The first decision you need to make if you are venturing into the world of social media marketing for the first time is what platform (or platforms) you want a presence in. Bear in mind that this decision will very much depend on what industry you are in, who your target audience is and also, to some degree, what preferences you have personally regarding social media.
Of all of the things that need to be considered, here is the number one question you need to ask:
On what social media network are the people you want to communicate with?
There are a couple of additional factors worth thinking about:
- Consider the overall numbers. For instance, sites like SocialMediaNews.com.au have estimates of active users on many of the platforms you might choose to set up your profile.
- What kind of information do you want to share? Are you wanting to post photos, videos, promotions, or links to your website? Each platform has it’s own strengths and weaknesses in this regard.
- Are you targeting consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B)? What is the social media network of choice among your target audience?
Therefore, with those considerations in mind, here is the process I’ve gone through. So that you understand my conclusions, you’ll need to know that I am choosing between what I consider to be the mainstream platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), am wanting to focus on increasing ‘Awareness’, and that the industry I generally work with is a B2B service in the hospitality and retail sectors…
Instagram seems to be the most popular platform among small hospitality businesses like cafes and bars – so this was my first choice for posting general interest photos, success stories and infographics. One downside of Instagram is that you can’t share a ‘live’ web link on a post – you are relying on the person that views your post being interested enough to check your profile and visit your website from there.
Twitter is used more as a news service for larger organisations, though many small businesses still do have a presence on it, so I would definitely suggest considering a Twitter account. You can share webpages and infographics, and connect to local chambers of commerce, community organisations in your area and industry magazines. Another benefit of Twitter is that it does have a positive impact on SEO – so regularly sharing links to your website on Twitter can help search rankings.
Also of note is that the phone apps for Instagram and Twitter allow you to have multiple accounts connected, so you can switch easily between personal and business accounts.
Personally, I have found Facebook to be slightly less relevant in the markets I am typically in. It’s a bit more involved to set up initially, and I get less connection response than the other mediums. However, it does have the benefit of allowing direct linking to webpages, and if you already use Facebook personally, you can quite easily set up a connected ‘Page’ for your business, and like and comment as that page… so existing Facebook users should definitely consider this.
You might also want to look at LinkedIn if you are a business professional looking to connect with others in your industry, or trying to increase the ‘awareness’ of your business in the corporate environment.
One final note – most of these platforms allow automated sharing across other platforms (eg. you can post something on Instagram and it can automate a post on Facebook and Twitter). It is well worth taking advantage of these features, with a couple of provisos that we’ll discuss in a future post.
Of course, you might decide to have a presence on all of these platforms (or others), which will be fine as long as you set them up and maintain them properly – but more on that later.