Today’s guest blog is brought to you by Kathryn Marr, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Blue Ivory Creative.
Everyone you meet thinks a different platform is the best one for your business!
Maybe it seems like the easiest route is to have a presence on all of them (or the major ones, at least). Don’t do this! Using all of the social media platforms spreads out your effort, and also decreases your effectiveness. You’ll see much better results focusing on 2-3 platforms. But which ones?
Honestly, my answer isn’t very straightforward. And that’s because it really depends on your industry and your target audience. So I’ve decided to break down a few of the most common platforms, along with their perks, audiences, etc., to help you choose the two or three that are right for you.
Before you get started…
There are a few things you need to be aware of before you read the rest of my tips. These elements will play a big role in the social media platforms that are the best for your brand:
1. What is your target audience? Think about their age, industry, gender, location, etc.
2. How much time do you have to spend on social media?
3. What is your interest level?
You’ll want to be on the social media platforms that your audience is on. Otherwise, it won’t matter how much time you put in; you’ll never be successful! There’s also no point in putting time into a platform that you have no interest in; your audience will know that you’re bored or uninterested and this will make you less successful.
Facebook is definitely the most popular social media platform on the Internet. Everyone and their mother is on Facebook!! In fact, 93% of adult users have a Facebook account! For most businesses, this is a good place to spend your time and efforts.
- Promoting and sharing events
- Targeting a local audience
- Business to consumer companies, such as retailers, real estate agents, authors, stylists, etc.
- Women – the vast majority have an account and are active on Facebook
Not good for:
- A teenage target audience; these users have almost entirely skipped the Facebook moved on from Facebook.
- It’s important that you have some time to dedicate to Facebook, spend in networking groups, etc.
Facebook is an excellent way to connect with your consumers, especially if your target audience is adult women! If you’re not B2C, that’s all right. Facebook can also be a great tool for B2B companies.
Keys to Success on Facebook:
- Get involved in 2-3 networking groups. This is especially important if you’re a B2B company. Provide valuable information rather than simply promoting your products or services.
- Try boosting your posts. This can be a great way to get your content to your target audience.
- Post directly on Facebook instead of using third-party tools. Facebook can dock your post visibility if you use tools like Buffer and HootSuite to post.
- Keep the focus on your customers. Post more relevant content than promotional content. Respond quickly and be engaging.
With over six million registered users, Twitter is definitely one of the social media giants. It’s a bit different from many of the other platforms, limiting your posts to only 140 characters. Short blurbs and quotes work well here.
- Answering customer questions
- Releasing company news
- Connecting with the millennial generation (40% of users are between 18 and 29 years old)
- Sharing links to your website/blog content
Not good for:
- Communicating a lot of information
- Sharing visuals (unless within linked content)
- Personalized interaction
Twitter is an excellent platform to get your message out to lots of people at once, especially if you use hashtags correctly. It’s also a great way to answer customer questions and respond to potential complaints. However, if your brand is very visual (graphic design, video, etc.), it may not be the best platform for you.
Keys to Success on Twitter:
- Include links to relevant and shareable content. This content should inspire, inform, educate, or entertain your viewers.
- Make sure your headline grabs attention and compels your viewers to click on your link.
Pinterest has over 100 million active users and, to top it all off, Pinterest users spend more money than any other social network. It’s extremely visual, which makes it an excellent opportunity for many industries, but engagement is typically in the form of repins, rather than conversations.
- Fashion, products, food, home décor – these make up the top pinned categories on Pinterest
- Visual content, such as infographics, memes, portfolio examples
- Connecting with women. Women make up 80% of Pinterest users.
Not good for:
- Direct communication and high levels of engagement
- Connecting with a male audience
Pinterest is an excellent opportunity for a lot of industries, especially food, fashion, real estate, interior design, photography, and other visual fields. Featuring your products on Pinterest can help get both views and sales.
Keys to Success on Pinterest:
- Mix your own pins with repins from others
- Create unique boards that connect with your target audience
- Design excellent graphics (Canva.com is an easy way to do this)
- Use “rich pins”, which create unique opportunities to feature your products, recipes, and articles (add ingredients, pricing, etc.)
- Participate in group boards, where you can add your unique voice, connect with other like-minded Pinners, and grow your audience
With more than 300 million active users monthly, Instagram has really blossomed in the past few years. Instagram is similar to Pinterest, in that it’s image-based, and integrates perfectly with Facebook (Instagram is owned by Facebook).
- Connecting with millennials (40% are between 18 and 29)
- Sharing images and short video content
- Sharing company culture
- Food, fashion, photography, design and similar industries
- Easily editing photos with pre-made filters
Not good for:
- Businesses that don’t create/develop their own, high-quality, interesting images
- Targeting an older demographic
- Users who don’t love utilizing mobile. It can be trickier with Instagram to schedule posts, upload photos, etc. on a desktop, as the platform was designed with the mobile experience in mind.
Generally, if you’re in an industry that works well on Pinterest, Instagram will be a good platform for you to use. It’s extremely visual, is a great way to share your work and photos, and is excellent for connecting with millennials.
Keys to Success on Instagram:
- Make sure your images are beautiful and compelling. This isn’t the place for blurry iPhone photos!
- Don’t over-post. This is one of the easiest ways to turn off followers.
- Create a relevant hashtag and build a following around that hashtag.
- Tell your brand story without selling. Share photos of experiences rather than pushing your products or services.
Snapchat and Vine
These are smaller social networks that are beginning to generate quite a bit of buzz.
Snapchat: The content disappears quickly, but isn’t all that different from your tweet or post getting lost in the myriad of information generated by other companies. Great when targeting ages 25 and under.
Vine: Vine and Twitter are seamlessly connected. They generally have the same audience, and if you’re using Twitter, Vine can be a great tool to increase your engagement and grab attention and interest.
The most important thing to remember is that you need to be on networks that will allow you to connect with your target audience. Check the referral traffic to your website using Google Analytics. If you go to Acquisition Social Network Referrals when logged into GA, you’ll be able to see how many site visitors come from specific social networks.
Also take a look at the networks that your current clients/customers are on, and the networks that people who email you are on. That’s a great indication of where you should be focusing your attention.
And, as always, remember that being successful on social media requires engagement and time. It’s not something that happens instantly!
So if you’re trying to decide which social networks are right for you, remember the three keys:
Kathryn Marr is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Blue Ivory Creative, a digital marketing company based out of Nashville, TN.
A graphic and web designer, as well as social media manager, she brings a passion for entrepreneurship and creativity to the table. Kathryn loves helping people pursue their dreams and be successful doing what they love to do.
Connect with her: http://blueivorycreative.com