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How to Decide Which Social Media Platforms to Use

How to Decide Which Social Media Platforms to Use

Many of the business owners and professionals I speak with have the same question: “Where should I be spending my time on social media?”

Because time is such a precious resource for so many people, most opt to invest in only two or three social media platforms that are going to be the most relevant and impactful for their businesses. Makes sense, right? Right.

That’s why I wanted to put together a simple guide to help you identify the places you should be spending time on social media.

Let’s look at each platform.

Facebook

Facebook is a powerful tool for businesses selling a product, for non-profit organizations, and for those who are interested in building general brand awareness. This platform is becoming increasingly a place for sharing information—a bulletin board of sorts—for older users.

Pew Research found that Facebook is used by:

  • 71% of adult Internet users
  • 58% of entire adult population
  • 56% of Internet users age 65+

Not best for: If your organization is B2B based or geared toward teenagers, this might not be the best option for you.

Try this: Share info about upcoming events, promote new products, and highlight the ability of your business’s product or service solve customer pain points via Facebook ads.

Twitter

Twitter’s quick-moving stream of activity is intimidating for some, but when you participate actively, it can be a great place to jump in to relevant conversations and share your two cents while promoting the content you’ve created as well.

Pew Research found that Twitter is used by:

  • 23% of adult Internet users
  • Men and women under 50 with a college education
  • Households with incomes of <$50,000

Not best for: Twitter is great for building personal relationships, but it might not help you sell oodles of product.

Try this: Use Twitter to track keywords and participate in relevant conversations in your field to build brand awareness and to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

Instagram

If your business is geared toward all things aesthetically pleasing, Instagram is somewhere you should be investing time and energy. Again, it might not always lead to direct sales, but can help project the lifestyle you’re trying to connect with.

Pew Research found that Instagram is used by:

  • 26% of adult Internet users
  • 53% of young adults age 18-29
  • Women in suburban/urban areas

Not best for: Older demographics with high incomes

Try this: Show your products being used in real life on this platform, but through an artistic lens. A picture really is worth a thousand words here.

LinkedIn

If you’re a professional or a business owner, you should at least have a well-updated personal LinkedIn profile. This platform can be used to share content in different active groups, connect with your business network, and to recruit new hires as well.

Pew Research found that LinkedIn is used by:

  • 28% of adult Internet users
  • 23% of the entire adult population
  • College graduates
  • Adults age 30-64

Not best for: This is not the platform to use to make the hard sell or to market your products—it’s all about personal resume and content sharing.

Try this: Share your blog content here within relevant, active groups to gain a following and increase profile views. You may get a new lead just by consistently posting here.

Important Note

The second half of that initial question about where to spend time is usually followed with a second part, which is: “Which one will help me make the most sales?”

In the modern state of social media marketing, these tools are best used as a way to build trust, gain a following, and earn sales over time. Unless you’re advertising, social media often isn’t a direct source of profit.

It takes time to understand your social media audience—what they want to hear, what their pain points are, who they trust—and it’s not until you fully discover where you fit in to that niche that you can make the ask that really follows through with your audience.

The Bottom Line

If you have to choose selectively, opt for the two or three best platforms that your target demographic uses. Study your competitors to see what they’re doing. Watch the research that shows what tactics are working effectively. Test out ads on those platforms.

Don’t just pick a few and give a half-hearted attempt—dive in and be an active participant (or hire someone who can do that for you.)

Instagram: Open for Advertising

Instagram: Open for Advertising

On Tuesday, Instagram announced that it opened the gates of advertising to all businesses on their platform.

Though ads have been tested by a few large companies and organizations over the last several months, it's now possible for businesses of any size to hop on board and advertise to the platform's 300M+ users (which is roughly the same audience size as Twitter.)

So how does one go about advertising on this platform? The site offers a few tips for those considering taking the leap:

1. Start with Clear Goals

Think about how Instagram fits into your overall marketing strategy. Is your objective to increase awareness, shift perception, or reach a new audience? Pick an objective that can be reached by connecting with Instagram's highly visual and creative community.

2. Tell a cohesive story

Choose images that tell a story about your brand and are include captivating imagery. Create posts that follow these themes for a diversity of content that also remains consistent over time.

3. Take the time to create high-quality content

Work with your brand or creative team to produce images and videos that are well-crafted and feel at home on the platform. Or, if you're a smaller team, study your competitors and favorite brands to study their strategy for images that catch your eye.

They also recommend utilizing features such as hashtags and filters to enhance photos even more.

Instagrammers Who Understand Curation

Advertising is only one facet of a larger Instagram story, which is to communicate a visual representation of what your brand stands for.

Think of it like this: Instagram is a place where you create a general story, look, and feel behind your brand. Image what your ideal customer's life looks like when complimented by your product or service, and then emulate it visually through your business account.

A few of our personal favorites who do this well are:

Madewell

Their focus is always around the product--but not the hard sell. Instead, they curate a series of lookbook and lifestyle images that have a uniform appearance.

The Peach Truck

The Peach Truck knows how to make its product (peaches) look mouth wateringly good on Instagram. Bonus: They make great use of the 16 second video clip there, too.

Enjoy Illinois

This tourism organization leverages fantastic photographs to inspire the wanderlust in all of their followers. They focus on color, crisp images, and locations that have a story to tell.

Instagram Advertising: The Next Social Media Advertising Frontier

Will ads on this platform be successful? It's too soon to tell. But being under Facebook's wing sure helps (as their advertising numbers are up year over year.)

We'll be testing ads to see how users respond to different types of ads on this platform. Stay tuned for results.

 

 

Podcast Recap: Sales and Marketing Nation

Podcast Recap: Sales and Marketing Nation

I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on Christian Costa's podcast, Sales and Marketing Nation. Since the interview is fairly long (about 40 minutes), I thought I'd do a quick recap of the topics we discussed so you can get the gist if don't have time to listen in.

I've pulled out a few of the best questions I was asked as well as their responses.

The subject: Content Marketing.

Q: Can content marketing really work for those small businesses and entrepreneurs who are strapped for time and financial resources?

A: Definitely. While it seems like a huge commitment, if you can set aside 30 minutes to an hour each week to produce quality content and interact with your audience, it can go a long way. I've seen so many small businesses and non-profits use these free resources to grow and expand their reach. I learned this with my own online jewelry business; I used social media (and no paid advertising) to connect with customers all over the globe.

Q: When it comes to paid advertising on social media, is it the right thing to do if you're just getting started?

A: No. You'll want to build up your platforms and actually have some great content there for people to see before you launch any paid campaigns. Much like you wouldn't want to invite customers into your store if your products weren't in yet, you shouldn't reach out to social media audiences until you have everything finished on your website and you have some decent content (blog posts, case studies, etc.) for them to explore.

Q: When someone has everything up and running and is ready to start branching out a bit more, how do they get started?

A: If you're in a specific industry, you probably have a few go-to blogs or influencers that you follow on a regular basis. The next step is to just reach out and introduce yourself and say, "Hey, I'd love to partner with you for a giveaway or a guest blog." You can think about what strategy you want to take...but just stick out your "Internet hand" and say, "Hey, this is who I am, this is what I do, would you like to work together?" You might be surprised to get more "Yes" answers than you think.

Q: What's one book you recommend for listeners?

A: I'm a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk's Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. While it's more social media focused, it really drives home that message of "It's not all about you." And with content marketing, you need to consistently provide quality material and THEN make your ask, so you've provided something in exchange for that request.

Listen to the Full Episode

You can listen to the full version of this podcast here and hear all the other questions I didn't cover in this space.

 

 

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