I‘m the first one to tell you about social media and how much of a great marketing tool it can be. Recently, I featured Purina ONE for using live-streaming app Periscope to boost engagement with the brand, even if followers weren’t in the area. And I chatted with chic furniture brand Z Gallerie to highlight how marketers use Twitter to get people to request and then display the company’s print catalogs on individuals’ social media accounts. From Facebook to Twitter, or Snapchat, Tumblr, and Vine, there’s a cornucopia of options that marketers can consider infusing into their strategies.
Choosing the right social platform for your businesses can do several things: First, it can increase reach, influence, and audience engagement—all of which help grow a business. The idea is that with more brand awareness and more brand advocacy, you’ll be able to translate that into more sales. Large social followings can spark more downloads, more Website visits, and potentially more clicks on those Buy Now buttons.
I think that one of the biggest questions that most marketers have is how to determine which social media platform is right for their companies. So I wanted to provide a few guidelines:
Understand that you don’t have to be on every emerging social media platform.
Even on a personal level, I’ve done this before—signed up for the new, swanky social media site and then realized that I either don’t have time to keep it up, or I’m simply not interested. As a marketer you only have so much time and resources (e.g. money and human capital), so be judicious. Let the platform go through its growing pains before jumping into the deep end.
Know the makeup of each social media site you’re considering using and match it with your needs.
Demographics, engagement, language, and user expectations change with each platform. Instagram is the only platform that’s demographics skew toward blacks and Hispanics. Google Plus skews male, while Pinterest is overwhelming female. LinkedIn draws 38% of Internet users with an income of more than $75k. It’s important to know and understand these characteristics of fans and followers of each platform so you can match your needs with the right audience. Marketing software Wishpond did a great job of breaking down the demographics and attributes of several social media sites. I’d start by reviewing this analysis to get a feel for which platforms might be right—or wrong—for you.
The key to success—at least in my opinion—is courage. I define courage as being afraid and then doing it anyway (OK, I stole that from speaker Joyce Meyer. But it’s as good of a definition as any). That courageous attitude is the one that marketers need to take on for the growth of their brands. You don’t have to be a rock star on Periscope or Meerkat. It may take you a little while to figure out what your audience wants and what you’re able to provide; it may take some time for people to discover your content on YouTube; but it’s worth the try. Many brands have discovered that a platform’s users are organic to your message and target audience. If your plan doesn’t meet your expectations, you can always change it or just move forward without that platform. Nothing gained, nothing lost—except you’ll have a little more experience under your belt.