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Choosing the Right Social Channels for Your Business

5 Easy Steps

You know your business needs to utilise social media marketing but the very idea of attempting to decide which social channel is right for your business sounds like extra work you don’t need right now. Sound familiar?

Social media marketing is big business but as someone who works with small business owners daily, I know how overwhelming it can to try to identify the right social channels for your business.

Yet, social media is the second biggest generator of revenue online - it’s something we need to do.

For contemporary business, a social channel, sometimes called a social network, is a place to engage with your user in a different, more personable and direct way that is crucial to the connection modern customer’s want.

Choosing which channel to use is difficult because social networks vary greatly.

Some social media platforms are much more suited to certain industries or types of content whilst others serve particular audiences or offer the best business tools for your needs.

I’m all about keeping things simple and manageable so I’ve broken down the steps you need to take to identify the right social channels for your business into 5 easy steps.

A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1 - Who do I need to engage with?

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The biggest pitfall with anything digital is distraction. It’s so easy to get distracted by the different tools and aesthetics different social media platforms offer.

The first thing you have to remember is your main purpose for using social media is to engage with your target market.

Why does that matter?

Focusing on connecting with your target market matters because you need to be where your target audience is.

Regardless of how much you like a certain channel, if your target market aren’t there, you are wasting your time.

That means the first thing you need to do is to clearly define who your target audience are then you can set about figuring out which social media channel you need to be on so you can connect with as many of them as possible.

Step 2 - Where do my users go?

There are a number of ways to find your target market on social networks. First of all, don’t assume the most popular social network is the best because it has the most users.

Facebook remains the most popular social media channel however that doesn’t mean Facebook is the best channel for your business. People use social media channels for all sorts of reasons, be it entertainment, connection, career development, education and more.

You need to ensure you choose a channel that is going to serve your needs and you’ll soon find some platforms are better suited to your business than others.

In fact, its gets so specific that you’ll find certain industries and age groups gravitate towards particular channels so you’ll need to do your homework to ensure you find the right match.

Companies like Sproutsocial, Statista and SmartInsights dedicate huge chunks of time to analysing how social media channels are used by the public, making them a great source of information about user demographics.

You’ll find each social media network appeals to a different section of the market. Like attracts like so age, gender, income, interests and usage differ across social media networks. For example, 71% of Pinterest’s users are women with plenty of cash to spend.

Sproutsocial are particularly popular because they dig deep into data annually then produce easy- read graphs and pie charts to show how the public are using social networks.

Use the resources you have too.

Ask your customers by including a poll in your email newsletter for example, take a look at your website analytics which may hold information about social media use that is already creating traffic for your website.

It is also helpful to think about the type of content your users already respond to best.

When you do your research ensure the information you use is current and keep this type of fact-finding under regular review because like all things digital, platform use changes quickly. New platforms come with fresh possibilities and user demographics change.

Take Twitter for example, once home to many small businesses, it now contains an overwhelming proportion of politicised discussions and Instagram has picked up the many businesses that have left.

Meanwhile, TikTok is where you go for fun whilst men are starting to find Pinterest has appeal.

Alongside the data, get on to some of these platforms yourself to do some meaty research into is on there and what they are doing. Don’t just think about your target market check out your industry as a whole.

How many of your competitors are on the platform? What do they post? When? What response do they get? Are there industry influencers on there you could utilise?

Have a really good look around. Try out various days and times. Stick to weekdays when platforms are busy rather than weekends which are much quieter.

If you can’t see the right target audience, ethos, content or interactions for your business - look elsewhere.

For example, content on:

  • Twitter tends to be polarised, politicised commentary.
  • YouTube is professional videos for entertainment or education.
  • TikTok has a strong sense of fun with a mostly young audience.
  • Instagram veers towards positivity and aspirational lifestyle.
  • Pinterest is image-led with particular appeal to women.
Pinterest active monthly users

Step 3 - What tools does it offer my business?

The beauty of digital is always a choice. One of the reasons social media is thriving is because there is something for everyone and that goes for businesses too.

There are loads and loads of social media platforms. Some social media platforms are really niche, such as Twitch for gamers, Letterboxd for film lovers, Houzz for interiors or LinkedIn for career development.

Different social networks appeal to different industries. Some social networks will only let you post images, others are text-based or for video content.

The type of content you can post on a social network and the business tools they offer dictate how popular they are with your industry.

For example:

  • Pinterest is focused on visual content and has a wealth of tools for eCommerce. If your business is all about aesthetics, so home interiors, crafts, food, weddings or jewellery and you have a largely female audience you may want to head to Pinterest.
  • YouTube remains the market leader for video content however if you have a younger demographic you may want to look at the opportunities TikTok offers.
  • If your business serves young people you may want to explore how you could use Snapchat which is where teenagers like to hang out or TikTok where they go for entertainment.
  • Instagram is where on-trend businesses, particularly those related to health and wellness live.

This is the channel where fashion, beauty, fitness, wellbeing, health, celeb culture and trending moments mesh. Instagram has tons of easy to use business solutions that are ideal for small businesses. However, style is everything on Instagram so it demands a glossy aesthetic and personalised chat.

  • Facebook still has a large proportion of users. You’ll find the older crowd still plugging away at their connections plus a smattering of younger users. Facebook still has an enormous range of professional business tools although these can be consuming to use.
  • And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Step 4 - How much time will I need?

Some social channels are much more demanding than others. If you are posting to a video-based social network like Youtube, you’ll need to be prepared to create professional videos regularly. However if it is for TikTok those videos can be super short and informal.

If you are posting to Instagram you’ll need to ensure your images have a level of style and gloss. On the other hand, if you are posting to Facebook the glam stakes aren’t there but you still need quality images.

What kind of responses will people expect on your chosen network? On Instagram for example, a quick emoji response with the odd short comment is all you need in most cases.

Yet for others, you’ll need to invest more of your time. Weigh this up when you are doing your research.

 Think about how much time you realistically have to create and post content regularly as well as engage with users on the platform. Regular, quality content is necessary for success on any social network so if the demands of a channel are too much, you won’t get the return on investment you want.

Step 5 - Keep it simple

Some social channels are much more demanding than others. If you are posting to a video-based social network like Youtube, you’ll need to be prepared to create professional videos regularly. However if it is for TikTok those videos can be super short and informal.

If you are posting to Instagram you’ll need to ensure your images have a level of style and gloss. On the other hand, if you are posting to Facebook the glam stakes aren’t there but you still need quality images.

What kind of responses will people expect on your chosen network? On Instagram for example, a quick emoji response wit

In the last couple of years, the trend has been for brands to stick to one or two channels. The reason being that the exponential growth of social media use means social platforms keep evolving with more sophisticated business tools honed to meet their users needs.

Focus on using one or two channels to your full advantage and there is no need to waste your time elsewhere.

What type of content will you post? Get a structure and a social media strategy so you post regularly and have the right balance of promo as well as entertainment. Get the promo v entertainment ratio wrong and you won’t keep your followers.

 Sound like more than you have time for? We deliver a wide range of social media, digital and IT services to small businesses across Ireland and the world. If you want results from your social media marketing, we can deliver the time and expertise you need for success on socials.

Get in touch today to discuss how we can help to support your business needs. Call: +353 870 976872 / +44 7918 902904 or send us a message.

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