Selecting a Social Media Marketing Strategy Is Easy – Here’s How
I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately from people who are trying build their brands online via social media platforms.
By far, one of the most recurring questions is this: “There are so many social media platforms out there, but which ones are the best for my particular business?”
If I were one of the thousand “guru’s” out there trying to take away your time and money, then I’d probably answer with something like, “There are a billion factors that go into this question, so I won’t be able to answer it adequately.”
Or maybe, “Well, I’d have to dig a little deeper into your business to truly see which social media platforms are the best for you.”
I’m here to tell you that that’s bullshit. 101% bullshit.
Now, don’t get it twisted — I’m not saying getting fantastic at these social media platforms is easy, or creating amazing content and a dedicated following is a walk in the park. It’s not. Shit, it’s really really difficult. But what I am saying is…
Selection is simple. Execution is difficult.
Selectingwhich social media platforms to use in order to spearhead your brand’s social media marketing strategy is simple. Problem is, no one wants to tell you that because they want your cash first.
The first thing you’ve got to ask yourself is which social media platforms do you enjoy the most? Do those. If they’re even a little relevant to your brand, do them.
The fact is you’re going to have to put in a great amount of time/effort into your content on these platforms. So stick with one or two of your favorites.
Of course, make sure they’re popular and trending upward — if you waste your time on a social network with 30 people on it the only thing you’ll get out of it is frustration.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive deeper into a more detailed approach to the selection process…
Here is the basic rundown of 9 social media platforms:
Best For: Small Businesses that are local and stationary as well as online businesses.
- Restaurants, cafes, service companies (carpet cleaners, window washers, plumbing, etc.)
- Service companies — carpet cleaners, window washers, plumbers, etc.
- Lifestyle Businesses (via Facebook Ads)
The reason Facebook is perfect for these types of businesses is the detailed targeting functionality you’re able to run with Facebook advertisements.
You can hand-select who sees your ads by geographic region, age, interests, gender, etc.
So if you own a hotdog stand in southeastern Oregon, you won’t have to worry about getting email queries from John Stumperstein in Tampa, Florida who is hungry and angry and wants your hotdogs. The same cannot be said about other platforms, such as Instagram and Twitter.
In short, if you want to run effective, cheap ad campaigns for any business at all, Facebook is your best bet at this point when it comes to social media. Especially, geo-targeted ad campaigns.
Best For: Online businesses, personality-based businesses, any brand wanting a “humorous” tone, etc.
- Life Coaches
- Lifestyle Entrepreneurs
- Freelance journalists/writers
We all know Twitter is not where it once was. But I disagree with people saying it’s completely lost. When it comes to shareability, virality, and [real-time], it still might be the best out there.
Still.If you conduct a real-time Q and A, wish to Tweet during a live event, or more then you should be using Twitter.
Note: it’s also a terrific time on Twitter to connect with industry leaders. When people with a million followers are averaging 7 likes per Tweet, you’re not likely to be drowned out, in terms of volume, like it used to be.
Best For: visually-intensive businesses, and influencers wanting to connect with audience on a more intimate level.
- Fitness businesses
- Dance Studios
- Video Editors
- Travel bloggers
Easy: Instagram is all photos and videos. If you don’t have high-quality photography, you better be amazing at creating word art. Otherwise, no worries, just stick to other social media platforms.
Best For: blog supplement (if not complete substitute), thought leadership.
- Should Write
- On Medium
- …but I suppose I’m biased on this point
It’s still a very young platform and there’s lots of room for growth as well as time for you to carve out a unique niche (God knows there’s a need for diversification of content!).
Best For: Thought Leadership & Highly “Formal” Brands
- Marketing Companies
- Consulting Firms
- Digital Advertisers
- Business writers
LinkedIn is arguably the leader in “legitimate” thought leadership. As much as I love Medium, at this point in time, when someone wants to know what is going on in their industry, they’re going to LinkedIn Pulse if any social media outlet at all. This isn’t a knock on Medium. It’s just the truth. They both occupy two very different niches.
For better or for worse, LinkedIn is where the most “hungry” leads live. If you’re looking for fewer quality leads over sheer volume, LinkedIn will be a good fit for your brand.
Best For: Visually-Appealing Brands, Lifestyle Bloggers/Entrepreneurs, and Blog Enhancement
- Fitness Coaches
- Travel Bloggers
- Lifestyle Entrepreneurs
Pinterest is a powerful network. Keep in mind that it is an “aspirational” network, where users Pin content to save it for later. What I mean by an aspirational platform is it’s a platform where users consume content based on what they want to do, as opposed to what they are doing.
This includes the wedding they want to have. The vacation they want to go on with their loved ones. The dream meal they want to make.
Of course this is a generalization — but it’s the truth for the majority of the platform’s highest rated content. So emulate it by molding your content around these principles.
Pinterest content is also extremely evergreen. Meaning, it have an unusually long lifecycle when compared to other social media networks. So don’t get caught up with posting twice per day. Instead, focus on creating very high-quality content on Pinterest. Even if that means only posting twice or three times per week.
Pinterest should be used in tandem with your blog or website as opposed to a standalone platform. Embed direct links on your Pins so users can quickly click through to your full blog post.
- Udemy & SlideShare
Best For: Advanced, Late-Staged Personal Branding
- Taking personal brand to the next level
- Thought leadership
Because there a shit ton of work that goes into these platforms. Not so much for Slideshare, but especially for Udemy. So be sure to have a decent-sized following before you spend a ton of time and energy building out this content. Otherwise you might not have the clout necessary to penetrate these platforms.
Best For: Probably not you. Probably not me. Please don’t believe all of the hub-bub about Snapchat going on right now. It is a very very very niche platform that only works for a narrow demographic.
At this point in time, it is a nurture platform as opposed to a growth platform. Meaning, if you already have a huge audience and you would like to nurture those relationships on a more intimate level, then by all means, spend a lot of time on Snapchat. It’ll be worth it.
On the other hand, if the brand or business you are running has a very sizable amount of cash on hand in their marketing budget, then try Snapchat. Companies such as Speakr.com connects Snapchat influencers with brands, but it’s extremely pricey.
I’m not saying to not have a Snapchat. In fact, I think you should. You can build up your audience slowly over time. That way if Snapchat alters their algorithms or adds a new feature beneficial to you, you’ve got a leg up on the competition.
But please don’t spend a shit ton of time on it. It just doesn’t work for most people and brands. It won’t be worth your time.
Here’s the deal. I know it can get overwhelming to keep up with the “digital Joneses”. Social media platforms come and go and that’ll always be the case.
Select 2 or 3, sometimes even 1 and just go all-in on it. Give it your all. Enjoy it, even. And I promise you’ll get leads if your content is good.
Great content will always rise to the top if you are consistent with it and dedicated in the message.
Take your time on studying the platform you are delving into, tailor your content to fit the needs of that platform, and keep doing it. Plain and simple.