Social media marketing – 5 tips for working out which platform to use

Social media marketing - 5 tips for working out which platform to use

Social media marketing – 5 tips for working out which platform to use

Social media is changing the world – at least that’s what we’re told.  I’ve heard many stories of some guy who designed a T-shirt, put an ad on Facebook and made squillions!

But how can you do that for yourself?

And where do you start?

  • Facebook?
  • Twitter?
  • LinkedIn?
  • Flickr?
  • Google+?
  • Pintrest?
  • YouTube?
  • Snapchat?
  • Instragram?

Athlinks, Bebo, Cyworld, Elftown, Exploroo, Flixster, Flickr, Friendster, Gogoyoko, Ibibo, Lifeknot, Myspace, Netlog, Pingsta, Sgrougles, StumbleUpon, Talkbiznow, Tumblr, WAYN, Yammer…

My goodness.. there are too many to choose from!

Wikipedia was no help.  Their “non-exhaustive” list of only “notable, well-known sites” comes to 210 sites!

Here’s a quick guide to narrow the field down to something manageable.

Before we start

To get going with social media marketing, you need to have something to share with people.  For the sake of this article, I’m going to assume that you have some regular information that is ready to go.  If not, check out my article on how a blog is the foundation for all of your social media marketing efforts.

If you need more content, you can also make the most of using material that is already out there.

Naturally, driving people towards purchasing your own products and services is preferable!

How do I choose which social media platform to start with?

Here’s a quick guide to picking which social media service to start with, or (if you’re already on social media), which one to move to next.

1. Where is your audience?

The most important consideration should be:

Where is your audience?

Where is your audience?

For each product/service, you should have a very clear idea of who your ideal customer is.

  • How old are they?
  • What do they look like?
  • What do they talk about?
  • Why do they want to buy your product?
  • Who do they hang out with?
  • Even better – WHERE (online) do they hangout?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, stop reading and work that out.  It will save you a lot of time later.

Assuming you have a variety of products, you may well find that you need different social media platforms for different groups.

If you’re not sure, ask your next few customers what social media programs they use.  Ask them which one out of all of them is the best!  You will probably get a list of half a dozen or more  – depending on the demographic of your customers!

2. Platforms you’re already using

The next question is – what platforms are you already familiar with?  They are a great place to start.  Chances are, you already know how to use it, know what sort of material is engaging, and even better, you probably already have your own network of people who will see your posts!

If you’re not sure what works, just ask yourself what gets your attention.  If the regular crazy cat videos on Facebook grab your attention every time, imagine a cute video of a cat playing with one of your products..

[Ok – admission time – I made the mistake of clicking on the link! Argh!]

3. Platforms that your staff are already using

Another consideration is  – what social media channels are your staff using?

One of the things you will be looking for is existing networks that you can share content with.  Asking your team to re-share articles with their friends/networks is a great way to quickly get a lot of exposure.

4. Pick the big players

If you’re still stuck, choose one of the most popular platforms and go from there.

The answer to this will vary significantly on a few factors – does your company have a global or local reach?

Do your customers use one of the niche websites?

For example – the answer to “the most popular social media site in Australia” is likely to be very different to the “most popular social media site for independent musicians”.  Or not?   The bottom line is that the answers will vary depending on what you ask.

Here are some varying answers:

Facebook, Instragram and Snapchat top social media platforms for teens

Top social media platforms for teens – 2014. [Source: Pew Research Centre]

Twitter is the number one social site used within the sales process for 2014

Twitter is the number one social site used within the sales process for 2014. [Source: Forbes]

Be careful with this research.  The social media landscape is changing rapidly.  A survey from 2014 may be too old!  It wasn’t that long ago that Myspace was awesome and most of the others didn’t exist.  Keep an eye on your audience and move with them!

5. Use analytics to find out what works

Each social media platform gives you good information about how many people look at your article, like it, reshare it, bump it, thump it, pin it, etc.

If you drive the audience back to your website, and have Google Analytics installed, it also gives great reports on:

  • How many people visited your site
  • Which social media platform referred them
  • How long people from each site spent on each individual blog page

You can find the average reading time to help work out which audience actually engaged with your article.   I recently found that I had the most hits from StumbleUpon, but the longest reading time from users on Google+ and LinkedIn.  From this, I know that I’m better off spending my time focusing on them for now.

Summary

Just to recap – here are the 5 points to help choose a social media platform to focus on.

  1. Where are your audience?
  2. Platforms you’re already using
  3. Platforms that your staff are already using
  4. Pick the big players
  5. Use analytics to find out what works

So how did you go?  Where do your customers hang out and which social media platform works the best for them?

If you’re already up and running with social media marketing, what platform works the best for your business?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you found this interesting, please share it with your friends by using the share buttons below.  Thanks!

PS – I’ll have more to say about social media analytics over the next few weeks

PPS – I will also have a free surprise for you to get you going with social media marketing!  Join my mailing list so that you don’t miss out!

PPPS – For all of your social marketing needs, drop me a line.  I can help in all aspects from setting up a marketing strategy, setting up your social media presence, writing regular blog articles and fully managing the social media for your company.

About the author

Leon Troeth is a Melbourne-based freelance technology copywriter.  Leon loves helping small businesses use online marketing to boost their sales.


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