The social media landscape is always changing. If it’s not a new Facebook algorithm, it’s a new Twitter profile design, if it’s not a new way to showcase your photos it’s an innovative new video channel. With all of the changes and new additions to the social media scene, it can be confusing to know what platform to focus on.
In this article, I will look at what network you and your business should spend your valuable time visiting.
When looking at developing your social media strategy you will probably find yourself gravitating to a couple of platforms where you feel the most comfortable. You just get them and you enjoy being there. That is great and there is nothing wrong with developing an audience on those channels. However, it really isn’t about what you prefer. It is about where your ideal audience spends its time.
Imagine that you are standing in the middle of a field. You love this field. It feels like home, you are comfortable there. You have an amazingly awesome product and a service that is mind-blowing. You stand in the field, take a deep breath, and go for it. You broadcast your game changing message and it comes over loud and clear.
But nobody is there to hear you. It doesn’t matter how many times you repeat your message or, indeed, how strong that message is. If your audience isn’t in that particular field they will never hear how amazing your business is or how much they need your product or service.
That field might be your favourite place but, in order to be heard, you need to go to the place that your ideal audience calls home.
So, you need to work out which social media platform your key customer spends time on. The way to do this is to create a detailed profile of this customer. Just who are they? What are their interests and challenges? What inspires them? What entertains them? Do they love Facebook, or prefer Twitter? Do they love a more image-centric platform such as Pinterest or Instagram? Are they happiest watching video content on YouTube?
Wherever your ideal customer spends time is where your organisation needs to be. That way, when the time comes to broadcast your message, you will be heard.
Come Over To My Field
As social media networks develop and change, so will the needs and preferences of your ideal client. You should conduct this social research on a regular basis so as to keep up with your audience.
Once you have developed a relationship with this audience, you can suggest that they check out other networks that you think that they might enjoy. For example, if your core clients spend time on Facebook, you could publish a post telling them about an amazing Pinterest board that they might like to follow. Or you can publish a Facebook update or Tweet with a link to a blog post and also a link to a Pinterest Pin so that they can Pin that blog post to read later.
Context Is Key
Whatever social media site you decide to focus on, the most important thing to remember is context. One network is not like another. They all have their own individual characteristics and you will not attract an audience by adopting a ‘one size fits all’ content strategy.
There is a great temptation (and I know because I have been guilty of this) to create content and share it to all platforms. Say, for example, you create a visual like the one below. Is it okay to post this to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram?
The answer is no. It is the wrong size for Facebook and won’t show up well on a Twitter feed either. It will look good on Pinterest because the image is tall and skinny and that does go down well. However, Instagram may not embrace it because the audience on this platform prefers more native images.
Context is just so important. I think Gary Vaynerchuck says it best here in his latest (and completely awesome) book Jab Jab Jab… Right Hook.
Once you have discovered the platform that attracts your ideal audience, you should get to know its quirks and characteristics. Make a note of the size of image that works best on this platform so that your visuals pack a punch.
It is also important to build a relationship with your audience before you go in with your message. It is called social media for good reason!
Congratulations! You have found your audience and you know their preferred social media platform back to front. You are posting high quality content on a regular and consistent basis and making sure that you inspire, inform and entertain as well as sell. As a result of this good work, you have grown a large and engaged community of followers.
Time to sit back and relax? Not a bit of it!
Imagine that your audience all spend time on a new social media platform called TwitFacePingram (catchy I know). You now have thousands of followers on this platform and are seeing a positive impact of this activity in your business.
Then TwitFacePingram goes out of business. What are you left with? Nothing. You do not own your space on this platform despite your branding efforts. You have no say if the true owners decide to change the rules or close the network down.
Once you have selected your ideal social media platform, and built up a good number of followers you should then look to tempt them over to your own website. Offer them a free eBook, a free video course or a discount in return for their email address. You can then develop an email list of contacts that you can control and provide helpful content for and sell to in the future.
What is your favourite platform? I’d love to know what works for you! Feel free to leave a comment in the section below.
Thanks for reading!
Take care, Jane x