A guest post by Cara Chace
Whenever I start discussing social media strategy with a group or potential client, the conversation inevitably turns to them asking questions about which social media networks to use for their brand or business.
It usually goes something like this:
Business Owner: “Should I be on Pinterest (insert any platform here)? I really don't get it, don't like it, and don't want to learn it. Do I have to use it?”
Me: “Well, that depends…are your clients and potential customers on Pinterest?”
Business Owner: **BLANK STARE**
It does not matter which social media networks you like and/or use personally. If your clients are on Pinterest, you damn well better be on Pinterest.
How To Know For Sure Which Social Media Networks To Use
Identifying your target audience first, then determining which social media network to use for your brand based on those demographics, is the only way to know you are where you should be in the social media universe.
How do you do that? Easy.
Step 1: Look at your Google Analytics for your website and your Facebook Insights if your are already on Facebook as a business. Note your top-level demographics such as age and gender.
Step 2: Do a quick Google search to identify what the demographic breakdown is for each social media network you are considering.
Step 3: Pick 2-3 social media networks that overlap with your website traffic and/or Facebook analytics.
I typically recommend that brands only use 2-3 social media networks to start. Building a following and consistent, relevant content takes time and lots of effort. If you are trying to use 6-7 different platforms, you'll drop the ball and inevitably let a few of those accounts die a slow, painful death.
Usually what happens is a small business tries to post on every platform, but ends up auto-posting the same content everywhere. Fans are savvy – if they see you’ve auto-posted a photo from Instagram to Facebook, they know you’re not really present on Facebook and they won’t really bother to engage with you there – thus defeating the whole purpose of being on Facebook.
It is of note, however, that as soon as a new social media network pops up, or you even maybe, kinda think you might want to use it in the future – you should create an account to claim your name/business immediately.
If you have no immediate plans to use a social media account, in whichever about/info section it provides, you should let people know which social media networks you ARE on, or point to your website.
For example: “Hey peeps! Thanks for finding your way here, but my social media party is over on instagram.com/carachace – see ya there!”
The other part of this equation is that you need to consider the types of content you are going to share. Is it mostly text or mostly photos? Both? Are you talk to other businesses or to consumers?
You could come to the conclusion that you only need to be on one social media network to start – that's totally cool and you can/should rock the shit out of that network.
Regardless of how many social media networks you decide to use, remember that EACH account should align with your brand voice and brand topics. You must know the types of content you are going to share on each account – some overlap is ok, but all the same content across all accounts is not.Building a following and consistent, relevant content takes time and lots of effort. If you are trying to use 6-7 different platforms, you'll drop the ball and inevitably let a few of those accounts die a slow, painful death.Click To Tweet
Remember, the keys to any social media strategy are to 1) give more than you get, and 2) BE CONSISTENT.
If you know which social media networks make the most sense for your target audience and the content you want to share, then everything else is just fine tuning your strategy!
Cara Chace is a social media Bosslady. Cara’s goal is to empower small businesses with the tools and knowledge to end their frustrations with social media. Formerly in law enforcement, she believes in “just the facts ma'am” when it comes to creating social media strategies for clients.
She has worked with everyone from solopreneurs to a world-renowned band – at one time managing 13 million social media fans on her own.
With her creative awesome sauce and to-the-point strategies, she will bring you a well-rounded, easy to understand plan to help you use social media like a rockstar.
Find Cara on Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Facebook