Last month, I talked about the importance of getting your target audience right. With all the changes happening with Facebook’s algorithm and the need for businesses to increase their ad spend inside that platform, I wanted to review social media platforms and how you should pick the right one for your business. Often when businesses shift their efforts into the social media world, they consider the most popular ones and forget about what they’re selling. It’s true that social media networks like Facebook and Twitter are great places to start, but when you’re considering getting more granular with your target marketing, and equally with your ad spend, make sure you’re socially where you need to be.

B2C versus B2B

Consider who you’re selling to first before choosing a network to use for social media. If you’re B2C, it’s true the social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.. are the great options when targeting the consumer market, but let’s take things a step further. What are the demographics of these networks? What is the age range of these networks? What sorts of opportunities do these networks have to target your best customer even more? Facebook has groups and the ability to isolate an audience even further, but with the ad spend you now need to reach that audience, is it worth it? For many entrepreneurs, Facebook isn’t cost-effective for them. For others, it’s a far better investment than Google for advertising so it works. It all depends on the business. Before you choose where you want your business to be social, consider things like traffic, organic reach, the influencers, advertising costs and reach and targeting audience.

For B2B businesses, Facebook is almost a given just for the sheer numbers and the brand value but beyond that, you’ll need to get very creative in order to gain leads from businesses directly. And you’ll need quite a budget to do it. Before you carve out a substantial amount of ad spend, make sure it will be worth it if you’re trying to generate leads. Without a strategy or building an ideal audience, your money will show little return. When being social for business to business, consider LinkedIn first. It’s professional and simply, it’s where businesses preferred to hang out when they want to do business. I’m waiting for the day for a competitor of Microsoft to create or purchase their own social network for businesses only. Something else to consider for B2B is again your target market. Where do they congregate? Who are the influencers and what are your competitors doing? Take a look a the CEOs of your target market? Are the social? Is there an opportunity within a social network to connect with the decision-makers within that network?

More and more we’re seeing social networks monetize their platforms so that they can in return improve or increase their shareholders’ value. I’ve said this before. Social media may be free, or at least it started that way, but today, there’s a cost associated with it, albeit time or money.

“We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.” Erik Qualman

Breaking Down the Social Media Networks

Facebook

  • 2.07 billion monthly active users
  • Ability to target your audience
  • Opportunity to sell your products and services
  • Great branding opportunities for options storytelling
  • Create groups to inform people about your business
  • Create ads or post ads to promote your business
  • Good for either B2B or B2C businesses for branding, but better for B2C

Instagram

  • 800 million monthly active users
  • Great branding opportunities for options storytelling
  • Ability to target your audience
  • Opportunity to sell your products and services
  • Create ads or post ads to promote your business
  • Better for B2C then B2C

Twitter

  • 330 million monthly active users
  • Great opportunity to connect with like-minded/unique
  • Targeting can be done but it takes time and or requires advertising
  • List opportunities for targeting
  • Good for either B2B or B2C businesses

Snapchat

  • 178 million daily active users
  • Good for storytelling
  • Opportunity to market to Millennials and Gen Zers.
  • Opportunities for video marketing but costly
  • Brand options limited because of sharing limitations
  • Better for B2C

Pinterest

  • 200 million monthly active users
  • Opportunity to sell/market with buyable pins.
  • Opportunities for interest targeting
  • New business tool for businesses in the US in 2018
  • Significant brand opportunities depending on product/service
  • Branding/selling on boards greater with niche boards
  • SEO opportunities with right keywords
  • Better for B2C and good SEO for B2B

LinkedIn

  • 500 million members
  • Less active users on this network
  • Group connections and marketing opportunities
  • Personal and brand marketing opportunities
  • Personalized connection opportunities
  • Target advertising available but costly
  • Better for B2B

(Note-social media platforms user statistics via Statista, 2017; LinkedIn, 2017:)

Obviously, there are more networks out there such as Google Plus, Tumblr etc… The list continues to evolve as we delve more into that niche marketing era. Before you dive into the social media marketing pool, have a plan and know your target base. Without that, your business will be throwing valuable time and money away.

If you find it challenging to manage your social networks for your business or even unsure of a proper strategy, feel free to contact me for guidance.  For more information about the types of services we offer with market planning, visit our social media solutions page.

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