Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, Google+, the options are plentiful. And this list will keep getting bigger, so how do you decide which platform (channel) is right for your business?
Let's start by saying this; you should never jump on a social media platform because it’s getting “popular” or because you don’t want to miss out. Also, we will not recommend any one particular platform, because there is no one-size-fits-all social media platform.
From a marketing perspective, the platform is never as important as the story itself. Therefore, always start with “What story are you trying to tell?”, “Where is your core audience?”, and “Which platform aligns with your goals”. Only after you answer these questions should you start thinking about the social media platform (channel) to distribute the message.
Unfortunately, too many businesses start with “How do we take advantage of this new platform?” Or even worse, feel like they have to be on every single social media channel; hence they duplicate content across different platforms. This is a terrible idea, as we will explain shortly.
First Of All, Don't Do This
Blindly creating social media accounts and duplicating content (e.g. always reposting the same content on multiple platforms) does not work, because your customers are using different platforms for different things. For example, let’s assume we are in the business of selling baby carriers to young mothers. It’s true that most young mothers probably have an Instagram account, Facebook account, Pinterest account, YouTube account, Snapchat account, and more. However, just blindly posting about our baby carriers on all these platforms is called spam! Don’t spam your audience.
Do This Instead
The right approach is to really understand how young mothers are using these social media platforms. A young mother may be using Facebook to stay in touch with family, YouTube to learn from other mothers, Instagram to follow her closest friends, Pinterest to keep track of her favorite baby products, and Snapchat to share pictures with her college friends. As you can see, all these different social media platforms serve a different purpose; therefore, we should have a unique strategy for each platform. For example, one platform will focus on “how to” videos (e.g YouTube), because one of the goals may be to educate the audience on how to use our baby carriers. Another objective may be to humanize the brand, and Instagram or Pinterest may be ideal because they are well suited for “lifestyle” photography and images.
Different social media platforms should have different strategies, hence why only focusing on a few different platforms may be a good idea for most businesses, because mastering 2-3 platforms will lead to a loyal following while being mediocre on all will not.
FOMO Is Strong, But Ignore It
Fear of missing out (FOMO) is real, and one of the main reasons why many businesses are on too many social media platforms. Your audience doesn't need to hear from you on every single platform they are using.
Having a finger on the pulse is extremely important, so you should be familiar with all social media platforms. However, not every platform is a right fit for your business.
Countless businesses experienced phenomenal growth because they mastered one social media channel, but we can’t think of any that achieved the same success by being average on multiple platforms.
Which specific social media platform(s) you choose will depend on your business, nevertheless, having a unique strategy and content for each social media platform is essential in building a following on social media.
If you only have resources to be on one social media platform, then only be on one platform. Quality is more important than quantity, so don’t bite off more than you can chew by trying to be on every single platform. Instead, only focus on 1-3 platforms, commit all your resources, and try to master the platform you are on.