Social media: an incredible growth opportunity for business owners – but a complex one. There are more options available than ever. Do you need a profile on Instagram? Should you get on Snapchat before it gets too big? Should you have both Facebook and Twitter, or just choose one?
With so many social media channels around us, how should we decide which one to choose and where to direct our time and resources? Here’s a little guide to help you choose the perfect social media platform for your business.
1: Go where your customers are: Whether it’s a popular social media or a relatively small one, you’ve got to be present where your target customers hang out. The smaller the platform, the easier it’ll be for you to reach your target customers – more quickly and with less investment.
But in order to reach your potential customers, you must know exactly who your target customers are and what their needs are. In case you are not sure about your target customers, create a report of your top competitors who share a similar target customer base to yours. Looking at the kind of social media platforms where your competitors invest their time and energy will give you a fair idea about your strategy.
Another way to find out your customers’ preferred social media platform is to ask them directly. You can email them and ask questions such as, “Which social media platform do you prefer?”
Once you’ve recognized your target customers and their preferred social media channels, use the seven-day startup approach: Get going, and based on your results, determine the areas that are working fine and those that demand attention.
2: Set goals: Once you know your target customers, you need to set goals. Most likely, your primary goal as a business owner will be to increase sales by attracting customers. However, social media channels can also help you realize some creative goals. You can use social media platforms to promote brand awareness, develop relationships with existing and prospective buyers and to extend customer service.
Your choice of social media platforms will depend on whether your focus is on establishing brand reputation, credibility and trust or to increase traffic and leads. For instance, if your goal is to create brand awareness, LinkedIn may not be the right platform for you. However, if you are interested in getting known for thought leadership, you could try LinkedIn because such articles do well on LinkedIn. If you want to develop relationships with your customers, you could try Facebook. Determining your focus will help you select the channel that works best for your business.
3. Build your community: You must remember three things before trying to build a community on any social media platform. First, the timing of your post matters. Second, the frequency of your post matters. For instance, you could post every hour on Twitter, but it is advisable not to post more than three times a day on Facebook. Third, be consistent. Create a schedule and adhere to it.
You can also determine your target customers’ preferred social media platform by looking at the demographics or levels of engagement on that particular platform.