I had a client tell me the other day that she supposed it was time she got on Twitter, so I asked her a few questions and found out that she didn’t have a Twitter account yet. I explained the commitment she would need to make in selecting Twitter as the social media site for her and this is what happened:
She shot back with “well, that’s ludicrous, NO ONE could possibly do that, everyone would have to quit their jobs and do nothing but Twit (sic) all day”. After a little more discussion, she decided that maybe Twitter just wasn’t the platform for her.
I certainly didn’t mean to dissuade her from getting on Twitter, but getting on Twitter because she felt she had to wouldn’t get her the desired results in the long run. Social media is about so much more than doing something because you have to.
So, How Do You Choose The BEST Social Media Site For You?
I’m going to cover some of the ‘big players’ and my opinion on them.
A good fit to reach a wide spectrum of users. Be prepared to engage with your followers and to spend some time on strategy. It is a two-way platform that’s best used to spark discussion and engagement.
Best For: News
Started as a platform for college students and is (ironically) somewhat losing favor with younger people. Good for building community. Widely used platform.
Best For: Brand Loyalty/Community Building
Started as a platform for job seekers to post their resume and find a new job, but now everyone is on LinkedIn. Best use is probably B2B relationships and targeting specific industries. Good for networking with peers.
Best For: B2B/Business Development
Gained favor quickly as a highly visual site where its users can pin items they want to save so they can buy, create, or places that want to go in the future. This is a great platform if your business targets or offers highly visually-oriented products/services. Somewhat skewed to a female audience.
Best For: Visually-Oriented businesses
Another very visual platform that is quite popular with the younger generation. Lots of pictures of places and food can be found on here. Can be very successful when used in conjunction with Twitter and is great for targeting a more urban-oriented market.
Best For: Retail/Art/Entertainment businesses
Great for businesses that target a local market. Somewhat more male-dominated. Has the advantage of “Hangouts” if you are into super-interactive communication. The main reason people post on here and should is it is owned by Google, the largest search engine in the world.
Best For: Local engagement and tech audience
Any of the platforms you utilize will take time and a commitment to get engagement. All social media is meant to be, well, SOCIAL and, in this case, social means “conversational”. Social Media isn’t “I’m going to tweet or post once a day and call that good”. You need to have a social media plan and you need to set aside some time to do it well.
Many SMBs find it helpful to engage a Social Media Manager. Someone who can help evaluate the different social media platforms.
If you choose this route, you’ll want them to be able answer the following questions:
- How much time am I going to need to spend on this platform for the best results?
- What unique properties does this platform offer my business?
- Does this platform engage my target audience?
- Are there good analytics available so I can see clearly what works on this platform?
No matter which platform you choose you need to be clear about the following to be able to choose the best platform:
- Demographics of your target audience – How old are they and what are they interested in?
- What’s your goal? What do you hope to accomplish using social media?
- Which platform does your target audience use most?
- How much time do you have (honestly) to spend on social media?
There are many social media sites to choose from and it can be tough to stay on top of which one is the best investment of your time. I hope my brief overview has at least given you a starting place of things to consider when you decide you need to jump into the realm of social media and that “all of them” is not the answer when someone asks “what social media platforms do you use?” At least not initially.
How did you choose the best social media site for you? I would love to hear your strategy. Comment below.