Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat — the list of social media networks goes on and on. Should you have a presence on all of them, or should you pick just one or two? Do certain networks work better than others? Do you need to post all the time, or should you space out your updates?
While all these questions are important, maybe the most important question is Which social media outlet should I use to build my brand? Read on for tips on choosing the right network for your company and figuring out how to optimize it.
1. Know your audience.
Before you can figure out whether you need to quickly throw up a Pinterest page, you need to know who interacts most with your brand. Try to envision your average customers in your head. Are they male or female? How old are they? What are their values? How are they visiting your website or physical store? And most importantly, which social media networks are they using?
Pinterest’s audience is primarily women, and much of the content is devoted to crafts, DIY projects, recipes, fashion, home décor, and graphic design. It relies on images and carefully placed text to draw readers in. If you know women make up a majority of your audience and your brand has a creative, visual message, putting some effort into Pinterest is probably a great idea.
2. Consider your brand’s goals.
When you created your company, what was your ultimate goal? Many businesses want to grow and gain recognition, and everyone wants to make money, but consider what’s most important to you. If your biggest goal is increasing revenue, you should pick a social media account with an easy-to-use advertising tool, like Facebook, Instagram (also owned by Facebook), or Pinterest, as long as it suits your audience’s needs. If your goal is spreading awareness or quickly posting updates, Twitter and Facebook work well. If your goal is hiring more people or connecting with other top businesses, LinkedIn may be best. Create personal accounts on different social media networks so you can explore how they work and think about whether they’ll help you meet your brand goals.
3. Be picky about the social media you use.
It’s easy to assume you should create an account for every social media platform so you can reach the highest number of potential customers, but you may end up spreading yourself too thin in the process. To begin, choose just one or two social media outlets to build your brand and focus on growing followers there. Add social media icons to your website, or give customers business cards with their purchases that incentivize them to follow you online. Host simple giveaways or send coupon codes to new followers. Once you’ve built an audience on a few platforms, you’ll have a better idea of where — or if — you should expand next.
4. Know your limits.
Do you have a large staff who can take on social media responsibilities, or are you a two-man Etsy shop operating out of a basement? Be realistic about the amount of time you can spend promoting your brand through social media. Due to changing algorithms and the sheer volume of people using social media, it can be impossible to get the visibility you need if you only post a few times a week. Make sure you (or someone you work with) can post at least daily, and encourage your followers to “like” or share your posts so others see them. If your fans don’t interact with your social media page, you won’t be able to grow your audience. [If you don’t have enough time to devote to social media, a freelancer may be just what you need.]
5. Ask your audience directly.
If you don’t know which social media outlets you should be using for your brand, ask the people who interact with you. Create a simple survey about social media habits (which platforms they prefer, how often they use them, and so on) and send it to everyone on your mailing list. Post it on your website, your blog, and any social media channels you use. Ask friends and family which social media outlets they like most and which ones they think would be most effective. You may find that the answers surprise you and give you insight into what your customers really prefer.
Whether you’re new to social media or simply trying to use it more effectively, asking the right questions ensures you keep your customers happy and continue to grow your brand.
Moxie Freelance specializes in writing marketing copy that sells. Drop us a line to see how we can get your social media networks up and running — and selling.
Lindsay Wilcox is a communication specialist at Primary Children’s Hospital. She previously worked for six years in corporate communication and public relations at CHG Healthcare and earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from BYU–Idaho. A mother to energetic boy/girl twins, Lindsay has amassed an eclectic mix of children’s books and wants to someday publish her own. She’s currently recording an album of lullabies, trying to read 36 books, and eating her weight in fish tacos. She lives with her family in Murray, Utah.