It’s the million-dollar question. Almost every business owner understands the benefits of social media. Some have already seen the sales benefits of social media success. From increased exposure to more leads and greater revenue, you stand to potentially benefit greatly. However, there are currently numerous social media networks, according to Influencer Marketing Hub. So, which social media platform should your business be using?
In reality, there’s not just one right answer to this question. The best social media platform for one brand may not necessarily be the best social media network to focus on for the next business.
HOW TO CHOOSE
To determine what’s best for your business, you need to answer four questions: are you B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer)? Who is your target audience? What social media do they use the most? And, what are your social media marketing goals?
ARE YOU B2B OR B2C?
If you’re not aware of the distinction, B2B (business-to-business) companies sell to other companies, while B2C (business-to-consumer) companies sell to end consumers. Your social media marketing needs will be different depending on where you belong.
B2B companies typically use social media for brand development and lead generation. A recent study by Social Media Examiner also found that just over 50% of B2B marketers use social media to grow partnerships and gain competitor insights. As such, these businesses benefit most from social platforms designed for building professional relationships. These include LinkedIn, Facebook and occasionally Twitter.
B2C brands, meanwhile, use social media primarily to drive traffic, sales, and awareness. They strive to stand out by creating something unique and different. As a result, B2C companies are better off on social platforms that focus heavily on visual content. These include Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, largely in that order.
Your choice of social media platform(s) will also depend on your target audience’s identity. Remember, each social media platform has a different set of users with different expectations. Facebook users, for instance, are mostly connecting with family and friends while Twitter users are more about discovering breaking news and trending topics.
For this reason, you need to define your target audience, perhaps by creating buyer personas. Then, use the personas to determine where this “ideal” user is likely to hang out. Some of the things you want to know about your target audience include where they live, their average age, their gender, and their average income.
Knowing these details, as well as their occupation and hobbies, will help you better understand what these people look for on social media. This, in turn, will help you determine where they’re likely to spend their time.
SOCIAL MEDIA GOALS
Finally, ask yourself what you’d like to achieve from your social media presence. Why? Because you’re not just doing social media with your business merely for fun. Any business that uses social media, does so with a reason. Which more often than not ties back to the bottom line — profits, revenues, and sales.
Common social media marketing goals include brand awareness, traffic generation, boosting brand engagement, and improving customer service. Many businesses also use social media to generate sign-ups and new leads.
The social media platform(s) you choose should help you advance these goals. For instance, businesses seeking brand awareness would be wasting time on LinkedIn. Instagram and Facebook are much better options. Those seeking additional traffic, meanwhile, would be better off on YouTube as opposed to Twitter.
Every business needs social media in this digital age. However, you must be strategic in choosing your social platforms. Consider whether you’re B2B or B2C, know your target audience, and identify your social media goals. Otherwise, you risk wasting time and resources on platforms with little to no return on investment.
Mike Gingerich is president of Digital Hill Multimedia (www.DigitalHill.com), a Goshen, Indiana web design, web software and social media marketing firm. He is also a business blogger on tech, marketing, and growth. Find out more at www.MikeGingerich.com/blog/.