Social media is a great way to build relationships and engage with your customers. Presently, according to findings from Datareportal, more than half of the global population uses social media in one form or the other. But how do you know which social network is right for your business?
Figure out the right platform.
It’s important to choose a social media platform that matches your business and the audience you want to reach. For example, if you’re an artist, Instagram might be right for you. You might want to avoid Facebook because it can feel too corporate compared with other platforms like Twitter or Medium (if your audience is mostly Millennials). On the other hand, if most of your customers are over 50 years old and live in rural areas where they don’t have internet connectivity at home—or even cell phones—you might want to focus on platforms like LinkedIn or YouTube instead of Facebook and Instagram.
The answer depends on what type of business you have, how much time you want to spend on it and what kind of results you’re looking for. Based on my experience, here are some considerations to help you choose the right social media platform:
1. Are you looking to grow followers?
If you want to grow your business, Twitter can be a great place to find new customers and leads. You can also use Twitter as a way of finding employees, partners or vendors that can help you with your business goals.
2. Are you trying to promote?
Facebook can be an excellent way to build your brand and engage with your customers, drive traffic to your website and create a community around it.
Consider using Facebook as an effective marketing tool. With more than 2 billion users worldwide, Facebook has become one of the world’s most popular social media channels. You can use this platform as an effective way of promoting products or services by posting pictures or videos on your brand’s wall, sharing blog posts or articles, etc. In addition, you can use different types of ads such as video ads, text ads or banner ads.
3. Are you sharing creative projects?
Pinterest is all about the visuals. You can use it to promote products and services, but it’s also a great place to share your creative projects and ideas with others.
For example, if you’re a baker, Pinterest might be the perfect platform for showing off your creations — from cupcakes to pies. If you’re an artist, Instagram has become one of the most popular social media sites since its inception in 2010 because it allows users to share their work with followers in a way that feels natural (and not at all like spam).
4. Is networking a priority?
LinkedIn is a great tool for networking. You can network with people in your industry, as well as those who are in the same stage of business as you. It’s also a good place to post your business’ content (e.g., blog posts or photos). But don’t forget that LinkedIn also has professional content areas like careers, résumés and certifications — all of which can help attract new employees or customers.
5. Are you building your brand?
Content creation is a helpful tool when building your brand. While you can publish branded content on YouTube to build and grow your business, you need to be careful about how you use it so it doesn’t become more of a liability than an asset.
Create content people want to see.
Once you’ve determined which social media channels will work best for your brand or project, it’s time for some customization. Content is the lifeblood of social media. It’s what keeps your followers engaged and coming back for more, so you need to make sure you’re providing content that’s relevant, educational and useful.
In addition to making sure your content is worth sharing (and not just spamming people with ads), it needs to be interesting. If someone wants to see something new from you every week or two, then they will check out your feed regularly. However, if all your posts are boring status updates about how much fun you had on vacation, then no one cares.
Make sure each piece of content has at least one element in common: educational, inspirational, entertaining or valuable.
In the end, social media is all about connecting with people. Like in “real” life, creating and nurturing relationships that endure and benefit the most people possible should be your goal. No matter what your business is, if you want to use social media well, it’s always important to remember that at the end of the day, you’re not just selling a product or service, you’re also selling yourself and your company as well.