6 Steps to Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Brand
Last updated 9/30/2020
There are so many social media platforms out there. It can be overwhelming and confusing to pick the right one for your business. You may be perfectly fine (and comfortable) using Facebook, but as a business owner, you should know where and how to promote your brand depending on the user demographics and culture of each social media channel. Through social media, you can connect with your customers and build brand recognition. You can also create awareness, become a thought leader in your industry and so much more. Sounds perfect, right?
There’s just one caveat. In order for social media to have an impact and reach your desired target audience, your brand needs to be on the right social media platforms. It isn’t uncommon for businesses to get started on social media in a hurry and then watch as they fizzle out with just an occasional post. In most cases, that is a result of not taking the time to build a strategy that connects with the right audience on social media.
Building your brand using social media might feel like a major undertaking with all of the platforms out there, but it is easier than ever to use social media to connect with your audience and grow your brand organically.
Each social media platform serves a different purpose and people who log in to these platforms use each of them in different ways. By choosing the right social media platform for your brand and tailoring your key messages for each, you’ll better be able to reach your target audience.
Whether your strategy needs an update or you are a newcomer to social media, here are six steps for choosing the right social media platforms for your brand:
1. Define goals on social media
It’s important to first define your goals on social media, as part of your overall marketing strategy.
You can begin by answering various questions including:
- Do you hope to grow brand awareness?
- Drive event attendees?
- Enhance communication with your customers?
Based on your answers and objective, set specific and measurable goals that you can strive to achieve on social media. When you set goals, there is a greater likelihood that you will accomplish them. They hold you accountable and guide your budget.
2. Know the different social media platforms and their uses
Once you set your goals, get to know the different social media platforms and their uses. Think about how YOU use each social media platform, as a consumer.
Here are examples of the most widely used social media platforms for business:
- Facebook – With more than 2.45 billion monthly active users, as of 2020, Facebook is the largest social media network. The platform tends to be emotion driven and is a place where people want to connect with friends and family, in addition to the brands they enjoy and trust. On Facebook, share photos, updates and general news in a way that is engaging to your audience so that they will “like,” share and comment on your posts. Since many users rely on Facebook to connect with friends and family, it’s important that your posts aren’t too “salesy,” or they will be overlooked.
- Twitter – It’s where people go for news and live event updates. Users check this fast-paced platform to monitor and stay up to date on trending topics and events in real-time. This also is a good place for consumers to quickly communicate with brands and businesses they follow. Use Twitter to connect with your followers in a witty way—in 280 characters or less. Share quotes, stats or news with a link to your website or landing page. Be sure to use hashtags to reach a wider audience. Picking the right hashtags can significantly boost the reach of your posts.
- LinkedIn – It’s specifically designed for businesses and professionals. As a professional networking site, LinkedIn is a place of learning. Users rely on the site to expand their expertise and learn more about an industry. LinkedIn is typically an excellent platform for B2B companies to reach their target audience. It is a valuable tool for driving traffic, establishing thought leadership and recruiting employees.
- Instagram – A platform where users can capture, edit and share photos, videos and messages. Use Instagram to take your followers behind the scenes, expand your reach with hashtags or highlight new partnerships. One third of the most viewed Instagram stories are from businesses. Showcase the solution you provide by creating sharable content that entices users to tag and share with friends. That will help expand your reach on this platform. Be sure to regularly update the clickable link in the bio section and use it to drive event registrations, app downloads and purchases.
- YouTube – As video content becomes more and more important in the digital marketing space, YouTube is becoming an increasingly popular social media platform for vlogs (video blogs) and other types of video content. Your business can share anything from how-to guides or instructional videos to tips/tricks and corporate videos. Use YouTube to create engaging videos that get your brand out there. Remember, when it comes to video, quality matters.
A new Pew Research Center study shows that Facebook and YouTube continue to be the most widely used online platforms among U.S. adults. Roughly three-quarters of Facebook users visit the site on a daily basis. Snapchat and Instagram are especially popular among 18-24-year-olds. By choosing the right social media channel for your business, you can market to a more targeted and interested audience without blowing your budget on paid advertising.
CMA recently followed this strategy and launched a social media campaign on behalf of its client, Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA), in honor of National Celebrate Services Week. In the absence of being able to meet in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CMA created a “virtual” celebration that used social media engagement as a way to extend the weeklong celebration, giving ESPA’s members and professionals within the services industry an opportunity to engage and network while celebrating their profession.
The weeklong event was promoted on ESPA’s social media channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The hashtag #ServicesStrong was used to further drive awareness and conversations.
Social media promotions for the event included member spotlight stories, TikTok-inspired dances for each member’s city and live social media posts during educational webinars and happy hours. The weeklong events generated a total of 18,988 social media impressions, 1,175 engagements and 608 post clicks. By using engaging themes and fun post topics that appealed to ESPA’s target audience, CMA was able to drive significant engagement on ESPA’s social media channels to ultimately bring members together in a genuine way.
3. Identify the platforms your target audience uses
After you get to know the many social media platforms out there, determine where your target audience, your preferred customers, spend their time. Most social media sites provide native audience insight tools to help you identify who uses a specific platform.
Next, take a closer look at your target audience. You can’t create content that will resonate with everyone on social media, but it should spark engagement with your target audience. By identifying the sites your audience uses and grouping them into unique segments, you can provide relevant content that will resonate with them. Segmenting your audience into unique personas is a necessary and important part of effective social media marketing.
Establish the main purpose of the content you’ll be sharing. Consider a mix of curated posts and original, high-quality content, while sharing an occasional promotion.
Once your business is established on a few different sites, encourage your existing customers to connect with you. Get started on a few platforms and see where your brand resonates best!
4. Define your voice and tone for each social media platform
Brand voice and tone go hand-in-hand. Every time you post on social media, you are exercising your brand voice, your brand personality described as an adjective. To define your brand voice, think about the three C’s of brand voice—culture, community and conversation—and put together a list of adjectives that describe your mission or the general “vibe” of your brand.
Tone is a subset of your brand voice based on the audience, situation and social media channel. It is an application of your mission. There are several free templates that you can use to define your tone and voice.
Voice and tone help to humanize your brand, ensuring you form a connection with your followers. Write like you talk and avoid jargon so that your posts resonate with your followers, allowing you to join the conversation naturally. Remember, every post is a part of your brand so be consistent across your social channels.
5. Differentiate and tailor content across platforms
Using social media as part of your business strategy is one of the best ways to boost your brand and market your services and products. Each platform offers different benefits for your business. Be sure to tailor your content across different social media platforms.
In this case, one size doesn’t fit all. Put a different spin on your posts for each platform. Try to tune in to what your target customer will be looking for when they are on each social media platform.
Likewise, create and share different types of content across social media platforms, including blog posts, infographics, news, photos and videos. Also, consider how you can work live videos into your business’ marketing strategy.
By the end of 2020, live streaming is expected to account for 82% of all internet traffic with 82% of people preferring live video from a brand rather than a standard social media post. The number of live video viewers is growing at a faster rate than video viewers overall.
Earlier this year, the American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association (APSNA) needed to quickly share critical COVID-19 developments with its membership during a nationwide state of emergency. As a result, CMA identified the Facebook Live feature, which is essentially a live social media video, as the ideal way to reach their largest audience on a national scope. CMA also promoted the event on APSNA’s social media channels.
APSNA’s one-day virtual event helped deepen engagement with members by providing a forum for them to connect in a genuine way—sharing regional updates about the pandemic and getting answers to questions in real-time. The experience reached 4,000 members, generated 229 social media post clicks, 87 reactions and 20 live comments as the association built deeper engagement with its membership.
6. Measure and adjust strategy
Each month, measure your statistics on each social media platform and analyze which posts performed the best. Spend some time thinking about why these posts stood out to your audience and how you can generate engagement on the same platform, along with other platforms. A key challenge is breaking through the noise and getting eyes on your posts.
If there are posts that didn’t perform well on certain platforms, reexamine the times of the day you’re posting, in conjunction with the type of content. Knowing when to post on the different social channels allows you to post at peak times that will get more engagement and interaction. Be sure to align those insights with your social media calendar so you can plan posts that are strategic.
Whether you’re a business owner of a small business or the executive director of an association, when it comes to choosing the right social media platforms for your brand, don’t be afraid to experiment! Social media is the perfect place to show off your values, passions and personality. In response, your target audience will appreciate seeing the “human” side of your brand, no matter which platform you choose.
Do you want to choose the right social media platforms for your brand? Contact us today, to get the conversation started.