How to Choose the Best Social Media Networks for Promoting Your Business | Part 1 

By now, most businesses know the value of building an online presence which includes participating on popular social media networks. But the challenge most business owners face is in determining which social media networks to include in their multichannel marketing plan. What’s even more difficult is figuring out just how your business can be successful in reaching its audience, attracting more leads and converting more customers. 

While it’s tempting to create a business profile on the network you’re most familiar with, or scramble to be on as many social media networks as possible, it makes more sense to take a deliberate and strategic approach to how you’ll use each one.

To get you started, here are 5 steps you can take to determine the best social media networks for promoting your business: 

#1 Consider Your Overarching Business Objectives 

Before deciding upon any marketing or advertising initiative, refer to your business’ measurable goals and objectives for the year. How do you see social media supporting those objectives, and what other marketing collateral do you have in place?  

#2 Establish Realistic Expectations

There’s a lot of hyperbole being spread about how amazing social media can be for promoting your business. And while some of it is true, your expectations need to be realistic and based on average-case scenario’s; not on the success that already established brands such as Nike are experiencing.  

Understand Social Media’s Limitations:

Social media can be an effective tool for building brand image, awareness and interest, influencing brand preference, and making your business appear more “human” and approachable. It does not, however, adequately replace all other marketing activities. Instead, social media should work cohesively with your overall inbound marketing strategy and everything else you have in place.  

Before Proceeding to the Next Step:

Consider how social media will be used and what your business hopes to gain from doing so. We cannot emphasize this enough! 

#3 Consider Each Social Media Network‘s Audience 

Hundreds of social media networks exist around the world. How do you choose the right one? Your first step should be to understand exactly which networks your target audience engages with most. Even among the so-called ‘big five’ networks, audience demographics can differ significantly.  

Instagram users for instance, are younger, well-educated, and predominantly urban or suburban. Facebook users, on the other hand, cover a broad spectrum of ages including users who are aging with the network (Grandma’s even using it!). 

Refer to these audience demographics provided by Sprout Social for information on each social media network’s audience. 

#4 Consider How, When and Why Your Target Audience Uses Each Social Media Network 

Now that you know which networks your target audience uses most, it’s time to consider how, why and when they use them, and whether the content is a good fit for what your business offers.  

Facebook’s Audience:

Uses the network for everything from following their favourite brands and coordinating events, to engaging with friends and sharing the highlight reels of their lives.  

Instagram’s Audience:

Uses the network to share and engage with photos. And a few Instagram users are competing to establish themselves as social media influencers that other Instagram users follow for product and lifestyle advice and ideas. 

Pinterest’s Audience:

Uses Pinterest to collect images and ideas of everything from home design, recipes, beauty, DIY projects, hobbies, travel, wish lists, and dream boards.  

Twitter’s Audience:

Uses the network to concisely converse with other users on trending topics, pop-culture, and current events. Users also tend to go to their favourite brands’ Twitter accounts to voice questions and concerns about products and services.  

LinkedIn’s Audience:

Uses the network to showcase their professional biographies, build their network of industry alliances, search for suitable job candidates, and demonstrate their industry topic expertise through sharing content and contributing to relevant LinkedIn Groups. 

By considering how, when and why your target audience engages with content on each network, you can formulate more relevant and effective ways––and less interruptive ways––to appeal to them with your products and services. Knowing, for example, how Instagram users engage, it makes sense to get your products in the hands of a popular Instagram influencer that your target audience follows for product advice, versus relying on stock imagery to organically attract more Instagram followers.  

#5 Consider Each Social Media Network‘s Content Emphasis   

Facebook:

Offers businesses the opportunity to post and share content in a variety of media types including text only, photos, links and videos (including live video). Facebook is a great network for sharing blog content, tips, and fun pictures. Just remember to keep promotional posts at a 25% maximum of the overall content you post. And make a point of sharing content from other industry alliances.  

Instagram and Pinterest:

Are exclusively visual networks. It doesn’t make sense to build a brand presence on either network unless you are committed to consistently sharing candid photos and short video clips of your products, people, business events and culture.  

Instagram and Pinterest both represent an excellent promotional opportunity for B2C businesses such as retail, home decorating, food, beauty services and travel agencies that can showcase their offerings to users who are creating wish lists and collecting ideas.  

B2B companies whose offerings have aesthetic appeal can also do well on these networks. Graphic and web design, online print providers, technology and office furnishing companies can really rock these networks too by consistently posting quality imagery that best showcases their goods, as well as sharing posts from other industry alliances that offer products or services that complement their offerings. And businesses that embrace a strong influencer marketing strategy can see great ROI on Instagram! 

Twitter:

Features a super-concise coversational dynamic. And becoming Twitter savvy has a slightly steeper learning curve. Businesses need to familiarize themselves with hashtag use and general Twitter etiquette. That said, it can be a great way to share links backs to your blog content, industry news, events announcements and monitor company mentions and industry-related conversations. Twitter also grants business owners a way to access people that might otherwise be hard to connect with via traditional measures (such as cold calling). And, more businesses are embracing Twitter as a responsive customer service support tool.  

LinkedIn:

Is a suitable network for posting and sharing business or industry related content. It’s a great network for promoting your business blog and showcasing your industry expertise so long as it’s relevant to LinkedIn’s audience. Businesses even use their LinkedIn Business Pages to announce job postings, new hires, and showcase events and awards. 

Other Networks:

Such as YouTube, Vimeo and Soundcloud are used to subscribe to, consume and share audio and video content. Snapchat is used for short-lived image messaging. Whereas, Reddit is largely text-based.  

The key to identifying the best social media networks for promoting your business is to find the right brand overlap. In your industry, what content makes the most sense to share? Are you looking to reach professionals who take to LinkedIn for their in-depth content needs? Or are you looking for a more casual, visual approach like Instagram? 

Next Steps 

Do you homework to determine which social media networks most closely reflect your target audience and support your other marketing activities.  

Want to learn more about how to rock your social media marketing? Click here for Part 2 of How to Choose the Best Social Media Networks for Promoting Your Business or contact our social media marketing experts now at McAllister Marketing if you’d like to learn more about how we can help you attract, retain and convert more customers with your social media and online marketing strategy. 

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