How to Determine Which Social Media Sites are Right for Your Small Business

How to Determine Which Social Media Sites are Right for Your Small Business

Like most marketing strategies, social media marketing begins with a plan. Jumping into social media and simply posting everything everywhere is not a valid approach. Instead, companies need to determine which social media channels are worth their attention by first learning which their target audience prefers using. Obviously, it does a company little good to maintain a Twitter profile, when their core audience is using Facebook or Pinterest.

In other words, it’s all about fishing where the fish are. This much should make sense. However, the question now becomes, where does one cast their line?

How to Discover Which Social Mediums are Right for You

The following are 5 super quick and easy ways that small businesses can identify which social media websites are right for them.

Consider Your Marketing Goals

In my previous post, I explained the importance of setting clear social marketing goals prior to the start of any social media initiative. The reason is simple. Setting clear goals ahead of time will ensure that companies remain focused and on track and that their time and efforts aren’t being wasted.

With that, small businesses should consider their social marketing goals, and select those mediums that yield the greatest opportunity for success. For example, if a company’s goal is to drive more traffic to their website, than using Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest are logical choices. However, using mediums such as Flickr and YouTube, where users aren’t transferred from site-to-site as easily, won’t likely help the company to achieve its goal.

Consider Your Products / Services

While this may seem like a “no-brainer” one would be surprised to learn that little to no consideration is often given to a company’s products prior to the start of a social marketing campaign. For example, a well-written and detailed article about a new car part shared on Twitter isn’t likely to create the interaction and engagement that a pinned photo on Pinterest might. Or, similarly, a glamour shot of a new video game’s case on Flickr won’t come close to driving the amount of awareness and excitement that a YouTube trailer will.

The simple truth is that some products and services are best promoted through specific mediums, such as photo, video, audio, and article, while others are not. Using a little common sense in this regard will help companies to identify the most appropriate social media websites for their marketing efforts.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that businesses couldn’t or shouldn’t repurpose their content to fit other mediums, especially if it is apparent that their core audience is active on more than one social media site. However, as the old saying goes, it’s easier to pick the low hanging fruit first. This is especially true when getting started in social media marketing.

Ask Your Customers

It doesn’t get any easier or cheaper than this. Whether a company has a physical store front or operates 100% online, reaching out to their most loyal customers and asking them which social media site’s they frequent can be a big help. In fact, it’s quite possible that their responses might be somewhat unexpected or surprising.

The idea is simple. If one should find that a large number of their current customers participate on a specific social website, the odds are great that the site is an ideal spot for catching new fish. I’d like to offer one bit of advice though and that is to be sure to ask a significant number of individuals prior to making a decision. In other words, learning the social media preferences for 1 or 2 customers is not nearly going to be as effective as knowing those of forty or fifty. The larger the sample-size the better a decision one can make.

Perform Basic Competitive Research

It’s no secret that one of the best ways for determining where the fish are plentiful is to simply take notice of where other fishermen cast their lines. In most cases, you’ll find that the fisherman before you have performed much of the necessary leg work using fancy, state-of-the-art tools and fish finders, and that all you have to do is swoop in behind them.

Now obviously, we’re not really talking fish here but the same ideas apply. The chances are great that one’s larger competitors, with their big budgets and numerous resources, have already mapped out which social media sites are worth investing in. Therefore, small businesses need only spend a little bit of time reviewing their competitor’s current social media activity to come away with a better understanding of which platforms are worth the effort.

Review Your Website’s Analytics

In most cases, a company will look to their website analytics first to diagnose and address web related issues and questions. This is especially true for when trying to identify which social media sites businesses should invest in.

If a company’s customers happen to be sharing their products and/or content via social media, than it’s likely that this activity is already driving traffic to the website. This is a good thing. Reviewing one’s website analytics – specifically the section that explains how visitors arrive on their website – can help businesses to determine which social media sites are worth looking into.

Additionally, it’s best to keep in mind that social media platforms with a low number of referrals aren’t necessarily bad or unworthy networks to invest in. However, if one’s analytics is reporting that Facebook sends 50% more visitors than Twitter, then it would be wise to begin there, would it not?

In Closing…

Knowing, and not guessing, which social media sites to be active on is important because it will ensure that companies aren’t wasting their time and efforts marketing to the wrong audiences. Using the 5 tips that I’ve outlined above as a guide, small businesses can quickly and easily determine which social channels are worthy of their attention, and which are not.

Karl Ribas

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