Let’s face it: Social media is confusing to most business owners. As a result, many dismiss it as a waste of time – or impossible to manage. That is not only the biggest social media mistake a business could make, it is the biggest marketing mistake possible. Social media is definitely dominating the marketing landscape. Still, for those who are fully aware of this – trying to be on all platforms constantly – is second biggest mistake you can make. Going overboard and trying to do too much social media not only depletes precious resources, it also is unnecessary, with little to show for all that activity.
This week in the 8 Marketing Must-Have’s series, we’ll help you can decide on the platforms that will serve your business the best, and put real focus on growing your presence where it matters most.
Social Media Connects to Your Customer
When you are deciding what social platforms are right for marketing your business, the first question you should ask yourself is: are my ideal customers hanging out on this platform? (when your customers have an unused account their niece set up four years ago, it does not counts as “hanging out”, by the way.)
Be sure not to confuse a customer segment you have not yet served as an ideal customer. If you have no younger demographic customers, making yourself visible on Instagram or TikTok is probably the hardest way to win new buyers. First and foremost, take a stand in the platform your current customers frequent, and begin building a following there first.
How Many Social Media Platforms Should You Use?
I suggest no more than three platforms for any business. One or two is absolutely fine if you are certain you are where your customers are, and are pressed for time. The key is to show up consistently, with great content, and use the platform the way it is meant to be used. Here are the biggest do’s and don’t’s once you pick a platform:
SOCIAL MEDIA DO’S:
Know the right content to create engagement – it’s different for the different platforms.
Know the right frequency and best times of day for posting. Here’s a great article by LouiseM, that walks you through frequencies, and has some great planners and other tools.
Post often according to best practice guidelines.
Practice correct hash-tagging (some platforms don’t use them, and each platform has different trending tags, and different allowable/optimal numbers of tags)
Plan your posts according to popular dates, your business’ activity, and the actions you are wanting to drive.
SOCIAL MEDIA DON’T’S:
Make all your posts promotional.
Push out posts and never engage with followers or others
Over-post – it will lose followers
Run ads on a platform you never actually use personally
Run ads with no call-to-action
Vanish for weeks on the platform
Social Media By The Numbers
If you are concerned your platform doesn’t have good interaction, here are some stats from Sprout Social:
74 percent of consumers share video content from brands on social media.
57 percent of consumers have reached out to a brand on social media because they had a question.
45 percent of consumers reach out to brands on social media to get an issue with a product or service resolved, and 34 percent reach out to brands to tell them they’ve done a great job.
Which Social Media Is Right For You?
So, how do you pick the platform(s) that are best for your business? There are plenty of articles available about the demographics for all the platforms. Rather than rehash what’s readily available, I will help you address the rest of the equation – you!
Yes, spend some time researching the demographics for the different platforms, then see how they sync up with your existing
What media can best tell your brand’s story? And what content are you already creating that could be easily repurposed?
What is your brand’s personality? How will it align with YouTube vs Twitter, for example?
What do you want your followers to do as a result of engaging with you? Give you their email? Buy something now? Sign up for a program? Different platforms handle these goals very differently – and liking/following you is hardly enough.
Be clear about how much time you have to spend on social media, and don’t overextend. Different platforms have different ideal commitments.
Get informed about the platform(s) you select, so you are using them for the greatest impact.
Practicing safe social media keeps your business healthy – and let’s you focus on your content. Besides, content is what drives successful marketing – social or otherwise.