, Twitter account and LinkedIn? Or should you sign up for Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram?
Most businesses struggle with determining which platform to use as they consider social media marketing. It’s helpful if you start by clearly defining your marketing goals. Are you looking to drive sales, increase customer retention or want to increase awareness for events? Depending on your goals and your type of business, the answer may vary.
When it comes down to it, social media is like any other form of advertising, so you have to have a specific goal in mind before you start. Having a solid idea of what you want to get out of social media marketing will help you decide not only which platforms are best for you but also how much time it will take to get the expected results.
Each social media platform tends to cater to certain ages and groups of people. Demographics such as age, gender, income and interests are all important in targeting users of social media.
Main Social Media Sites
Facebook – users create profiles, upload photos & video, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues. The site has more than one billion users with the majority of current users being between the ages of 18-49. But, out of all the social media sites, Facebook is experiencing the fastest increase in users aged 50 and above.
Twitter – a microblogging network of real-time posts limited to 140 characters or less. It is used mainly as a way of communicating quickly and staying up-to-date on information. There are over 360 million active accounts. Twitter tends to be most popular among those under the age of 50.
LinkedIn – designed specifically for the business community, LinkedIn allows members to connect with others they know and trust professionally. The site has more than 97 million members. College graduates dominate the use of the site as it is a great way to network and job search. It is the only platform where those aged 30-64 are more likely to be users.
Pinterest – an online pin board driven entirely by visuals. People collect and organize photos, articles and other content according to areas of interest. It is similar to having an online scrapbook. The site has about 100 million users and is drastically more popular with women under the age of 50.
Instagram – a mobile photo and video sharing network that has about 300 million users used mainly to share pictures from your daily life with friends. Instagram tends to be more popular among Millenials.
The Need For Constant Feeding
One critical factor to consider before taking the plunge into social media is that any platform you use is not “set it and forget it.” Social media is a content hungry beast that requires constant feeding.
To successfully utilize any social media requires posting regularly, responding to comments and reviews and interacting with other pages. So, you will need to figure out who will handle the demand for regularly developing relevant content and managing the dissemination.
The worst mistake you can make with social media is setting up an account, being active for a few months then letting the tumbleweeds gather because you don’t have time to maintain it.
Social media marketing is a great way for businesses to put themselves out there and interact with their clients but it is called “social” media for a reason. Make sure you’ve done your research and have a plan and time allotted to making it work for your business. If you don’t have the time to put into running the accounts, you may want to consider outsourcing your social media efforts.