I want to dig into something I’m admittedly not an expert on, I’ve just thought about it a lot. Which social media apps/platforms/spaces are best for your brand?
Maybe you haven’t considered this, and that’s ok. I think the funny thing about social media is that people who are unexperienced with it tend to make pretty wise decisions, because (like any industry) the market decides what is worthwhile. If we’re not terribly familiar with all these new social media platforms out there, we’ll probably gravitate toward the ones where people seem to be active the most.
I’ll give you an example. Facebook is the most used social network for businesses trying to brand themselves. Why? Because it’s the biggest social network in general. It has over a billion active users, so naturally anyone with a business is going to gravitate toward that massive market, even if they know nothing about social media.
Facebook may be a popular choice, but is it right for you and your brand? I think that’s a question you have to consider if you have some influence on how your business is portrayed to people. After all, you don’t have the time to devote yourself to all social networks, so you have to pick a few, right? I’d like to discuss a little of what I’ve been learning lately, and get some responses about what aspects you think are important when considering a posting content to a social media platform.
The following is what I’ve gathered regarding what to look at when you’re choosing which platforms to represent your brand on.
Demographics (the types of people you’re trying to reach)
Naturally, there are certain types of people that gravitate toward certain social media platforms. For instance, we now know that Facebook has “aged up”, or found a new audience of users between 45 and 65 years old. That makes it arguably the oldest platform out there, demographically speaking. You’re not going to find that older group of people on Twitter or Instagram, at least in large numbers.
That means that there are other apps capturing the unwavering attention of a younger generation. What apps, you ask? Well, I have to show you a video from entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, that will give you a little insight about the most used apps among 8-18 year olds.
It seems like the types of people using a given social media platform are gradually shifting, like a glacier slowly covering ground. It doesn’t happen from day to day, but it’s something to consider for the future.
Of course, you don’t have to pick one platform and stick with it, you can always change. In fact, that mentality is a necessary part of branding, as I’ve written about in posts like When to Rebrand Your Brand.
Once you’ve figured out where your demographic, or your “audience”, is, it helps to look at your competitors. What platforms are they using? What types of content are they posting? Who are their followers? I list this second because I think it’s easier to view what your competitors are doing when you already know the audience you are trying to reach. You can say “I should do that too” or “I should go in a different direction” based on the types of people you know you are catering to.
Remember, a lot of businesses, especially small businesses, are using social media poorly. Sometimes it’s hard to tell just how well they are doing, but I’ll give you a couple of tips. First, don’t look at their number of followers. There are many ways a Facebook page can get followers, and not all of them are honest or beneficial for the brand. Take a look at the comments on their recent posts. How many people have commented? Are they engaging with the post? Do they seem to be on the same wavelength as the brand? Only these questions can help you identify who is really succeeding on social media.
Also, just because one company is doing well with a certain approach to social media doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing. Try differentiating your brand by being unique within your market.
Types of Content
The last thing you should consider is the type of content that social media platform is known for. The point I’m driving at here is consider what type of content best tells your story as a brand. Is it photos, videos, long form text, or bite-sized messages? How can you most quickly and easily explain the core of your business? Once you determine that, choosing your preferred social media platforms is easy.
Now, you might think that three or four platforms would be great for your brand, but you need to ask yourself: is it realistic to commit to these platforms? When you create a space for yourself on social media, you need to be consistent with it—both in quantity and quality. It’s important to show people that you’re here to be a relevant source of content for them every day, or at least every week. Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry, it’s better to be consistent on one platform and succeed than it is to try being consistent on multiple platforms and fail. Start with the platform you think makes the most sense, and connect with the people who are waiting for your unique message.