How to Choose the Best Social Media Channels for Your Business

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by Digital Marketing Institute

Posted on Jan 18, 2022

How to Choose the Best Social Media Channels for Your Business

In today’s digital age, brands that neglect to use the reach and influence of social media marketing are missing out on a key digital channel for customer engagement. In fact, 80 percent of marketers see value in social media and are confident in a Return on Investment (ROI) as it can help gain valuable customer insights and boost other marketing activities according to Hootsuite’s 2022 Social Trends Report.  

Marketers can enjoy enhanced lead generation benefits with social media while a properly executed social media strategy can improve search rankings, drive more website traffic, and increase conversion rates.

But how can you craft an effective social media strategy when you don’t know which channels to choose? With so many options, it can seem overwhelming to figure out whether your business needs to build an online presence using Snapchat or Instagram, LinkedIn or TikTok.

Below, we’ve outlined a simple step-by-step process you can follow to help select your social channels and make the best decision based on the most important factors.

What are your social media strategy objectives?

Being able to link your social media channels to your strategy’s high-level objectives is essential. If you can’t explain why or how a particular channel will help you achieve your goals, then it’s more than likely you shouldn’t adopt it.

Use social media to increase brand awareness

As a first step, you should consider selecting well-established platforms with a large audience as this will help you target a wide range of prospects. It’s also worth keeping popular and niche platforms in mind if you understand your personas and find that advertising on a network such as TikTok for example would help you resonate with a younger and visual demographic..

One of the most effective methods for raising brand awareness and extending reach is through paid promotion (this is an advisable option, whatever your budget). So, take some time to research the social media advertising options available to you. Facebook’s advertising platform, for example, has a great reputation for generating impressive ROI.

Use social media to enhance lead generation

Social media is a key tool for marketers looking to generate high-quality leads. By using targeted campaigns, you can attract relevant prospects that can be nurtured in your funnel to convert. According to eMarketer research, 59 percent of marketers called out social media marketing as the most effective lead generation tool in their arsenal.

eMarketer.com
eMarketer.com

From a B2B perspective, LinkedIn is renowned for being a champion in social media lead generation, whether it’s through joining groups, creating targeted ads, participating in discussions, or searching with advanced filters. Facebook and Twitter ads are also highly effective and often enjoy a lower Cost Per Click (CPC) than an AdWords campaign!

What channels is your target audience using?

After you’ve aligned your goals with your social media channel selection, you need to consider where your audience is interacting online. For instance, having an Instagram account for your brand could be a wasted effort if your largest customer segment is 70-year old women. Similarly, there may not be a persuasive argument for promoting your business on Pinterest if you’re only targeting men.

The tightest and most effective social media strategies are informed by social media demographics. These data-driven insights will ensure that your strategy, and the channels you choose, facilitate the most relevant, targeted approach possible, which will increase your chances of conversion.

Using a social listening tool such as Sprout Social will help you analyze your current followers. This will provide you with gender, age and location data for your current social audiences, which will help you to decide which channels are worth maintaining, and which aren’t.

If you haven’t yet chosen any channels, or you’d like to expand into previously unexplored platforms, the Pew Research Center has conducted an analysis that outlines the key demographics for many social media platforms.

For example, did you know that online, women are more likely to use Instagram than men (44 percent vs. 36)? Or that 50 percent% of LinkedIn users earn a salary over $75,000?

In short, when choosing your social media channels, always back up your decisions with demographic data, rather than being led by current trends.

What channels are your competitors using?

Equally important as analyzing the channels your target audience use is taking into account what social media your competitors are active on. This will provide a baseline against which you can gauge industry activity, and help guide your decisions.

Ask yourself, what type of content do they post? Do they create platform-specific content? How regularly do they post it? How many likes or shares do their posts get? Checking how active your competitors are on social media, as well as how well their followers engage with what they post, will provide you with valuable insights you can replicate to guarantee success for your strategy. Use our Competitor Analysis Tracker to see how well your competitors are doing in terms of reaching their target audience.

Again, you can use social listening tools to ascertain which brands in your industry have the most extensive reach and largest influence on social media. Buzzsumo, for example, will let you analyze your competitors’ top-performing content in terms of social shares, as well as which content formats and lengths best engage users. You’ll also be able to see the social channels from which they get the most shares.

How to Choose the Best Social Media Channels for Your Business

Using an audience listening tool can help you ascertain which brands in your industry have the largest reach and influence on social media.

Brandwatch Analytics lets you monitor your competitor’s social media output across Facebook and Twitter and enables you to track any mentions of them across the internet. There are several listening tools that you can use to carry out such competitor analysis, so whatever you choose, make sure you research those available and are aware of your options.

What kind of content do you want to create?

This is a crucial question as there is a variety of different content types – some that will complement your business goals and brand identity, and some that won’t. In addition, certain content formats will be more suited to particular social channels than others.

If you want to share industry updates, company news and whitepapers

These content formats are traditionally suitable for B2B audiences who can be predominantly found on professional platforms such as LinkedIn. If you have a company Twitter account or an individual one that you use for professional purposes, these are also ideal platforms to engage fellow professionals with industry-specific content. Check out some amazing examples of B2B content marketing if you’re looking for inspiration.

If you want to share video content

If your video content is short-form and targeted at a younger audience, you may want to consider Instagram, TikTok or Snapchat. If it’s longer and more universal in its appeal, Facebook and Twitter can also generate high levels of engagement. Not to mention starting a YouTube channel, the world’s second-largest search engine which sees over 3 billion searches a month.

If you want to share image-based content

If you’re a B2C brand with an engaging product to sell, you might want to consider promoting your content on Pinterest. According to Shopify, 98 percent of users leverage the platform to try new things based on what they see. Instagram is ideal for building an aspirational visual brand story.

If you want to share editorial content

For businesses looking to establish themselves as a trusted industry thought leader, publishing an article on LinkedIn’s publishing platform can expose their brand to nearly 800 million members. Medium is another popular publishing platform that according to Neil Patel has 153 million users, 53 percent of which earn more than $100,00 per year.

How to Choose the Best Social Media Channels for Your Business

If you can identify the content formats to prioritize in your social media strategy, you’ll find it easier to make your final channel choices.

How many channels should you manage?

Did you know that many brands use several social media channels? While it’s highly unlikely that simply using one channel to showcase your brand will do, striking the perfect balance can be tricky. If you are active on too many platforms, you’ll spread yourself too thinly and dilute the impact of your efforts. However, if you rely on just one platform, your brand visibility and reach might suffer.

A social media calendar and a scheduling tool such as Buffer will help you save time and maximize your resources by letting you schedule posts in advance. You can also cross-post the same content across all of your channels, or tailor posts for certain platforms. Buffer also lets you add images, which is important when you consider that content with relevant images gets more views than content without imagery.

This level of automation will enable you to incorporate more channels into your strategy, but it’s always important to start small. Once you’ve found a couple of social channels that work for you, then aim to experiment with a new platform. If you drip feed new channels into your strategy, you’ll avoid wasting time and money.

Achieve social media success for your business

DMI’s Social Media Marketing course will help you understand the fundamentals and intricacies of social media marketing. You’ll learn how to conduct social research, create engaging social content, develop a social media strategy and dive into the key social platforms to engage, nurture and convert customers. Enroll today to get started on your social media journey.  

Updated 2022

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