With all these new platforms popping up, how can you spot the social media channels that are more than just a passing phase for your audience? And how do you determine what’s right for your business? After all, each business’ social media marketing strategy is highly customised according to their resources, goals, and the industry they’re operating in.
Sometimes the “right” social channels for one brand are all wrong for another. Keep reading to learn which social media platforms are right for your business, and will help you achieve your specific goals, fast!
Why Choosing The Right Social Media Platform is So Important
The best social media channels are the ones that suit your business. Two different businesses in the same town might use completely different social media channels based on their:
- Marketing objectives
- Target audience
- Resources and knowledge
- Company values and preferences
As a business owner or social media marketer, you don’t want to jump on every single social media channel that crosses your radar! It’s best to concentrate your efforts on just a few channels that can help you carry out your social media goals and speak directly to your audiences in the places they spend the most time.
Hopping on a new trending social media platform early can be highly beneficial in the long run. It can give your business a huge head start when it comes to building (and maintaining) a loyal following, and that’s half the battle with social media marketing!
The other factor, however, is that some of the newer social media channels have limited opportunities for businesses, especially at first. Creators of new social media channels are often hesitant to monetize their platform with ads until the platform is popular enough, or they might have limited ad space. So, any opportunities you’ll have will be organic, which means creating great content and building a following quickly is crucial.
A Step-By-Step Guide on Choosing the Right Social Media Channel
So, which social platforms should you choose? Keep reading to discover the best social media channels for your business and supercharge your social media marketing strategy for success.
Step 1: Identify Your Audience
A great social media strategy is all about knowing thy audience. The best social media marketing strategies do just that and cater to that audience with content that speaks directly to them. After all, social media is all about connecting, engaging, and building a relationship with your target audience.
If you have no idea who they are, what are you even doing?
If you’re already an established brand, start by thinking about your audience demographics. When it comes to your audience, consider the following:
- How old are they? There might be some outliers but typically your audience should fall within a certain range
- Where in the world (or country) are they located?
- Are they mostly male, female, or non-binary?
- What is their estimated income level?
- How educated are they?
- What other interests do they have?
To find out this information, you can:
- Check your sales data or web analytics
- Check your existing social media analytics
- Use any other reporting tools, like Sked Social, to find out deeper insights
- Send out a survey with an incentive for them to fill out, such as a small discount code or the chance to win a prize, like the beauty business below
Once you’ve done this, you can match your audience with various social media channels and start to narrow down what might be suitable. For instance, if most of your audience are aged 50 years or older, you probably don’t want to use TikTok.
Step 2: Clarify Your Social Media Marketing Objectives
If you’ve been in the social media marketing game for a while, you might already have your social media objectives set out. That doesn’t mean you can’t tweak them every now and then. Digital marketing changes all the time and new capabilities become possible, so it makes sense that the role of social media within your wider strategy should change over time.
Or, you might have a loose idea of what your social media objectives are but you need help figuring out how they work within the bigger picture.
So, hit the refresh button and list your social media marketing objectives. Think about any other activity you’re already doing and consider how social media fits into the picture. When thinking about social media’s role, you also want to consider which social media channels will help you to best achieve those goals.
Think about your wider business goals and consider how social media marketing fits into that.
Some common examples of objectives for social media marketing and some social channels you might use to achieve those goals are:
- Customer support – Facebook, Twitter, Review Sites, WhatsApp, Forums
- Increasing sales – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter
- Increasing brand awareness or product awareness – TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat
- Building a community – Facebook Groups, Instagram, LinkedIn Groups
- Changing customer sentiment/building authority – LinkedIn, Twitter
- Lead generation – Facebook and LinkedIn
Some channels are better than others at achieving these goals – or any others you might have. Each channel also has a distinct audience profile, and this can vary depending on the country you are in, or even the region you’d like to target.
For example, Facebook and Instagram have the largest audiences in most countries but due to censorship, these apps can’t be used in China. Therefore, the most popular instant messaging app in China is WeChat.
Below we can see an example of a brand’s Instagram analytics. Most of their audience for the last 90 days falls within the 35-44-year-old age range, but for Facebook their analytics might tell a different story.
Step 3: Do the Research
When deciding which social media network to use, it may be worth checking to see which networks your competitors are using. And, while you shouldn’t simply copy their strategy, this could be a consideration. For instance, you might want to try to build a community on a social media network they’re not already using. This could give you a unique opportunity to target new audiences.
You may also want to consider which types of content you’ll be using – or what could work well in the future. For instance, travel companies make great use of visual content platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Plenty of beauty brands use the power of video on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, and post makeup tutorials to demonstrate different looks.
On the other hand, many B2B businesses find success on LinkedIn and Twitter. That said, there are no hard-and-fast rules for which platform you use. You might be a B2B company that can produce some great video content and could therefore make great use of YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
To decide, let’s take a look at the major social media channels available:
Facebook is one of the most popular social media channels in the world with over 2.9 billion active monthly users all over the world. Aside from being the largest platform available, a social media presence on Facebook can enhance your online discoverability and help with SEO for your website. Facebook is easy for businesses to operate and offers advanced targeting capabilities when it comes to social media advertising.
This platform is perfect for all kinds of businesses, small and large, and allows you to post links, images, text, and videos with ease. Facebook is easy for anyone who already has a private account to operate. It’s also a great form of customer support. Facebook Messenger has a simple layout, allowing businesses to communicate easily with customers. Facebook Shop is also perfect for businesses that want to drive sales.
If you predominantly use visual content, you’ll definitely want to consider using Instagram. Instagram has almost 1.5 billion monthly active users and specializes in the visual. Therefore, it’s not going to be a huge help if you need to post lots of links back to your site. The platform skews younger, with the majority of users under 45.
Instagram is great for e-commerce businesses, as it allows you to create your own Instagram Shop and add shoppable links within your posts. If you see potential in influencer marketing or it has already been helpful for you in the past, Instagram is a great place to host an influencer marketing campaign.
Instagram Reels, Instagram Live video, and IGTV also mean that the social channel is perfect for video content. If you’re a photographer, videographer, or you have the ability to create this type of content in the future, Instagram is a great channel for you.
Another great visual social channel is TikTok. TikTok content is made up of short video clips posted by users. This engaging format is highly addictive, it seems. TikTok users open the app about 8 times a day and for longer session times than other social channels.
TikTok is growing quickly in popularity and has now amassed 1 billion monthly active users. Unlike many other social media channels, TikTok is predominantly used by a younger audience, with 66% of users worldwide comprised of 10–30-year-olds. This makes it a great channel if your product or services are targeted towards younger groups.
Twitter has been around for a while, and has 436 million users, yet is still popular for certain audience types. Similar to Facebook, Twitter allows businesses to easily post text updates, links, images, and video, yet the platform focuses on short, sharp snippets of information, often released via real-time updates. It also makes it easy to engage with other Twitter users, allowing them to “retweet” other people’s tweets or respond to customer queries. Twitter users also incorporate lots of hashtags which means it’s easy for users to find information about events, trends, or other topics of interest.
The capabilities of Twitter can make it a good testing ground for all different types of content. It’s also the platform that a lot of business professionals use, making it great for B2B companies.
Even though we don’t always see YouTube as a social media channel in and of itself, it is helpful for the discoverability of your brand, acting as a search engine for video content. YouTube is a social media site with a wide audience of over 2.5 billion active users every month, making it the second-most popular social media channel in the world.
If you’ve got lots of great video content you might want to consider YouTube. It’s also a great hosting platform to share your videos or link them to your website. It also gives you the ability to add longer video content.
Pinterest has 444 million users, and, at present, 77% of users on Pinterest are female. Best of all, Pinterest users are shoppers – according to Pinterest research, shoppers on Pinterest spend 40% more than people on other social platforms.
This all makes perfect sense; Pinterest is used as a kind of online scrapbook or visual mood board for many. Its easy-to-use “drag and drop” functionality makes it simple for users to save shopping ideas for weddings, home DIY projects, travel, beauty, building and architecture – or anything, really. The platform also has paid advertising capabilities.
Step 4: Assess Your Resources
Before you and your team jump headfirst into five different social media channels, take a second to consider your options! Think about the capacity your business has to actually execute any given strategy. Most business owners working on their own or with a business partner are extremely time-poor – which makes sense!
If that’s the case, or you just want to dip your feet into the big wide ocean of social media marketing before committing, it’s best to start small. Start with one or two different social media channels and do your best to maintain them, post regular content, and engage with users. You’ll need to consider a slightly different strategy for each social channel, and (ideally) you’ll need to create unique copy for each.
If you’re short on time or budget, consider the following:
- Outsource your photography or videography with quarterly or monthly shoots
- Invest in an all-encompassing social media scheduler like Sked Social. This will allow your team to save hours every week, and it will mean you’re much more organized. A scheduler also allows you to concentrate your efforts and be far more strategic
- Outsource your social media copywriting
- Ensure your customer service team can also assist with any tricky social media inquiries from your customer base
Step 5: Refine Your Social Media Strategy
Once you’ve created your social media strategy, selected your channels, and started executing your strategy, you want to make sure it’s actually working! And, if it’s not, you need to know why! Instead of overhauling your entire social media strategy, however, you can usually make the necessary tweaks to get back on track.
But how do you find out what’s working – and what’s not?
The key is reporting. Regular social media reporting can help you identify the areas of your social media strategy that aren’t performing. That could be an entire social media channel, or it could be a content format, like image posts on Facebook.
It could also be the subject of your content. You might find that certain posts perform really well, while others don’t perform at all! Regardless, you’ll only know by checking your reporting.
Some channels have their own in-built “insights” functionality which can help you find out more about your audience and your post performance, but data is typically limited.
To really be able to assess the results of your efforts, you should invest in a social media reporting tool. There are plenty of tools out there, but if you’re just starting out or you want a comprehensive tool that does everything, Sked Social is the perfect option.
Sked Social allows you to refine your social media marketing efforts by honing in on what’s working so you can focus on that, instead of wasting your time with content that isn’t hitting the mark. It allows you to:
- Boost post performance by discovering the best posting times
- Find out which types of content and topics are resonating with your audience
- Get advanced insights about your audience
- Easily track your competition and learn about their best-performing content
- Track profile visits and clicks to your website
Ready to Go?
The social media channels you choose will depend on your business needs, resources, and your unique marketing objectives. An effective social media strategy shouldn’t necessarily incorporate all the social media channels you possibly can! Instead, it should utilize the platforms that will be the most cost-efficient and effective for your business.
Remember; the right social media channels will vary for each business. Some businesses might turn Instagram into a major sales tool and others might have more luck on Facebook. Some brands will generate masses of viral content on TikTok while others have high engagement on LinkedIn instead.
Each channel will also have a different purpose. For some brands, Facebook is perfect for lead generation, while Instagram works better for sales. It’s all up to you, and how you use and optimize the various social channels.
It can be difficult to execute your social media strategy across multiple social media platforms simultaneously! Sked Social can help you schedule your posts so you never miss one.
Now that you know how to choose the right social media channels for your business, why not start carving out hours in your social media workflow, by signing up for Sked’s 7-day trial? Our all-in-one Instagram scheduler allows you to automatically post images, carousels, Instagram Stories, Reels, videos, and more. Tag locations, users, and product, and manage all your hashtags in one place to save hours out of every week.