Social Media Channels: How to Choose the Right Ones for Your Business

According to We Are Social, more than two billion people use social media channels on a daily basis, making it a great resource for promoting and marketing your business or blog. However, being on every platform at once is an easy trap to fall into, and as a result, your strategy might devolve into simply being present as opposed to understanding what makes each network unique and learning how to leverage their respective strengths.

The truth is, you don’t need to be active on every single social media channel. You should aim to create a strong presence on the right social media platforms for you.

To identify the right social media channels for your audience and business goals, ask yourself the following four questions:

1. What are your social media marketing goals?

Are you trying to raise brand awareness? In that case, a platform like Facebook is a great contender. Do you want to drive more traffic, generate leads, or make additional sales? Consider spending some time on Pinterest. Assess your goals and then narrow down your choice of social media platforms accordingly.

2. Where do you see the most engagement?

Engagement comes in the form of replies, reshares, comments, and likes. So, keep a close eye on each of your posts. If there is little-to-no engagement on a particular network, that’s a good indicator you shouldn’t waste time there and put more effort into a channel receiving more activity.

3. What type of content do you plan on posting?

If you like creating visual content, then a visual platform like Pinterest or Instagram might be worth mastering. For brief updates, nothing beats Twitter’s 280-character limit. If you prefer to use videos, then it’s natural to consider YouTube as your platform of choice. When making your decision, don’t forget to factor in what your creative strengths are, the kind of content you enjoy creating, and the type of content your audience responds to.

4. Is this where your audience members spend their time?

Last but not least, you should choose a platform where your fans, supporters, and potential site visitors like to spend their time. If they enjoy reading inspiring quotes or want to find ideas for their next project, Instagram or Pinterest might be their favorite places to visit. If they love technology and enjoy real-time, fast-paced updates, Twitter is probably where they spend the most time.

Websites like Smart Insights provide statistics that can give you a feel for which social media platform is popular among certain demographics. You can also do some sleuthing yourself — consider the following to determine whether your target audience is on your platform:

  • Search for niche keywords and hashtags: Almost every platform allows you to search for industry keywords and possible hashtags. Perform searches to determine if there’s popular content surrounding your industry, and find whether your competitors are active on each respective platform. If they are present and engaged, you should probably be active on that network as well.

  • Know your audience: It goes without saying that you should familiarize yourself with your supporters. Learn their demographic and psychographic data, then use the statistics mentioned above as guidelines to determine if your ideal audience is likely to be active on a given platform.

  • Use groups: If a social network has a group feature (like Facebook and LinkedIn do), consider joining a few groups related to your industry or general interests. If you can’t reach out to your desired audience there, you can eliminate that social media platform from your list. If you do notice some engagement, then the network has definite potential.

Choose your social media channels wisely

When you’re getting started with your social media marketing efforts, avoid being everywhere at once. Instead, focus on your industry, target audience, personal content preferences, and the engagement that you want to drive. Doing so will allow you to reach your business and marketing goals more quickly and effectively.


Brenda Barron

Brenda Barron is a freelance writer, editor, and SEO specialist from southern California. She is a contributor to The Motley Fool and blogs regularly at The Digital Inkwell.

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