Lets talk platforms. Platforms take time so investing time in all of them is not realistic. For a successful social media strategy you need to choose platforms that fit your business goals and the time you have to give to that platform.
WHY Be On Any Platform?
Social Media is here to stay. It has exploded in growth with a large number of platforms and users. You need to take advantage of this unique way of connecting and communicating with customers. However, the number of choices out there adds a layer of confusion. Moving past the confusion requires the answer to two questions.
- How many platforms?
- What platforms?
How Many Platforms?
This depends on the time and resources you can commit to being active, engaged, and produce quality content. If you are DIYing your social media I recommend starting with one. Once it growing its followers and engagement you can add another platform. I would not go beyond 3 to 4 platforms. Spreading yourself too thin is never a good idea. Content quality will suffer.
If you have the budget you can out source you social media marketing or hire a social media manager. There are agencies and consultants who specialize in both large & small business. If either of these is the case your only limited by budget. A word of caution make sure your platforms are providing ROI so you are not wasting time and money.
The growth in the number of platforms has made this decision more complicated. Now you have major, minor, niche, and message platforms that are available. Platform features change often. One might work this year but not next year. This means auditing and reevaluation yearly. Cutting through the noise to find what fits you business goals and gives the best ROI is a challenge.
Before you can choose platforms you should have already done two things, make goals and define your reader. If you have not already done these two steps see my articles below. Once you know these you can move forward with choosing platforms.
- Make Goals. How To Set Up Your Social Media Goals
- Define Your Reader/Target Audience. Define Your Reader in 3 Steps
How to Choose Your Platforms
The number one consideration outside of time and resources is the following: Where are readers/target audience is actively engaged? You can post lots of quality content but if you audience is not there who is going to see it. Your valuable time and resources were wasted.
Other things to consider: Do you enjoy it? Are you good at it?
If your answer is no to either of these questions don’t choose that platform. Success will only come with consistent and quality content production. Different platforms need different content and engagement features. If you don’t like it or it feels difficult staying consistent is difficult.
Knowing the basics of a platform helps you decide which will be the most beneficial for you. The list below gives a profile of the 5 most popular platforms.
Still the king. Everyone knows it by name. It has the largest number active uses at over 1.8 billion. It is not niche or industry specific. You can use it for almost any aspect of your business from updates to customer service. Compared to other platforms it is low maintenance. Posting once daily or 3 to 4 times a week is fine with fans.
The only draw back is you have to pay to play. The days of organic growth but cost per result is fairly low. You can also build communities to reach your customers with their groups feature.
You have many posting options when it comes to Facebook. Links, Video, Live Video Photos, Boosting Posts, Paid Ads, and now Stories are all available. Check out this guide to learn more Business News Today Guide to Facebook
Instagram is all visual with the use of photos, video and live video that can only be posted from mobile devices. It has 600 million active users. It is owned by Facebook and integrates well with it. Stories is a feature that has taken off. The photo or video will disappear in 24 hours.
If you have a visual appealing products this is a must for you. Fashion, art, travel, food, and etc. have niches on this platform. These niches work because photo and video opportunities present themselves daily. Don’t fear if your niche or industry is not fully represented. If you are the creative type who wants to spend the time to create unique and interesting visual content it can work for you.
The use of the right hashtags is extremely important to being discovered. It is common to add 5 to 9 on posts. Check out this guide to learn more Business News Today Guide to Instagram
Twitter is the most chatty and news driven platform. Like Facebook it is open to all industries and niches. You share your posts in 140 characters or less and can attach video, photo, links, polls, and more. It is easy to interact with followers through mentions. This has become important recently since changed their how they supply your news feed. Posts where followers have engaged with you will show up at the top of their feed. Feed is not based on time. This also changes the need for posting so often.
Due to the ease of interaction on Twitter many business use it for customer service. Customers will contact you by a mention to resolve an issue or give a praise shout out. Retweets by customers will spread news about you. It is a great tool to quickly get information out. That said ,if you are going to use it you must watch it to catch any negative concerns.
Hashtags started here as a way to search for tweets on certain subjects. They are still used for that purpose and in Twitter chats. Take advantage of Twitter chats to gain reach and promotion. Check out this guide to learn more Business News Today Guide to Twitter
YouTube is all about on demand video. It has over a billion users, where people view, upload, rate, share and comment on content. A channel is assigned to a user which other users can subscribe too. It is now owned by Google.
Tutorials, How-To, and product showcases do well on this platform. You can take your written content and turn it into video. It increases your reach to whole new set of readers or viewers. This is generally more labor and equipment intensive compared to other platforms. Make sure you are ready for the commitment.
Many businesses partner with those vloggers that already have engaged audiences. They will use and review products to in a showcase format. If you have the budget this is a great option.
Pinterest is another highly visual platform. Posts are an image or video. Users pin or save content to a digital board. Rich pins are because extra information, like product details and maps, can be added to the pin. It is low maintenance in post frequency but site organization can take time.
It is niche driven. DIY, recipes, fashion, home decorating, beauty, photography, and self-improvement do well on Pinterest. If you blog then you should take full advantage of Pinterest regardless of your niche or industry. It has great traffic-driving potential. Check out this guide for to learn more Business News Today Guide to Pinterest
Platform Wrap Up
Remember, the above listed are not the only platforms out there. Snapchat, Tumbler, LinkedIn, Messenger, Whatsapp, Reddit and many niche sites are available. The best way to find a niche platform is to Google it. Type in social platforms for ________ fans and see what turns up. Those with smaller audiences might give the best ROI if you target audience is active on these sites.