It’s a no-brainer that your brand should be using a social media network as part of your marketing strategy. However, that doesn’t mean you need to have a presence on every network under the sun though (and with 20 + “Popular” options worldwide it wouldn’t even be feasible to try). In fact, spreading yourself too thin across multiple social platforms can actually do more harm than good to your marketing efforts - even with the best intentions.
Instead, you should focus on the select few social media networks that work best with your industry and audience, because believe it or not – not all social media platforms are created equally. There’s no one-size-fits-all network you can just plug into any strategy. It’s incredibly important to know which social media network is best suited for your brand in order to give your marketing efforts the best chance at growing your business.
Most companies (rightfully) break their digital marketing efforts into 3 buckets: content paid advertising, and social media. While each has its pros and cons, the best strategies are derived from all 3 pieces working together in harmony.
We consider social media to be the ‘glue’ that holds the rest of the strategy together. In the beginning, very few users will find your company via your social profiles because they won’t know to look for them, and you won’t be established enough to have people organically sharing your content (yet!).
But your social media strategy will change all that.
Half of your content strategy is all about creating buzz-worthy pieces around your brand and leading people back to your site. The other half is leveraging your social media strategy to disperse your content so people can find it in the first place.
Initially, you won’t have a super-engaged audience to generate organic shares. Instead, you’ll have to put out paid ads to target your ideal demographics on social media. Then, once you build an audience of followers, it will be much easier to enlist them to do some organic sharing of their own.
It’s easy to see how social media is a bridge that can connect your content marketing and paid advertising efforts into an overall cohesive marketing strategy. Plus, in addition to its content and paid ad benefits, there are other reasons to have an engaged social media presence, too.
When you’re first getting your company off the ground and thinking about an online presence, it makes sense to want to be everywhere to spread your message as far as possible. However, the truth is that effective social media marketing doesn’t succeed just because you created a few business accounts and started posting to them. You need an actual strategy that works toward SMART goals, and then the time and consistency to follow through appropriately.
For a new business, it’s much better to take a narrow approach initially and focus on managing one social media network well, rather than juggling too many accounts and being stretched too thin. Once you’re comfortable with the way the first network is performing and you’re able to automate it a bit, then move on to the next (and the next).
When you first launch a social media profile, you’ll need to:
You can see how that’s more involved than simply throwing a few posts up when you feel like it and calling it a day. The fact is, rolling out a social media strategy that effectively markets your business is a lot of work. It’s why companies have entire departments dedicated to it.
Social media marketing only works as well as its strategy, so if the foundation isn’t there, the success you’re looking for isn’t either. The other thing you should be aware of is that social media marketing is a long-term strategy. It’s something that will pay off if you commit - but It won’t happen overnight.
Unless you have the staff and resources to dedicate a team to your social marketing, it’s best to start small with one channel and move to the next when you’re ready.
Here’s the juicy part. Want to know how to identify the best social media network for your new company?
Just go where your customers are.
Yup. It’s that simple.
If you were shopping for a gift for grandma, you probably wouldn’t go Best Buy to get her a complicated tech gadget, right? It wouldn’t make sense for grandma. The same is true when you’re trying to market to your customers.
The first thing you need to do is have a clear understanding of who your target demographic is because that will tell you which social networks they’re on.
If you already have customers, compile any data on them that you have. Things like their age, income, interests, and the stage of life they’re in are all things that can clue you into where they’re probably spending their time.
You should also be monitoring your competition. What channels are other brands in your business using? If their social media marketing strategies are working, they’ll probably work for you, too.
Once you understand who your demographic is and what their motivators are, you can use that information to start making decisions on where to direct your focus. In addition to your customers, it’s equally important to consider your industry. Content performs differently on each channel, so you need to be able to tailor your strategy to each specific one.
And if your industry isn’t cut out for a specific platform? Skip it. It’s a waste of your time and resources to try and fit a square peg into a round hole.
Fashion, auto, and e-commerce companies tend to see better results than any other industry using Facebook for marketing. That’s not to say that you should only use Facebook if you fall into one of those categories, Facebook also works really well for restaurants, the travel industry, and nonprofits, too.
In general, if your industry falls under the fast-moving consumer goods umbrella, it’s probably a good idea to be on Facebook.
Like Facebook, Fashion, auto, restaurant, and e-commerce companies generally do very well on Instagram. In particular – beauty, jewelry, sportswear, travel, and consumer electronics are great contenders for IG marketing. Because it’s so visually driven, Instagram can work well for lots of industries if you’re able to build really compelling visuals that make sense for your brand.
It’s not the best idea for your SaaS, daycare though or any industry that can’t be marketed by imagery alone.
While Twitter isn’t necessarily the best social media network to market your business on right out of the gate, it is good for community building. If you’re going to start with just one social platform, you’re better off using a different one. But once you’ve established a strategy, just about any industry can take advantage of Twitter to network, collaborate with other brands, and establish yourself as a thought leader (which are all things you can and should leverage for marketing).
Pro tip: If it makes sense for your brand to launch with a viral campaign, Twitter is definitely the place to be!
LinkedIn is ideal for B2B brands. If your customers are other businesses, LinkedIn is exactly where you want to be - think brands that offer a SaaS, whole-selling, or any type of business consulting. If you sell to consumers though, you’ll probably have little to no luck on the platform.
The first thing you need to do is understand who your demographic is. Then, use that information (especially the age of your demographic and your product) to determine which social media networks work best for your brand.
Remember to pick one to prioritize and focus on building up just that network. Only branch out once it’s running like a well-oiled machine.
Finally, don’t start posting without a strategy! You don’t want to be one of the brands that fail at social media because you put the cart before the horse.
After that - just take baby steps. You don’t have burst out of the gate with Hollywood-produced explainer videos and collaborations with influencers to succeed. It’s not about getting ALL the eyes on you at once. It’s about finding the ones that are relevant to your brand and slowly building relationships with them. As long as you’re managing your social marketing well, the rest will come with time.
Quincy is part of the marketing team at Ampjar, a brand-to-brand partnership marketing platform. He’s passionate about IPAs, strong coffee, and solo travel.
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