Choosing the Right Social Channels for Your Business

by Alex Jeffs May 13, 2016
May 13, 2016

When it comes to using social media for your brand or to promote your work, there are multiple options out there.


According to Pew Research, more than half of all online adults use at least two social media platforms.


If you’re not sure where to start, it’s important to learn how each social media platform is used and the type of audience you’ll reach through each one.


This post will explore four of the biggest platforms today: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Ideally, you should start small by choosing one or two that you think will fit well with your business.


Once you’ve mastered your chosen platforms, you can consider adding another one or more to the mix.


Facebook

The typical first question about Facebook is, “Do I need a Facebook business page?” The answer is simple: yes, you do.


Today, people turn to Facebook to find out what a brand is about, to see how they treat and interact with their customers, nd to get access to basic information about their hours of operation, products for sale, menus, and/or contact information.


According to Marketing Sherpa, more than 30% of millennials say that social media is their favorite way to communicate with brands.


So not only is your audience going to be on Facebook looking directly for your brand, but if they aren’t looking for it, you can still manage to get their attention.


The availability of Facebook Ads, boosted posts, and a range of other advertising options enables you to expose potential customers to your brand, in an environment where they are already highly engaged.


One critical thing to understand about Facebook is that it’s not difficult to turn your audience off.


Unlike other social media platforms, you shouldn’t post too often to Facebook. One post per day is more than enough – four a week is even better. If you bombard your audience with posts, they’re going to stop paying attention, unfollow your page, or both.


Use Facebook’s built-in analytics to determine the best posting schedule you should follow. Check it every week, as your audience may change when they’re online due to a number of factors, for example, the time of year or season.


Once you have a good posting schedule, it can be difficult for your content to stand out on Facebook if you’re not using ads. While ads do cost money, the good news is that they can be highly targeted to specific audiences.


Facebook Ad Types to Use


One type is a post boost – once you post to your page, you can opt to boost the post with anywhere from $ 1 or more. You can choose to boost the post to your own followers, their followers and their connections, or even target a custom audience like followers of another page or group.


You can create more traditional ads for a host of reasons, like to get more page likes or to send more traffic to your website. These can also be shown to targeted audiences.


Spend some time discovering who your customers are and then creating thoughtful targeted audiences on Facebook.


Instagram

Instagram is unlike many other social media platforms, because it’s primarily used via mobile.


Today, 80% of Internet users also own a smartphone. While you can go to someone’s Instagram profile online, few people do.


The mobile app is better looking and easier to use than the website, especially because you can only upload photos from the app.


Keep in mind that Instagram doesn’t have in-caption linking capabilities.


While there is space for a link in your bio section and you can update this link, you can’t put a hyperlink in a photo caption.


This is one of the big reasons why Instagram is particularly good for increasing brand awareness, but not great for driving traffic to your website.


If you’re thinking about user intent on social media, ask yourself whether or not your audience would be interested in discovering your brand and following your feed.


Since it’s not easy to direct people to your website via Instagram, use it as a stand-alone content platform.


Assume that your followers aren’t going to click over to your blog post, for example.


Instead of posting a teaser, consider posting a shortened version of your blog on Instagram. If people want to read more, they can visit your website, but if they don’t, they’ll still get a good feel for your brand.


Pinterest

Pinterest, while it is focused on visuals just like Instagram, is excellent for driving traffic to your website.


Each image you post can be linked to wherever you want it to point.


While you’ll want to make sure to keep the links the same when sharing other people’s content, you can customize the links for your own images when sharing photos from your website or infographics from your blog.


In addition to great linking capability, Pinterest has a lot of useful features for businesses.


If or when you convert your personal account to a business account, you’ll also have access to extra analytics.


You can also invite your customers to contribute to one of your boards or you can help increase brand awareness by becoming a contributor to another board.


Not to mention that businesses are reporting some great ROIs from the Pinterest advertising platform.


YouTube

With the popularity of video content on the rise, most brands are asking themselves whether video marketing is something they should invest their time or money in.


While YouTube marketing is a good fit for some businesses, it may not be a great fit for others.


You have to really think about what it is you’re marketing and the goal you have for your videos.


YouTube has many strengths: it’s not just a video hosting service, but also a search engine, community social network and advertising platform. However, while this may sound good for your business, consider what it is you’re selling and why people are turning to YouTube for content.


User intent on social media is especially important when it comes to YouTube. Visitors aren’t going to YouTube to find products or services. Instead, they’re looking for restaurant recommendations, the latest news, travel directions, how-to videos and funny content to brighten their day.


If your business falls into those categories, then YouTube may be a great fit for you. However, if you want to simply push a product or service, YouTube may not be the best marketing avenue. While people love video, you have to convince them to watch your content, and if they think they’re simply going to get a sales pitch, they’ll go somewhere else.


Instead, use YouTube to provide content to help and entertain your target audience. Help your audience solve problems, learn new things, or even improve their skills. When this is done right, they will grow an affinity for your brand.


Summary

When it comes to social media, there are practically endless options out there, with many more being added regularly.


Some will flop and some, like Facebook, will last for years.


Be picky about choosing which social media platform is worth your time.


You want to make sure you can effectively show your content and reach your core audience at the same time.

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