Choosing the Right Social Media Platform

You wouldn’t use a car to travel across the Atlantic . . . and you wouldn’t use a blow torch to bake chocolate chip cookies. In both cases, the proposed tool performs some version of the action you need accomplished (the car transports, and the blow torch heats things up), but they’re not exactly what you’d call ideal candidates for the specific tasks at hand.

When it comes to selecting the ideal social media platforms to promote your business, increase ROI, and build your consumer base, the same observation applies. In other words: all social media platforms are not created equal!

With the huge variety of social apps available to the modern consumer, it has become essential that businesses start to take stock of each option’s abilities, audience, and potential for growth. Generally speaking, most entrepreneurs and small business owners think this equates to an unquestionable need to diversify. After all, you’re probably active on more than just one social media channel, so chances are your clients and potential customers are as well.

That being said, maintaining a business account on just one social media platform can be a challenge—it takes multiple posts per week, including evaluating and responding to comments about those posts, to be considered successful and effective in today’s online marketplace. What’s more is that each platform possesses a unique “personality,” complete with unique content and consumer engagement standards. If you don’t have the resources to dedicate a department specifically to social media marketing, you might find that maintaining business accounts on multiple social media platforms adds up to more than you’d bargained for.

The Most Obvious Answer is Not Always the Right Answer

Facebook has more users than the next top five social media platforms combined. As a bonus, you get access to all of the useful—and free!—analytics it provides, not to mention all of the customer information that users typically choose to offer up as members of the platform. The hiccup with Facebook, however, is that every other business on the planet knows it’s a great social media marketing platform as well, and many of your top competitors won’t hesitate to pony up the advertising expenditures necessary to boost their content. Result: their content gets seen—yours sits in the void. You need to do it right, or get help from a company who knows what they are doing to get it right.

For startups and other small businesses, there may be infinitely more merit in investing your time with newer social media sites. Why? These sites and apps typically don’t monetize early on, meaning less out-of-pocket cost. They also pose less competition and won’t limit your reach, like Facebook searches do. The social media universe is an ever-changing field of consumer interaction wildflowers: full of colorful blossoming beauties, yet rife with useless weeds and redundant filler. You’re going to have to do a bit of homework to figure out which platforms are working best for your specific industry.

You will also find that these trends are likely to change from year to year. The good news, however, is that there is nothing stopping you from taking advantage of what is working right now and keeping an open mind toward adjusting for greatest success in the future. After all, you always want to be moving, learning, and growing if you hope to maintain consistent success!

Sorting Through Your Options

A half-hearted Facebook page does not a well-marketed business make. The current social media market is complex and vast, and you need to put a little effort into understanding the mitigating factors of the game if you’re going to develop a successful social media marketing strategy.

1.     Know your audience – Who is your target demographic? What apps and websites do they frequent the most, and which of these do you notice them engaging with interactively on a frequent basis?

2.     Know the apps – Take the time to really dive into the available features of each social media platform to best understand what options are available to you in your marketing strategy. Scroll down for a quick breakdown!

3.     Know your strengths – Are you a great writer, but absolute crap on film? Be honest with yourself, then, and stick with apps that will allow you to best utilize your skill. Something else to consider: if you’re the face of your brand, you’ll need to be actively involved in the social media content generation, which can end up becoming a daily task—don’t engage in a platform you hate, because that lack of joy will translate to your content. Find a medium with which you love engaging, and go to town!

4.     Know your competition – Which apps are working for your top competitor? Where are they seeing the most action and engagement? Is there one platform that allows them to grow their base while another helps their sales conversion rates? Use other successful businesses in your field to help you determine what works and what does not.

What’s Hot Right Now?

As previously mentioned, super-well-known sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) may not be the ideal choice for you, and if they are, you almost certainly have business accounts set up and know plenty about them already. So, what about smaller businesses who want to get in a little closer to the ground floor with sites that are less well-known for their social media marketing prowess? Read on, friends:

Periscope – This is a great option for anyone who wants to use live streaming as part of their marketing strategy—share breaking industry news in a flash, develop relationships with other movers and shakers in your industry, and share product updates and demos. Some users are even finding creative ways to cross-promote on other platforms.

Snapchat – This is a perfect option for expanding brand awareness and increasing consumer interaction, especially if your demographic includes Millennials, Gen-Ys and Gen-Xs. Innovative social media marketers have been extremely creative in utilizing Snapchat to excite their consumer base, sharing sneak peeks of new lines with followers, providing exclusive behind-the-scenes access, sharing limited-time promotions, and even helping connect users to live events. The sky is truly the limit.

Kik – Again: top-notch choice for businesses catering to a younger audience. This is a mobile messaging app that allows ads to function as an intimate conversation with the consumer. The chat-style marketing strategy offers a completely unique one-on-one feel that will only grow in potential as the app continues to develop. Monetizing has already begun on this app, but we still recommend striking now, while the iron is hot.

Whatsapp – This is a text messaging app that allows for a highly-scalable marketing experience. Smaller startups can take advantage of one-on-one messaging and group chats, while larger businesses might find more success with broadcast lists. The advantage is that the use of push notifications to inform your followers about messages virtually guarantees that content will get seen, and a lack of huge competition offers a chance for you to stand out in a clutter-free environment.

Anchor – For those interested in creating and posting audio content, Anchor is the up and coming app to access. Short audio clips, or “waves,” are uploaded and can be streamed by users and responded to with additional soundbites. Share podcasts and cross-promote easily across multiple channels on a platform that is currently without formidable competition.

What’s NOT Right Now?

In the land of social media, up-and-coming stars are king. Those of you who may be stretched in terms of manpower when it comes to maintaining multiple social media outlets should consider cutting loose any old-school platforms that lack the kind of innovation and consumer connection potential of the sites listed above. In terms of forward-thinking social media and B2C marketing strategies for up-and-coming companies, they simply can’t compete with next-generation apps that are gaining massive subscribership amongst the 20’s and 30’s crowds.

That being said, there’s no reason to remove your business account from platforms on which you’ve already established a solid presence, especially if they’ve proven useful to you for the purposes of organization, enhanced industry exposure, or B2B marketing.

We always appreciate your feedback and insight! Which social media platforms have you been experiencing the most success with in your business? Need help with your social media or other marketing strategy? Contact us today!