This is probably the most asked question by clients. They know that they need to have a presence online and will often sign up to the most popular platforms before considering if they are a good fit for their business.
To make the most of social media, you have to be social.
This isn’t surprise, but it can be extremely time consuming, especially if done properly. With this in mind it is worth having a quick think before you start.
What are the main platforms?
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube are the big ones. They all specialise in slightly different forms of content and communication styles. Others to also consider are Pinterest, Snapchat and Periscope, but before you decide which one(s) to join, what about your audience?
What are my customers using?
This is key. If you are targeting teenagers, then Snapchat is more appropriate than Pinterest. But again, if you want to reach say, arty women over 25, then Pinterest is better than Snapchat. Each one has a slightly different demographic and so try asking these questions as starting points:
- Age range?
- Interests - Music, Film/TV, hobbies?
- What are their friends using?
Although broad, I always encourage clients to keep a check on their audience demographic and try to review and update this knowledge as often as possible. Knowing your customers will act as an excellent final filter for all your content to make sure it is as engaging and appropriate as possible.
If you aren’t sure who your audience is, then when not do a survey? Survey Monkey is great for this and they offer a free plan: http://surveymonkey.com/
And just to give you an idea, here is a must read article: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/09/demographics-of-key-social-networking-platforms-2/
What is the difference between the platforms and which one is best?
There isn’t one that stand out as the best as they all have strengths and weaknesses. But the great thing about this is that they all allow you to showcase aspects of your business in different ways. Let’s take a simple run through.
Twitter - Hugely popular, but very noisy. Due to users being limited to using just 140 characters, it works best to engage in ‘text-like’ conversations or to use as a newsfeed of interesting articles. It's ‘Search’ feature is brilliant as it allows you to search for phrases and words that relate to your business, so you an connect with your customers directly.
Facebook - A very social space that is great for sharing stories and having discussions as unlike Twitter, you can share far more information in a single post. It has a huge community as nearly everyone is on there you have a higher chance of finding potential customers and new fans.
YouTube - The second most popular search engine after Google. Video is a very fast emerging form of content as everyone can shoot their own video with smartphones and it’s much easier to consume content by watching it compared to reading it.
Instagram - This platform is all about images and has one of the friendliest communities online. It’s my favourite and is great at providing your audience a behind the scenes look at your business.
So to sum up:
- Twitter - Short bursts of text
- Facebook - Discussions and stories
- Youtube - Video
- Instagam - Images
They can all be used to show off a different aspect of what you do, but as I said before you’ll need to consider where you audience are and what they are doing, if you are going to reach them most effectively. Using all 4 at once is very time consuming so as they say ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. Do the planning now so that when you start you can go all in and maximise your presence online.
In my next article I’ll address another question I am fervently asked:
"How can I connect to my audience?"
This all comes down to talking to them in a way that they can relate to and on a platform that they use. You have to offer ‘valuable’ content that will engage with them and is so good that they will want to share to with others. It’s ‘Word of Mouth’ advertising but done online. More of that next time...
As always, I want to provide my readers with value and so would love to know what can I do for you? What are you struggling with in your business?
Please get in touch with your questions and I’ll answer them in future posts.
Thanks for reading.