In 2021, Social media marketing is a fundamental part of any business’ marketing strategy. But how do you choose which social media platform is best for your business when there are so many? So far this year, Facebook has been the most widely used social media platform. While this might tell you Facebook is the best option, it is not always the best way to reach your target audience. As we work a lot with small businesses in Ireland, particularly in Kildare, we know what you might struggle with when choosing what platforms to use for your digital marketing strategy. We also know that along with posting content for customers, many of you also want to network with other small businesses. So let's take a look at five things to keep in mind when choosing which social media platform is right for you.
The first thing you should think about is what content you are going to be posting.Visual content such as images and videos are often associated with Facebook and Instagram, but depending on the length of content it might perform better on Youtube. Maybe you are interested in posting typed content to encourage conversation or reflection, in which case you might choose a platform like Reddit or Twitter. Audio content like podcasts will naturally push you towards platforms like Clubhouse or Spotify. The main thing is to find out where your content will fit and has the potential to be received well by an audience. For example, here at COSMOS.ie, we post on LinkedIn as we want to network with small businesses in the Kildare area and this is where you are interacting with customers. We also post on Facebook as many of our clients are interested in Facebook advertising and so it is important we have a presence here.
It is then worth investigating if you should have more than one content type which allows you to diversify your content portfolio and will potentially allow cross platform posting. A popular example of this is if you record a podcast for spotify but also record video so you can then post the content on youtube. This means you can reach people on more than one platform and will get more eyes, or in this example ears!, on your content. More eyes potentially means more engagement which is what we want as businesses when it comes to posting on social media. However you choose to produce your content there is a platform that will allow you to reach your audience.
Another issue that can arise is trying to figure out who and where your target audience is. This can be more difficult for smaller companies as larger ones tend to have more followers and so the audience can be found on almost all social media platforms. So how do you decide where your audience is? This can take some adjusting until you find the right fit but you should think about your business area. If you work for a camera company, naturally your audience will be found on platforms like Instagram and Youtube, but what if it is not as simple as this example? If you are stuck take a look at groups or communities on social media that may relate to your area (A great example of this is the #marketingtwitter on twitter for marketing professionals). This will help you find the people who will be interested in your content and will be more likely to engage with it.
You also need to think about what content your audience like to see. Do they want to see a professional infographic explaining industry trends or maybe they are looking to network with other small businesses in Ireland? If so, LinkedIn may be the place for you. If they prefer more informal conversation we would recommend using Twitter. It is important you know your target audience before you start on a social media platform as choosing the wrong ones may provide little return on a huge amount of effort.
Let's assume that you have not started on any social media platforms and you want to let your audience find you without doing any social media advertising. There are a number of things you can do to help this but one often overlooked area to think about is the visibility of the content. Some social media platforms allow users to find content from new users much more easily than others. For example, Tik Toks ‘For You Page’ allows you to see not only posts from accounts you follow but also shows you new accounts, providing a system where posts can reach a lot of users in a very short amount of time. Instagram's ‘Explore page’ and ‘Reels’ also do this and so maybe these platforms would suit you better in finding your audience than others.
Shareability is also important in relation to visibility. How many times have you found a new account from a post someone sent you through a dm or a story share? A great example of shareability is Tik Tok. Rather than making the share a link to the platform, Tik Tok watermarks videos allowing them to be downloaded and shared on any platform.
With these things in mind you will be on your way to picking a social media platform that will suit your needs. Next month we will bring you part two focusing on advertising and analytics on these platforms and what to look for when choosing a platform for your business. Which area do you find the most difficult when choosing social media platforms? Be sure to comment and let us know!