One way to decide is to base your social media communications on four factors: your audience, business sector, goals and how much time and resources you have available for social media. These four factors are covered in more detail below:
Where you should focus your time and effort depends very much on the target audience of your business and where they are most likely to be online. Finding this out can be easier said than done, but here are a few ways to get insights:
- Ask your customers! Asking your customers if they’re more likely to use Instagram or Pinterest, for example, can help inform your plan of action.
- Get clues from this research by Pew, which details the main demographics of each social network.
Look at which channel is most suited to your business sector. If your product or service is exclusively B2B, for example, this will help guide you in your channel choice.
Similarly, if you’re in a sector which has great visual potential, like food or fashion, then the more visual channels like Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook may be well suited to your business.
If you’re not sure which would be best suited, try completing a search for what’s already happening in each of the channels in your sector. You could also search for your competitors, similar businesses and trade press to see how much engagement they’re getting to help you evaluate the potential of each channel.
Another area to consider is your business goals and what you want to achieve from being on social media. Do you want more people in store, more widespread brand recognition or more clicks to your website? This should also have an influence on your social media channel choice.
For example, if your focus is on attracting local visitors to your store, channels like Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will probably work best. Alternatively, if you’re looking for business leads, Twitter or LinkedIn may have most potential.
Now you have a good idea of which channels might be most important for your business, we will look at the final factor influencing which channels you should use – your time.
By now you should have a few social media channels as front runners, so you work out how many you can reasonably manage. If you’re not sure, start with one, see how it goes, then work out if you have the time and resources to add another once you’re up and running. If you can only maintain one, that’s 100% fine, and much better than half-heartedly managing two channels.
The result? More effective social media communications
By choosing your social media channels in this way, you’ll be using the ones that are most likely to get results for your business rather than whichever one currently has the most hype around it.