If you are thinking of throwing your business’ hat into the ring of social media, you have a lot to consider when deciding what sites to invest your time, energy, and potentially money into. Did you know that besides your basic sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there are dozens of others out there as well (think Snapchat, Pinterest, Foursquare, Reddit, etc.)? Trying to keep up with posting relevant content on every network 24/7 is an impossible task for a small business to manage, which means you must narrow down your field and focus on which ones will be the most beneficial for you.
To figure this out though, we need to rephrase your question. Instead of asking “what sites should I be on,” you should be asking “what sites are my customers on.” After all, why waste your time creating the cleverest of tweets day after day when none of your customers use Twitter. The goal isn’t to put information online just to put it out there and hope someone notices; the goal is to create an engaged customer following.
Since all businesses won’t fair equally on all platforms, how do you decide which one(s) are best for you? Here are a few steps to help you find out.
Step 1 Know your Target Audience
Having a clear picture of who your ideal customer is will help guide you down the right path towards deciding. Using the purely demographical knowledge of your target client, you can choose networks based on the general commonalities they are known for. Instagram skews younger, Facebook skews older, LinkedIn is for professional networking, YouTube is for people looking to be informed or entertained, and so on.
Step 2 Survey your customers
This may seem obvious, but have you ever heard the quote, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” So, survey your customers. You don’t have to ask every single one of them, but you do want enough to get a good sample size. You will want to make sure your questions elicit meaningful responses, meaning be specific to get more inciteful answers. Rather than only asking “what networks are you on,” you could follow it up with “what would make you want to follow my business on x,y, or z.” Make sure you record the answers, so you aren’t second-guessing the poll results later.
Step 3 Competitive Research
If you don’t want to be over intrusive of your customers, another way to find your audience is by doing some research. Think of who your top competitors are. Then take the time to search for all of their sites. Find out what sites they are on, where they have the most followers, and most importantly, which has the most engagement? Your audience will likely be in the same place(s) your competitors’ are.
Now that you have a good idea of what sites will be best for you, all that’s left is to start posting! As you do, make sure you track what performs best so you can keep improving and making any necessary adjustments as you go.