Have you ever known how many social media channels exist in the world today?
You probably know about the main ones, and those are just a handful.
Actually, there are 209 currently listed social media channels in the world today, according to Wikipedia. They go ahead and state, “This is not exhaustive and is limited to notable, well-known sites”.
This means that they may be more than 209, right?
More social media sites are cropping up all over the world, based on the success of the major ones, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.
Given that there are so many social media networks in existence, how do you choose the right ones for your blog or business?
You definitely want to use only those that give you the best engagement and conversion rates and ignore the rest, so there must be a way in which you can select the ones you want.
This practical guide will take you through 5 major questions that you have to address when you are deciding which are the best social media channels for your business.
Let get down to it!
5 Critical Questions to Consider when Choosing the Best Social Media Channel for your Business
Question 1 – Trends: What are The Top Social Media Sites in Existence and What are the Current Trends on these Platforms?
According to research and popular opinion, Facebook is rated as the most popular social media channel in the world.
You probably would expect Twitter or Instagram to be the next after Facebook, but that is not the case.
There is a Social Media channel called QQ that was started in China in the 1990s and it is the second most popular according to statistics.
However, even though it is the 2nd most popular, it does not factor well, when you look at traditional business models around the world.
This means that you should consider the popularity of the social media networks that you want to use for your business, and leave out the data.
The best way to do this is to check out where your competition promotes their business – this is ideally the best place to promote our business too.
However, you should also look at other blue ocean social media sites. This means social media networks that have a lot of users but are not saturated by businesses promotions from your competition.
New popular entrants like Snapchat and WhatsApp offer a great way to innovatively market your business.
Carefully go through your options, comparing data with popular opinion, and also consider where your competition does their promotions and you will have a good idea where to conduct your social media marketing campaigns.
Once you have identified where your target audience resides, you should now observe the consumer behavior on the site.
Check out the trends that are bringing in a lot of conversations – these are the ones with the highest engagement rates.
Also, consider the trends in the kind of media that the platform is offering you to do your marketing.
For example, Instagram Reels have become very popular amongst users on the platform – see how you can leverage the reels feature and expand your reach and increase your audience pool.
Some social media platforms are allowing social commerce – this is a perfect place to get people to engage with a promotion, and make a purchase without ever leaving the platform.
In order to find the best social media platform for our business, you should keep yourself informed of the trends, news, and developments on all social networks so you can adjust your social media marketing campaigns accordingly.
Question 2 – Audience: Who are your Target Audiences and which Network Do They Reside in?
According to one old saying, you must “Fish where the fish are>’
This is also true when it comes to selecting the best social media channel for your business or blog.
You need to identify which social media channels your target audience uses the most and also what engages them on those networks – how do they spend their time when they are there?
Once you answer this question, you will be able to adjust your social media marketing campaigns for the best results.
Note that the most popular social media networks may not be the best for your business.
For instance, even though Facebook is the most popular social media network in the world when you are marketing to millennials, you might be better off concentrating on Snapchat, because that is where they spend most of their time.
You must then decide what type of content is popular on Snapchat and then use it to draw them towards your products and services – generate engagement and conversions.
At this point, you should do your due diligence and conduct an online survey or market research and find out the places where your potential customers spend the most time.
When it comes to industry trends, you must also consider whether you are a B2B or B2C player.
The audience that you serve will also determine where they spend most of their time.
Here are some inferences that you can make based on statistics from various surveys and research.
Facebook has been noted as the most prominent B2C channel, based on the fact that most people there are looking for consumer products that they can buy.
However, when it comes to B2B consumers, LinkedIn is the most popular for audiences looking for B2B products and services to use.
Audience presence is affected by the nature and type of business that you are running, and therefore knowing whether you are a B2B player or B2C will direct you on where you should look for your target audience.
Make sure that you look into Forums and Social Review sites too, which though small, have a more targeted audience that is primed to purchase.
These channels have a predominantly conversation-based interaction which performs best when it comes to converting people.
For example, when someone poses a question on Quora, your answer can generate a conversation that convinces the peon that your products or services will be the best solution -the person will then make an informed purchase.
So, if you have an audience that makes decisions based on comments and conversations on forums and social review sites, you cannot ignore the opportunity that it presents for your business to perform better.
Question 3 – Content – What Content Types are you Planning To produce vs. What Type of Content Does Your Audience Prefer?
You must be wondering why the type of content that you want and the type of content that your audience prefers affects your choice of social media network for your business, right?
Well, each social media channel has a unique character that determines the kind of content that performs well on it.
For example, if you are a business that has the budget and creative ability to create engaging video content, then you should concentrate your social media marketing efforts on YouTube, and then boost the content on other sites like Instagram and Facebook.
Let’s try to illustrate this better by creating some groupings for the types of content that can do well on social media networks, apart from the “Big 3” – Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
- Video content – Vimeo and YouTube
- Location-based content – Foursquare and Snapchat
- Image-based content – Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest.
- Niche-based content – Reddit, Quora
You can now go to these social media channels and see how best to create content that will appeal to customers for your particular set of products and services.
Before you decide on a social media channel for your business, performing an internal audit of your content is a must.
Doing a content audit will help you narrow down the best social media networks that you can use to generate engagement, drive traffic and convert leads.
A content audit will also help you see which type of content performed well, and which one can be redesigned so it performs better.
- Take stock and define the current content that you have created
- Analyze the content and see if it aligns with the kind of content that your audience on your network of choice loves to consume.
- Decide how you can repurpose or redesign the content so that it matches the kind of content that your audience loves to see.
To illustrate how a content audit can help you get Moreot of your existing content, let’s look at another illustration.
Imagine that you are a business that has hundreds of videos in your portfolio. You have been providing tutorials to your audience and you have accumulated these videos over the years.
You have a very strong presence on YouTube – you have millions of page views and you sit comfortably within your niche.
Is there anything else that you can do with your content to reach higher?
Well, Yes, there is.
Although video tutorials are very popular amongst learners, some learn slower than others and prefer to read tutorials at their own pace.
You can curate the videos and write step-by-step tutorials which you can host on a blog.
You can then go and create short video introductions, which you can use on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook directing these people to your written tutorials.
This eventually will increase the traffic that you receive on your blog, and lead to higher conversions, if the tutorials lead to a purchase.
Question 4 – End Goals; What is the End Goal of Your Social Media Marketing Strategy?
You must be very clear about the end goal of your social media marketing strategy or campaign.
Take notes and list the objectives that you want to attain, to get clarity on the type of social media platforms that will deliver these goals.
Certain social media platforms are primed to deliver certain results.
For instance, LinkedIn is a platform that can help you create a community with other professionals, partners, and prospects in your niche, in a manner that Twitter cannot.
On the other hand, Facebook is a great place to look for people who you personally know and have not seen for several years.
We have listed several goals that are common to many businesses and the possible social media channels that would best help them achieve those goals.
Take note that this is just a sample list and is not exhaustive. You must dig deeper and fine-tune your goals to the appropriate channels, even those that are not mentioned on this list.
|Business Goal||Suggested Social Media Channel|
|Engagement and Cultivating Conversations||Social review site, Forums, Facebook|
|Increase Sales and Conversions||Facebook Pages, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram for Brands, Blog, Foursquare|
|Professional Networking||LinkedIn, Twitter|
|Event Promotion||Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest|
|Product Awareness and Branding||Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook|
|Building Communities||LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups, Twitter Lists|
|Traffic Generation||Blog, Pinterest, Social review sites|
|Mobile Marketing||WhatsApp. Viber, Facebook messenger, Telegram|
|Viral Marketing and Endorsements||Twitter, Instagram, YouTube|
|Customer Support||Social review sites, Twitter, Facebook, Forums|
Question 5 – Workflow: Which Social Media Channels Align well with Your Internal Business Workflow?
Consistency is key when you want to make a credible impact with your social media campaigns.
To achieve this consistency, and create engagement on these channels, your internal business workflow should work seamlessly with the workflow required to achieve maximum effect on the channel you choose.
Every social media channel has its own functioning and character, so you must think hard about which one best fits your business.
Let’s look at an example:
If you are a company that deals in fashion accessories, this is how you might plan which social media channel to use…
You want to run a social media campaign where you can post images of your customers walking in and trying on different fashion accessories to see how they look – you need to obtain their permission to do this.
You also want to run the campaign across many retail outlets where your fashion accessories are being sold.
Your best choice would obviously be Instagram since it is best suited to run image-based campaigns.
The people manning the various outlets you use to sell your fashion accessories should be able to use their mobile phones to access Instagram.
You must have a uniform understanding of the branding and style of the images that are posted for the campaign.
You must have uniformity when it comes to the language and tone of the posts made, so they are consistent.
Your staff should know about the hashtags that you want to be used for the campaign.
This is just a simple illustration of how your internal workflow will affect which social media channels to use.
If any of the above features are not aligned, then the whole campaign will not be as fruitful as it should be.
Identifying the best social media channel for your business does not mean going to one that is simply popular. You must make sure that you answer these questions above thoroughly.
Investing in social media marketing can be quite expensive, especially when you are using adverts on these channels.
You need to streamline your efforts so you can achieve the best ROI possible.