Alright, buckle in, because this is going to be a wild ride of an article. Trying to figure out where to start with social media can be a confusing journey. There are so many social media platforms to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which ones are right for your business.
You may wonder if your business needs a Snapchat, or if you should start tweeting every day. Often it gets very overwhelming and you either end up taking on too much or doing nothing at all. Also, keep in mind that building up your social media presence takes time and patience. You won’t get thousands of followers overnight – and don’t even think about buying fake ones. So, take a deep breath, hold our hand (we sanitized), and let’s walk through this together.
Let’s start by saying: You DON’T have to be on every social media channel. You want to come across as authentic, so you need to choose what is best for your brand, and for your customer.
Determine Your Target Audience.
Speaking of customers! Who are they? This is the first question you need to ask yourself: who makes up your audience and which social media networks do they use? Some basic questions can help you narrow this down:
- Which social media channels do they use most?
- How old are they?
- Are they female or male?
- Who and what brands do they follow on these channels?
- What type of content do they interact with the most?
Look at Your Existing Traffic Sources.
Doing this will allow you to explore which channels are driving your traffic. If you don’t have analytics set up, then you can skip this part. If you do, the Google Analytics Social & Network Referrals Search report provides you with an overview of which networks drive the most traffic to your site. Having this information will allow you to make more informed decisions about how to move forward. If you were thinking of starting a Pinterest account, but LinkedIn generates far more traffic and conversions, then you may consider either starting a new presence there or increasing your publishing frequency. Here are a few questions to help you better understand your social traffic:
- Which channels are getting you the most conversions?
- Which channels generate the most traffic to your site?
- What is the traffic pattern for each channel? E.g. Are Facebook users dropping off quicker than Instagram users?
Take a Close Look at Your Brand and Industry.
As mentioned above, you do not need to be on every single social media channel. Why? Because not only would that be insane, but not every social media channel aligns with your brand, industry, or the type of content you plan on creating. A good place to start is to ask yourself:
- Is my business B2B or B2C?
- Would my products perform better on visually-driven channels?
- Does my business produce enough visual content on a regular basis?
- Are there any other less popular social media channels that my business would perform better on?
Don’t worry, we will go more into this later!
Look into Your Competition.
This is simple enough luckily. See what channels your competition is using, and analyze how well their posts are performing.
- What channels are your competitors using?
- What channels are delivering the most engagement for them?
- What type of content on each channel drives the most engagement for them?
- How often are they posting?
- Who are their followers? Is this the target audience you had in mind? (The answer to this may require revisiting step 1)
What Content Works Best for Your Audience?
It is extremely important to look into what resources you’ll need to make your social media presence stand apart from the rest of your competition. Building out a professional and consistent presence may involve more resources than you think. And after examining your competitors’ channels, you now have a better idea of the type of content you’ll need to deliver for each channel and your posting frequency. Helpful questions:
- How many channels can you realistically take on within my budget?
- Do you have the time to consistently nurture and engage with your audience on one, or more channels?
- Are social media tools a good idea for your team?
- Do you have access to the right expertise to create the right content for these channels?
Determine Your Goals.
This very important step will help you determine which channels to join (or skip), and it also helps you shape the type of content you develop for your audience. Some of your goals may include increasing:
- Brand awareness online or offline
- Customer service
- Traffic to your website
- Conversions/revenue or leads
- Community building
The Best Part of this process is finally here.
It’s time to gather all of the answers to your questions and match your business with the channels that will help you achieve your goals. Not all social media channels reach the same people or deliver the same results. Again, we know it can be hard to navigate so we’ve taken some time to include some notes on the most popular channels.
- Best type of posts: High-quality images and videos
- Popular with millennials
- Great for companies that have highly visual content
- Great for companies that have high-quality video content
- Hard to pick up an organic following due to the algorithm
- Can be difficult to constantly have new content to post
- Best type of posts: Articles and high-quality images and videos
- Great reporting tools
- Largest social media audience
- Organic reach has gone down over the past few years
- Demo is millennials and older
- A lot of competition against other companies with higher spends
- Best type of posts: Quick blurbs, links, animated gifs
- Great for quick customer service
- Ideal for content promotion
- Can be difficult to beat the competition and reach your target audience
- Limited character length for posts
- Slow growth
- Best type of posts: Images geared towards females in beauty, food, diy, and travel
- Pins are hyperlinked to their source, making it easy to drive traffic to your site.
- Users can follow all your boards or just specific ones.
- Typically higher conversion rates.
- The network attracts a niche user.
- Requires a high number of daily pins to see results.
- Can run into copyright issues reposting others’ content
- Best type of posts: Company news, articles, job postings
- Best place to reach professionals
- Not too much competition
- Easy to communicate directly with users
- Users are not super active
- A lot of spam
- Best type of posts: Behind the scenes content and exclusive content
- Home to the most engaged users of any social media platform (via live streaming)
- Active audience
- Hard to measure ROI
- Primary user base is young without much income
- Best type of posts: High-quality videos
- Second largest search engine to google
- Content can be used across all channels
- Videos can be shared or posted easily
- Google ranks YouTube videos higher in search
- Hard to reach users directly
- May be difficult to produce high-quality videos on a consistent basis
Now that we’ve outlined all the basics, spend some time researching your industry and find out which platforms are most commonly used. The next step is to get to posting, if you’re feeling lost, give us a call. Our team of social media strategists would love to help you take your social presence to the next level!