I hear this question a lot. You may be surprised to hear that the answer is not “all of them,” or even “most of them.” It’s a simple question, but the answer is not as simple as you might think. When you’re trying to establish your brand’s social media presence, it’s important to take a look at three key factors to determine which networks are best for you.
Key Factor #1: Where’s My Audience?
Do you primarily sell to consumers, or to other businesses? What age range are your customers in? Are they primarily homemakers or working professionals? Taking an hour or so now to really figure out who you’re trying to reach will save you a lot of time and frustration further down the line.
Once you’ve determined who your customer is, you need to figure out which networks they use. This post from Social Media Examiner gives some great tips on how to determine which networks are best for you. Really take some time here and determine the best one or two networks for your business. (This is where I insert a shameless plug for your friendly social media experts at David Hamilton Design, who are happy to help you figure this all out.)
Key Factor #2: What Do I Have to Share?
Are you in a very visual industry, like interior design or art? Can you help people with how-to articles for complex subjects like electronics or home repair? Is your company active in high-adrenaline, fast-paced areas like motor sports or outdoor adventuring? Analyzing your business and what types of content you create is incredibly important. Just being on a social media network isn’t enough; you need to be able to share interesting content that viewers will want to see. While you can get by just sharing others’ content, you’ll get far better results if you’re sharing original content.
You’ll want to choose a network or networks that are a good fit for the types of content you’ll be producing. Do you have a lot of videos? YouTube or Vimeo is going to be great for you, especially when combined with a Facebook page. Do you take a lot of interesting photos? Check out Instagram or Pinterest. Are you more comfortable with the written word instead of visual ones? Try adding a blog to your website, answering questions on Quora, or posting articles to LinkedIn.
Key Factor #3: What Are My Resources?
Really take an honest look here at how much time and energy you have to spend on your social media marketing, and also what your skills are. If you’re not a great photographer, it may not be the best idea to spend all your time posting photos on Instagram.
Don’t forget to ask your employees or other members of your team what they have to offer. Do you have a salesperson who often takes pictures of products throughout her day? Ask if you can post them to the company Twitter account.
Putting it All Together
One of the first things I tell clients who want to get started with social media is not to stretch themselves too thin. It’s far better to pick one or two networks that are an excellent fit for your business and focus on using them in the most effective way possible than it is to establish an inconsistent presence on seven or eight networks because you want to reach every last possible customer. Having a lackluster page or profile on a social media network can be more harmful than not having one at all.
I also highly recommend doing your research and making sure you stay abreast of current developments on your chosen networks. Since software changes so rapidly, it’s incredibly important for you to know what changes are being made to your social media networks and how you need to change your methods to compensate.
Stay tuned for further posts in this series about my favorite social media tools, how to optimize your social media profiles, and how to tie all your marketing efforts together. Have a question or suggestion? Feel free to comment on this post and join the conversation.