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Insight June 14, 2016

Choosing the Right Social Channel

 

BELCHATOW POLAND - MAY 02 2013: Modern white keyboard with colored social network buttons.

Social media has become an integral part of our lives. In fact, the lines between our real and digital lives are becoming blurrier every day.

According to Digital Trends, the average American checks their social media accounts 17 times a day. Assuming you’re getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night, that means you are checking your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other feed at least once an hour. That’s a great deal of information to take in.

Due to the constant flow of info people are sending, these social channels are able to learn a lot about a person: their likes and dislikes, friends and family, what they do for a living, even where they spend their time, both online and in the physical world.

With so much data available, marketing on social media can be a lucrative way to promote your business to a specific audience who, based on their online information, is most likely to be interested in what you have to offer. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn all have incredibly detailed advertising platforms that allow you to scale your social media marketing tactics to broad or specific audiences.

However, just because you can reach an audience on any given channel doesn’t necessarily mean you should utilize it. Choosing the right social channel(s) for your business is as important as the message(s) you send on them.

For example, a financial advisor may not find Snapchat worthwhile. A LinkedIn page, though, is a must, as that is most likely where his or her target audience is active. A dedicated Facebook page (i.e., a business, not personal, page) may also be a good place to start. These channels allow you to show key information, such as contact and other business details or areas of service. They also allow you to post longer, more thorough content, as well as important articles that someone seeking the help a financial advisor may want to know.

If your business is more visual in nature, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook could be great places to start. If you are a boutique clothing or other retail store, your social media channels likely revolve around showcasing your inventory, announcing new products or promoting sales. These types of posts naturally lend themselves to a visual medium, which Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook provide in spades.

It all starts with strategy, though. The way you format content and promote your business on each social outlet should change based on (1) your business objectives and (2) your target audience.

The following outlines a few pros (the list could go on and on) of each channel:


Facebook

  • Excellent targeting features
  • Best for encouraging engagement and dialogue
  • Great for driving traffic to your blog or website
  • Has grown rapidly in the last three years as a solid platform for video


Instagram

  • Advertising on this channel is done through Facebook, with the advantage of its advanced targeting algorithms
  • Useful in telling a visually compelling story
  • Getting people to claim offers
  • Short, entertaining videos are rapidly becoming commonplace


Twitter

  • Easy to share short, quick bits of information
  • A great channel for customer service, driving the conversation offline
  • Hashtags enable you to join in on emerging trends and news


LinkedIn

  • Useful to find and share relevant industry news and updates
  • Great tool for posting high quality information, such as white papers, case studies, etc.
  • Leveraged to share job openings and search for potential employee candidates


Pinterest

  • Boards serve to tell your brand’s story visually
  • Worthwhile to showcase products and services
  • You have the option to add a “Pin it” button to your website, creating more opportunities for engagement


Snapchat

  • As with Instagram, allows your business to explore its creative side (e.g., sneak peaks and behind-the-scenes insights)
  • Still a relatively new channel; however, according to HubSpot, 76% of Snapchat users purchased a product online in the last month.

As you can see, each channel is unique and can be used independently or in conjunction with others to promote your business. Choosing the right channel to promote your business is vital to achieving your goals.

This article originally appeared on The Greater Memphis Chamber SBC Big Ideas blog.