We get this question often when working with clients: which social media platforms should we be active on? I have personally sat in many a boardroom with a wide-eyed executive telling me that they know they need to be “in the social space”, and the sense of overwhelm is palpable. Where to begin?
No matter what the “experts” might tell you- the answer is simple, but never the same for any one company.
Yes, you could do all the things, go gangbusters on Facebook, dominate Twitter, Pinterest like a boss, or Snapchat your way to success. But before you dive into the deep end of every single platform, step back and ask a few important questions.
1) What are my business goals?
This is the most important thing to consider. Don’t hop on to a social platform simply because you see everyone else doing it. Step back and start with why. Revisit your marketing goals, and how you want to drive profit. Make sure you understand the differences between each platform and how engaging in each space can help increase sales.
2) Who am I talking to?
Social media usage varies from platform to platform. Not all the same people who are up Facebooking at 2am are scrolling Twitter, and not everyone who is exploring a hashtag on Instagram is going to even consider pinning something. Your customers are out there, but you have to know where they are so that you can target them directly and strategically.
3) What is already working in my industry?
Each industry has its own presence, and its important to understand the social environment that you are entering. Joining competitors in a space they already occupy is important to place your company in the running, and innovating on other platforms can also be helpful to disrupt the current balance.
4) What is my budget?
Wait. Isn’t social media “free advertising”? It most definitely is not. Even if you never pay for an ad campaign, someone on your team will be using their time to create content and manage social accounts. And now that all the major platforms offer targeted advertising options, the investment to garner awareness, qualified leads and sales continues to grow.
5) Where will my company find the best fit?
This is more of a personality question. Many companies can make certain platforms work for them, but some just seem to be a better fit based on your brand’s unique tone and voice. Each platform has its own “language” and larger purpose, and the trends and focus can change often. So knowing where you fit may not mean it will be forever, but it’s important to consider before jumping in.