I’ve been teaching myself how to use Snapchat and I have to say, it’s a lot of fun. No wonder it’s what all the cool kids are using—more than 60% of 13 to 34 year-olds with a smartphone in the U.S. use the platform, according to the app’s website.
So should I jump on the bandwagon and create a full blown Snapchat strategy for my business? Not necessarily.
The thought of achieving success on every single social network available can be overwhelming for a business owner. But you can relax: you don’t have to be active on all of them. In fact, you should be selective about where you promote your brand and engage with customers.
Here’s how to choose the platforms that will work best for you.
1. Consider your goals
Launching and maintaining a social presence takes a lot of ongoing effort. Understanding what you want to achieve with you social strategy will help you select an appropriate platform and evaluate whether that work is paying off. Do you want to use social media to push traffic to your website? Provide customer service? Drive direct conversions? Answering these questions will go a long way toward helping you home in on the best platforms for your needs.
2. Decide on your level of commitment
Some platforms require multiple posts per day in order to fully engage in the community, while others may allow for less activity. Are you equipped to devote the time and effort it takes to maintain and moderate a fast-paced Twitter account? Or would posting twice weekly on Facebook be more your speed? Figuring out how much time you’re willing to devote to social media will help narrow down which platform is the right fit for your business culture and workflow.
3. Evaluate the platforms
Each social platform has unique attributes that can help you reach your specific goals. Here’s a breakdown of some of the top networks:
Facebook is where people come to connect with friends and family, so it can feel more personal than other networks. It’s the largest platform with the strongest reach, but it’s more about brand promotion, conversation and customer service than direct selling.
Pinterest is ideal for businesses that rely on beautiful images, such as fashion, beauty and food. It’s great for driving sales and promoting specific products.
Instagram is for sharing gorgeous photos, short videos and memes. It’s great for brand building, particularly for fashion, food, beauty, travel and art/design-based products. It can also be a good way to showcase your company culture, engage your employees in your social strategy and encourage your customers to show off your products.
LinkedIn is where professionals connect. It’s ideal for networking with likeminded pros and promoting services, rather than products.
Twitter is a place for breaking news, big reveals and fast-paced conversation. It’s useful for customer-service and ongoing conversation, but users expect quick response and continuous posting. Be prepared to engage several times a day.
YouTube isn’t just a video player—it’s a social network in its own right where people comment, share and discuss. Plan to engage in the community to get the most value from your videos.
4. Go where your customers are
If your customers are trendy young millennials, you might consider using Snapchat. Trying to reach marketing directors with your design services? LinkedIn is the place to be. Want to promote your line of yoga pants to 30- and 40-something women? Grab their attention on Pinterest. Put work into the platforms your customers use most so you can engage with them on their home turf.
5. Focus your efforts
Directing your efforts into a solid strategy for one or two platforms can be more successful than splitting your attention between multiple networks. Choose the platforms that will best help you achieve your goals and reflect your brand values—then commit yourself to becoming an active and responsive part of that community.
Jennifer Goldberg is co-founder of Tavanberg, a Toronto-based content agency focused on helping brands connect with customers through standout storytelling.
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Which platforms is your business on? What’s your social media strategy? Let us know by commenting below.