How to choose the right social media platforms for your business

Digital Marketing for your business

To promote your business as best you can, you need to leverage the power of social media. With so many social media channels and content types to choose from it's often difficult to determine which social media will work best for your business. Learn some valuable tips and information to help you navigate the saturated world of social media.

Key learning outcomes:

  • Researching your target audience habits
  • Understanding what social media works in your industry
  • Top 10 types of social media content

Video Presentation: How to choose the right social media platforms for your business

How to choose the right social media platforms for your business

Welcome to our social media workshop today. I'm Gary Wise from SBIM and today we're going to take a look at how to choose the right social media platforms for your business

Here at SBIM, we know that, as a business owner, you want to promote your business as easily and efficiently as you possibly can, and to do that, we all know you need to leverage the power of social media. The problem is with so many social media channels and content types to choose from, deciding which channel, which social media channels, deserve your attention, it can be a bit of a tough choice. Common questions we get asked here at SBIM, all the time, sort of go along the lines of, should I have an Instagram account for my business, or should I start a Twitter account, or should I even have a Facebook business page set up?

One size doesn't "fit all" with social media

The answer is always – “it depends”. Because when it comes to social media, one size definitely doesn't fit all. Contrary to popular belief, you don't necessarily have to be on every single social media network. In fact, that approach can end up doing more harm than good. If you end up spreading yourself too thin, create the wrong content, or you just end up cross-promoting the same content across all of them platforms. Even established brands that employ dedicated social media teams will tend to tailor their social media content to the nuances of each of the platforms. And they will roll out on the new social media channels with a more limited sort of suck it and see type of approach, rather than going all in as they learn the ins and outs and the subtle nuances of each platform and how to effectively market on it.

So for most businesses, the best approach is going to be to handpick social media channels that look like that just make them most sense for your business, rather than trying to cover all the bases all at once.

So, your decision should be based around several different factors and they include your target audience, the industry that you're in, and the actual social media content strategy that you're going to roll out. So if you ever asked yourself, if your business is missing out on social media activities, stick around as we're going to break down how to choose the right social media channels for your business, and also the right content strategy.

Research what social media your target audience is using

The first thing you need to do is investigate what social media channels, your audience or target market or to use. Now, it's pretty obvious that you don't want to be putting time and effort into a network that the people that you're trying to target just primarily don't use. Therefore, you need to clearly define your target audience, and match it against the demographics for each of the social media networks.

Now, look, there's plenty of demographic information out there on the web for each of the major social media platforms and a simple Google search for something like ‘demographics for Instagram in Australia’ will reveal know probably what you need to know. Now we did this before, and if your target audience was say female 25 to 34, then you've probably hit the mark with say Instagram. However, if your target market is men 55, plus then you're unlikely to get a lot of traction on good ‘ol, Insta. Now in addition to research and the Demographics, also take a look at how your competitors and the influences in your space are using social networks. Now take a close look at the content that they're publishing and who the top content creators actually are. Now if the content, your competitors and these influences are creating, seems to sort of resonate with your audience, and there's a decent level of engagement then you've probably found yourself a good social media platform to kick things off with.

Find out what social media works best for your industry

The next thing you need to consider is what's your industry. Not every social media channel will work well for your particular industry. For example, visually driven industries like say fashion, cosmetics, and even restaurants and pubs and clubs will probably establish a social presence on the likes of Instagram, Pinterest, or even look Snapchat. These particular networks, rely more on visuals than site texts, so they're a great fit for those sort of types of businesses that are visual.

However, yeah, industries like say software and tech tend to set up shop on, say Twitter or LinkedIn because of the tendencies for those platforms to be sort of more texts and, and use based. Now the simplest way to determine what social networks cater to your industry is again, to look at your competitors social media activity, and ask yourself ‘are they active?’ and ‘do they get engagement on what they're posting?’ And the first question is actually really, really important because companies don't tend to be too active on a social media channel that's not delivering them any results. And whether it's driving traffic to their site or, generating leads, there's a reason they're more active on one channel over another.

And our engagement is also really, really critical because it shows there’s actually an active audience there. So when we talk about engagement, it's not about, it's not about the number of page followers. It's actually about how many likes, shares and comments that your posts actually get. I mean, look. Let's face it having hundreds of thousands of followers doesn't really mean much if the audience just isn't active.

Where is your traffic currently coming from?

Now, the next thing you need to look at is which social media channels are already bringing you traffic. And sometimes the answer to which social media channels you should double down on is actually you right in front of you. So if you're in a position where you've been giving multiple social media networks a bit of a try, but you want to narrow down your focus and sort of boost your content strategy or maybe one or two of them, look at how many visits your site, your website currently gets from each channel. Now you can easily find this if you're logging inside your Google analytics account and look a quick tip here. If you don't have Google analytics installed, probably right after this video would be a really good time to do just that.

Top 10 types of content that work best on social media platforms

Now the thing you need to consider is your social media content. Now most businesses completely forget about, or don't give enough consideration to this next step. So before you commit to a social media platform, it's important to think about how you want to use that channel, and in particular, what type of content are you going to publish? For example, here at SBIM, we've got a dedicated video team, so we spend a lot of time in front of the camera creating video content, just like this video. Because we have the ability to quickly and easily generate high quality video. And we also have a graphics team so we can easily create, a lot of quote cards, infographics, and memes, and content along those lines.

Now. What we don't do a lot of our blog posts or lengthy articles. And this is just simply due to the fact that, the amount of time that it takes to create that type of content. For us video and graphics are quick and easy for us to produce. So we focus on the platforms that work really well with these types of content.

However, we don't post all of this contest content across all platforms. Video for us works really well on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, but less over say on Twitter. Now we also don't post memes on LinkedIn, but they work really, really well on say Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well.

So to work out what your content strategy might look like, let's take a quick look, the top 10 types of content that tend to work best on the major social media platforms.

1. Written posts, blogs and articles

Content types. Number one is written posts, blogs, and articles. Now LinkedIn and Facebook are perfect for these types of content especially when it comes to articles that are over a thousand, 1500 words or even longer. Here you have a number of options. You can post the whole entire piece, or you can just post a short snippet or you can just post a link to the content hosted back on your website. Now Twitter also works really well here, but the 280 character count means you can only sort of include a link and a small quote, but that can still drive traffic back to your website. Now, the advantages of this type of content are that the articles demonstrate that your business has a deep depth of knowledge and expertise which can really help build your credibility and reputation. The disadvantage is there's a lot of blog content out there. So you need to be creative and you need to come up with some new topic ideas. So writing also takes a lot of time to produce, especially if you're explaining complicated concepts, but if you're really good at writing and you've got the time, this could be the content type for you.

2. eBooks

Alright. Content type number two is eBook. Now users come to LinkedIn to connect with colleagues, and learn relevant information about their job, or other professional interests that they may have. But it makes it an ideal network to share eBooks. Now, Facebook and Twitter also are good options for your ebook. And the advantage of eBooks is that it tends to be, they tend to be longer and even more detailed than your blog posts or articles. Which again can really help showcase the depth of your industry, knowledge and expertise. There are also far fewer businesses sort of taking the time to produce eBooks, so the likelihood of your content or staining out is a lot higher, but the disadvantages, not everyone wants to read a whole entire ebook and look they can take a lot of time to produce now while they're great. While they are a great idea as a lead generator, people don't always actually read them. So you've got to weigh up the pros and cons of the good Ebook.

3. Links to external content

Alright. Content type number three is links to external content. Yeah. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook are great for any type of written content, even if it's just a link to an article you think your audience will find helpful or interesting.

The advantage of linking to content is if you don't have time to write your own content, you can always link to relevant articles and websites from other sources. The disadvantages of this topic content is that it typically doesn't get a hell of a lot of engagement. Now, a quick tip here to increase your engagement is to make a commentary on the article that you're linking to. Do you agree with it? Do you disagree with it? Ask a question of your audience. Don't just link to the article, this added commentary or your point of view will actually encourage people to read what's got you all worked up.

4. Images

Onto content type number four, which is images. Now, images work, pretty much on every platform. But Instagram and Pinterest are by far the best networks for images and pictures. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and look, and even Snapchat are also good options for images. Attaching a really good image to a blog post can also help improve engagement and clicks through your website.

Now, a big tip here. Don't use stock images. Be creative, nothing is less inspiring than a stock image, on a post putting some effort and you'll, you'll get the rewards.

5. Video

Content type number five and that's video. Video is the big daddy of content type. Yeah, the consumption and engagement of video is just so much higher than any other content type. Now, even video taken on a smartphone will typically outperform, or other types of content. And if you've been following SBIM on social media at all, you've probably heard us talk about video over and over and over again. Now not only does it have higher engagement, it's hands down the best way to be sort of that know like, and trust relationship with your audience.

No matter what industry you're in, you really need to invest in video. As it works across the board, as pretty much, all social media platforms are catering more and more and more for video. Longer video obviously suits the likes of YouTube, but, short - less than a minute type of videos - work really, really well on LinkedIn, Facebook, and really well on Instagram.

And look, don't laugh. Don't forget about good old tick tock. Do your research like we've just outlined a bit earlier and check it out before writing it off as just a kids network. It's a massive user base of over 1.2 million here in Australia alone. And that's the second largest video user base after YouTube.

6. Video stories

Content type number six is also video, but this time it's video stories. Video stories, are short 15 second videos that last, 24 hours before they just disappeared from the stories feed. They're available on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and LinkedIn has just rolled out stories in the past couple of weeks.

Now a tip here is if you are using video, get on board LinkedIn stories while it's still really, really new. Now there's plenty of views to be had over there. And video stories are also great to keep your audience up to date about events and offers or any other announcements that you may have, and also great for showcasing a behind the scenes glimpses of your business. And this is how we tend to use video stories. The most is those behind the scenes, little glimpses.

7. Live videos

Content type number seven. And that's also another video format. And this time it's live videos. Yeah, live streaming. It's just, it's becoming more and more popular by the day. I mean, during the whole COVID lockdown, I'm sure that we saw probably the peak of live streaming events. Now Facebook is the most popular for live streaming and you'll definitely see an improved reach for this type of live content over normal content.

Instagram is also popular for livestreams as is YouTube. So I don't forget those two, but the thing I like about livestreaming, it's the notifications that get sent out to your social media network, advising that you're, you've gone live. These notifications are also one of the reasons why lives get so much traction. Now, a tip here, don't worry if only a few people are even nobody shows up for your live. Your live will be generated as a post after the event that will live on and on and on. And this is where you'll get most of your views anyway. So don't get hung up on, whether people tune in live or not just go live, enjoy and relax.

8. Infographics

All right. Moving on to content type number eight, which is infographics. These are the visuals that support explanations and statistics that support heavier written content. They're especially impactful for conveying complex ideas in a pretty short little space. Now Facebook and LinkedIn are both really excellent options for infographics. Twitter is also a good choice. The disadvantage for infographics though is that they require both copy and graphics which means you may need multiple people working together to create them.

They also require a fair amount of creativity and research. But they do tend to be worth the investment though, because infographics really do tend to get shared a lot. So invest the time and people will pay you back accordingly.

9. Testimonials and reviews

Alright. Almost there. Content type number nine is testimonials and reviews. Now these tend to work really, really well over on Facebook and LinkedIn. Even Facebook has a built in star rating on your business pages. Where LinkedIn, you can also leave testimonials and endorsements for people that you're connected to.

This is a great content type as people tend to trust the opinions and experiences of others, more than what just a business page tends to say. Which is why, testimonials and reviews are so valuable. So spend your time, go and get those reviews and testimonials. And again, they'll pay you back.

10. Announcements

And finally, content type number 10 is announcements. Now this is just simply, getting the word out there about, any new products or events or live streams, and any other noteworthy things that can help build hype and alert people about what's happening with inside your business. Now audiences just love having the inside scoop on their favourite businesses and brands, but you've got to carefully plan out the length of time that's appropriate to begin building buzz and that hype, because if you launch the announcements too early, you might not gain any traction in the lead up to your event or your announcement. It's often best to just sort of trickle out the information slowly in bite size chunks.

So, think of announcements as a bunch of little teasers leading up to a big news piece and announcements can be made across the board. So, Facebook and Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, look, as long as you adhere to the best practices of those networks, you shouldn't go too far wrong.

So to make your brand stand out on social media, to save time and enhance your customer's user experience. Take advantage of each social media platforms features sort of to weave these different content types together. And don't be afraid to experiment and be creative with your ideas because over time you’ll learn which social media platforms and what types of content resonate most with your audience. You never know what works best until you give it a try, but remember, do your research first. So that just about brings us to a close, I hope that was of some help. Cheers.

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