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The social media landscape always seems to be changing. New sites don’t pop up every day, but our perception of them is always shifting. The same is true of the general public. You might feel like you need to maintain a presence on every social media site from Facebook to Instagram, but guess what?
You don’t. Not by a long shot.
In fact, it could be detrimental to your business to do that. Your target audience might be very active on Pinterest and Facebook and never give Twitter a second glance.
The trick is knowing which platforms are most likely to bear fruit – and which are better left alone. Here are some things that can help.
Understand the Key Attributes of Each Platform
Each social media platform has unique qualities. Sometimes the benefits of one platform overlap with another and sometimes, they don’t. Here’s a rundown of each platform’s marketing value as we see it.
Facebook is still the biggest social media platform. That means that you’re likely to find a significant percentage of your target audience there. In most cases, choosing just one social media site for marketing probably means choosing Facebook.
Facebook is ideal for brand-building, establishing yourself as an authority in your industry or niche, and strengthening customer loyalty. It’s easy to share an array of content, including written, visual, and video content.
Of course, arguable Facebook’s biggest strength in terms of marketing is its advertising options. You can easily segment your target audience, run ads, view detailed analytics, and adjust as needed.
Twitter is built for instant communications. It’s the perfect place to share updates with your followers, create an immediate give-and-take, and release company news without relying on the media.
Twitter’s use of hashtags also makes it easy to track your company’s mentions and trending topics. Many companies have integrated their customer service with their Twitter accounts to provide immediate support when it’s needed.
Pinterest focuses on visual content and is a great platform for driving users back to your blog or website. They also have an option that allows retailers to sell directly on Pinterest.
The ability to create micro-targeted boards and use hashtags can make it easy to ensure that people in your target audience see the content you create.
Like Pinterest, Instagram is a visual platform where you can share photographs and videos of your products or services. It has a slightly more casual feel that the other sites we’ve mentioned so far and that can be useful for some brands because it can help them connect with customers.
Instagram is also a good place for user-generated content. For example. Starbucks uses Instagram every year for its White Cup Contest, where it asks users to decorate a plain white Starbucks cup with a unique design. The contest winner’s design is manufactured each year and available as a limited-run product in stores.
LinkedIn is the best social media platform for B2B marketers. It’s where you can share relevant blog posts, connect with other leaders in your industry, and make the kinds of connections that can help your business grow.
You can target LinkedIn users by their industry and job title, as well as by using traditional keywords. Sharing information about your business is a good way to build credibility and trust.
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Identify Your Target Audience’s Preferred Platforms
Now, you’ve got to take the time to clearly define your target audience and identify the social media platforms that they are most likely to use. To do that, it’s helpful to have a demographic breakdown of each site so you can narrow your options.
- Facebook’s users are most often between the ages of 25 and 45, and they’re slightly more likely to be female than male (there’s a 60/40 split)
- Twitter’s users are younger and mostly between the ages of 18 and 29. They are split evenly between men and women
- Pinterest’s users are 80% women, and most are between the ages of 18 and 35, and they also tend to be affluent
- Instagram’s users are mostly between the ages of 18 and 40, and skew slightly female with a 58%/42% split
- LinkedIn’s users are professionals between the ages of 22 and 54, with a slight edge toward men, who make up 52% of users
These details should help you narrow your choices and decide which platforms make the most sense for your business. If you sell aspirational products that photograph well and appeal to women – for example, if you own a bridal boutique – you probably can’t afford to pass up on Pinterest.
Know How Much Time You’re Willing to Spend on Social Media
Let’s say that you’ve identified Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram as the most beneficial social platforms for your business. Does that mean you should set up accounts on all three?
To be effective, a social account must be active. That means you’ve got to tend to it every day, creating or curating new content and being there to answer questions and comments as needed. Here’s a rule of thumb for posting on each platform:
- Facebook accounts should post one or two times per day
- Twitter accounts should post three to four times per day
- Pinterest accounts should post two or three times per day
- Instagram accounts should post at least once a day
- LinkedIn accounts should post two to four times per day
That would mean that if you chose the three platforms we mentioned above, you’d need to be prepared to post, at minimum, four times per day. While you can certainly overlap and post the same content in more than once place, you’ll also need to consider the platform’s strengths. For example, you won’t need hashtags on Facebook, but you will on Instagram.
Choosing the right social platforms may take a little time…
But, it’s time well spent. Your time is valuable, and it makes no sense to waste it posting on platforms that your audience is not using.
If you’re a CPA or Attorney, you probably don’t use Pinterest…
Auto repair shops probably aren’t too active on LinkedIn…
Home remodeling & roofing contactors don’t do a lot of tweeting…
You see where I’m going with this?