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Choosing the right social media platform

Discussions around the right platforms for your business are endless and one where I spent a lot of time initially with my clients and trainees because once you have selected the platform and invested in community building and putting up the content, there is no looking back. Or atleast, there is no looking back unless you want to lose all the good work and the time that you have put in.

While the majority of population is on Facebook, millennials would rather be on Snapchat. LinkedIn is good for B2B but very expensive for B2C companies. Twitter is a different story – it has a smaller set of highly engaged people, but the population is not growing. Pinterest is good for food and fashion and women oriented brands but not for all. Everyone is on YouTube but is it social? How about Google Plus? The newer video based platforms such as Meerkat and Periscope are good but are still in its early days.

On top of it all, there is a new social media platform we hear about every week and each of these platforms cater to a different niche.

Now, no decision is perfect and as business owners and marketers we have to take our calls. So there are a few questions, which should be answered before choosing the right social media platform for your business.

  • What is your target audience? Profile the audience on the basis of their age bracket, their gender, their likes and dislikes etc.
  • What is your business objective? Define the goals clearly. It could be building brand awareness, driving traffic to the website, seeking an opinion about something, establishing a good rapport with the prospective customers, promoting a product/service etc.
  • Which platform should be used? Evaluate each platform on the basis of user base, purpose and then decide on the platform which meets your business objective.

Now, delving into the various platforms available.

Pinterest – This is a site that is all about discovery. Members can pin photos, images or videos on their pin board. It is a content sharing platform wherein you can promote your products/ services visually. Females are the predominant audience on Pinterest. Choose this platform if your business has lots of visuals and you sell products/ services that cater to the female segment. Use it if you are into fashion, home related stuff, cooking, DIY’s etc.

Instagram – This is a social sharing site for pictures and 15 seconds videos. Here, the conversation takes place through the medium of photos. It is the fastest growing platform especially amongst a young audience. Instagram users overlap with Twitter.

Choose this platform if you have a visual based business, share the photos that can promote your products / services. If you want to show more fun side of your business, then use this medium. It’s a good way to reach teenagers or a young audience. Use it if you want to have pairing of social media. It works great with Facebook or Twitter.

Twitter – This is a micro-blogging site that limits each post to 140 characters. You can share diverse genre of information, news updates, breaking news etc. You can use this medium to Inform about product releases or some schemes.

Use it if your target audience is young and you want to have an ongoing conversation with your audience. Twitter works well if you want an opinion or feedback about something and you want to be in touch with your customers constantly.

Facebook – It is the largest networking site and most popular of all the social media platforms. It is helpful in branding, building long term relationships and aids in building a community presence. It is widespread with a huge audience base.

Use it if you want to drive traffic to your website/app/blog. You can reach a large and varied audience with just a single post. On Facebook, you can talk in detail about your product/service.

LinkedIn – It is business oriented and a professional networking platform which has more genuine audience with real identities.

Choose it if you are a corporate brand, or if you are searching for a job or you want to recruit people. This is the only social media platform for networking professionally. Share some in-depth content via this medium.

Google Plus – It is a social network built by Google to allow brands and users to build circles. It has an advantage of high user base with low competition.

Choose it if you want to drive more traffic to your website, as the platform is linked to Google search. If your product / service has multiple audiences, customise the content that you share on Google Plus.

As I mentioned earlier, there is no right or wrong answer. The idea is what good you make use of the platform and is it the one where your target audience resides.