Most digital marketers today agree that social media networks are an essential part of their marketing efforts. However, with the number of brands that compete for customer attention in the online world, the success of your marketing efforts depends largely on how well-planned and organized they are. If you’ve decided to use social media for marketing, one of the first steps is to figure out which networks to concentrate your efforts on.
Consider this: There are over 200 social media networks, each catering to a different niche. In such a dynamic environment, it’s important that you clearly define the objectives and goals you want to achieve through marketing on social media. Without clear-cut definitions, it can be very hard to figure out which networks are right for your business.
Identifying the right networks for your brand means asking yourself a lot of questions. There’s no right or wrong decision here; it’s a very subjective decision. However, we’ve identified what we think are some of the most important questions you’ll need to answer before deciding on the platforms you want to use.
1. Size of the network
Because you don’t want to knock when nobody’s home, do you?
When choosing networks to reach your audience, the first thing you need to do is to figure out which ones are popular. And by popular, we mean the networks that have a considerable number of active users, so that the time you spend on them is productive.
But is the size of the network a definitive metric?
Not really, but it is important. For instance, Facebook, the most active social media platform, has over 2.6 billion monthly active users. However, no matter how hard you try, you can’t reach each and every one of them—nor would you even want to.
The trick is to identify the bare minimum number of active users a network needs so that you feel like building a presence on those networks wouldn’t be in vain. After a point, the number of users shouldn’t really matter. If you’re comparing two networks that both have a sizeable active user base, consider the demographics you’re targeting in order to make your decision. For example, if your target audience is primarily women, you may consider using Pinterest, but if you just want to reach the younger audience, Twitter or Instagram would be right for you.
Once you have a potential list of networks that you think are active enough to explore, you’ll need to identify which of the networks your audience is actually on. This will help you narrow down your list into a list of networks that are viable for you.
It’s useful to look at demographic data to identify which network your target audience spends their time on as well as trends on different social media platforms so that you’ll be able to make an informed choice when you decide where you want to focus your efforts.
You’ll find a lot of websites that give you detailed demographic studies of different networks. The best way to take advantage of the available data is to create a target customer profile, and then choose the network that matches your target customer.
When you create your customer profile, try to be as specific as you can. The demographics from the Pew Research Center, for example, will give you an extremely detailed study, including the gender, age, location, level of income, and even the level of education the users have.
Even a quick glance at the statistics can give you important information. For example, Pew Internet’s Social Media Factsheet will tell you that LinkedIn is more popular among highly educated, rich men, whereas Pinterest is more popular among highly educated, rich women. Instagram and Twitter are most popular among people under the age of 30, while the trend on Facebook suggests that it is becoming more popular among users over the age of 50.
Match the target customer profile you have with the networks using the demographic data. Once you do that, you’ll be left with a handful of networks that you can build a presence on. But how do we narrow this down even further?
3. Type of content
Now that you’ve identified the networks that your customers are on, it’s important to choose the network that is most suited to the type of content that you want to create. For example, if you’re a gym or fast-food chain, you may rely on a lot of visual content. In this case, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube may be the best options for you. If you’re going to be making webinars or sharing interviews or speeches, you might want to consider sticking to YouTube, Vimeo, or SoundCloud.
Of course, you could be on any number of these platforms; but it’s important to identify which types of content work best each network. For example, you could upload a webinar to YouTube, and then post its link on Twitter to reach a wider audience.
While you pick the networks you want to use, you may want to keep the “network sentiment” in mind. It may not play a large role in your choice, but if you can’t decide between two networks, and you don’t have enough resources to handle profiles on both, you may want to consider this. The YouTube comment section is notorious for the large number of trolls they have, whereas the comments on Instagram pictures are generally far more positive and encouraging.
In an ideal world, you’d be able to market yourself on every platform your customers are on, and reach as many people as you possibly can. But sadly, in the real world, there are restrictions that we’ll have to deal with. Maybe you just don’t have the resources to manage multiple networks. Your customers could have a strong, thriving community in 4-5 networks, but what if you only have the resources to manage two networks at a time?
A simple way to deal with this problem is to choose any two of the networks and dedicate yourself to them. However, there’s is a better way to get around this problem.
There are many social media management tools on the market that can help you manage multiple networks from a single window. Different tools offer different benefits. For example, with Zoho Social, you can schedule, manage, and organize your content, as well as monitor networks to identify what your clients are talking about, generate reports to analyze how your content is doing, and collaborate with your team to discuss your strategy.
Choosing a social media management tool will help you manage your networks more efficiently, without having to hire additional people to monitor your profiles. Just look up a few of them on the internet and choose the one that appeals to you the most.
Marketing on social media can be overwhelming, especially given the number of networks available. However, if you ask yourself the right questions, you’ll be able to make the choices that best suit your needs.
If you have any questions about social media marketing that you’d like answered, or if you want to share your experiences, please leave a comment. We’d love to chat with you!