Unless you’re one of the big brands, you don’t have the time or budget to market your business on all the social media channels. So you’ll need to prioritize. However, those big brands also prioritize. They don’t want to waste money or time creating content for the wrong audience, even though their budgets have more bandwidth. So, with so many social media channels, how do you choose which ones to use?
What Are Your Business and Marketing Goals?
If you’ve been following this blog, then you know that the first step before embarking on any marketing campaign is to identify your target audience.
But, there’s an even earlier step to take—what are your goals and objectives.
- What are your business goals?
- What are your marketing goals?
Your marketing goals should help you achieve your business goals, but they’re not the same.
Examples of Business Goals
- Add three new tech employees to my product development staff over the next six months.
- Increase market share by 50 percent.
- Expand facilities to three new locations.
- Add a coaching service to my practice.
- Increase the total revenue by 10% over the next two years.
- Drive more traffic to my company website.
- Improve conversion rate.
- Increase brand awareness.
- Create demand for my product/service.
- Increase engagement on social media posts.
- Expand the content distribution channels I use.
- Establish me as a thought leader in my industry.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
The next step in selecting which social media channels to use is identifying your target audience.
Everyone is not your audience.
Identifying your target audience is more than demographics, although this is key to your social channels strategy. However, you want to go a step further and understand your target customer base.
- Their interests
- Likes and dislikes
- Pain points/worries/concerns
- What type of content resonates with them
- What social channels do they use
How they use those social channels
- watch videos
- play games
- connect with friends/families
- catch up on the news
- get information
- find a job or professional networking
A Brief Overview Of The Most Popular Social Media Channels
According to Sprout Social, there are more than 15 social media channels. This is an overwhelming number, and not all social platforms are viable. New platforms pop up, sometimes responding to negative issues with another platform, and they quickly die down.
Clubhouse appeared to be the hottest social channel in the world a year ago. It broke the download records worldwide and became the darling of celebrities. Twitter and other social platforms tried to compete by adding their own voice element. Today, Clubhouse still exists, but almost no one talks about it.
Let’s take a look at the social media channels you can choose to market your business. Buffer.com published a list of the top 20 social media sites of 2022, indicating the number of Monthly Active Users for each platform.
Facebook – 2.9 billion MAUs
YouTube – 2.2 billion MAUs
WhatsApp – 2 billion MAUs
Instagram – 2 billion MAUs
Facebook Messenger – 1.3 billion MAUs
WeChat – 1.26 billion MAUs
TikTok – 1 billion MAUs
Sina Weibo – 573 million MAUs
QQ – 538.91 million MAUs
Telegram – 550 million MAUs
Snapchat – 538 million MAUs
Kuaishou – 519.8 million MAUs
Qzone – 517 million MAUs
Twitter – 436 million MAUs
Reddit – 430 million MAUs
Quora – 300 million MAUs
Skype – 300 million MAUs
Microsoft Teams – 270 million MAUs
LinkedIn – 250 million MAUs
Some of these social media channels may sound unfamiliar so let’s briefly look at them.
In 2011, Tencent released WeChat, one of China’s leading tech companies. This social channel began as a messaging app but expanded elements to match its audience’s preferences. As a result, WeChat is the most popular social app in China and other regions of Asia.
Launched in 2009, Sina Weibo, better known as Weibo, is a microblogging platform similar to Instagram and Twitter. It was founded by Sina Corporation, a Chinese technology company. The demographic is younger compared to WeChat.
Before the debut of WeChat, QQ was the premier messaging app in China. Launched in 1999 by Tencent, QQ offers instant messaging features, online games, social shopping, blogging, and e-commerce.
Kuaishou is popular with older audiences in parts of China and sees itself as a rival to TikTok. Its functions are similar, with options to publish videos and images and live stream content.
Another Tencent app, Qzone, is similar to Facebook. Users can connect with friends and family, read and react to updates, upload images and videos, music, and articles, stream music, and play games.
So Many Social Media Channels, Which Ones Should I Choose?
Once you’ve established your marketing goals and objectives and identified your target audience, you’re ready to choose which social media channels will help you achieve your goals and objectives.
The number of users should not drive your decision. A smaller platform might be a better fit for your business objectives.
Social channels should fit your brand image and allow for publishing the types of content that your target audience likes.
Another question to ask is how many social media channels you can manage. You don’t need to market on every digital platform to be successful.
Consistency is a crucial factor in digital marketing success. Do you have the time to consistently post and engage on every social platform you choose?
Do you like using the social channel? For example, YouTube is a video channel. Do you have the capacity to make videos? Do you like making videos?
Thought leadership articles on Quora, Medium, LinkedIn, or your website blog can build brand awareness and consumer trust in you and your business. But, do you like to write? Can you afford to hire a writer to enable you to publish on these platforms consistently?
Before creating your social media marketing campaign, consider some additional factors.
Where Is Your Market?
Are you an e-commerce business selling to an international audience? If so, you might want to consider the leading social channels in China, Asia, and other parts of the world.
However, if your resources are limited, it’s worth noting that social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are generally accessible worldwide, although they are banned or limited in some countries, including China. Therefore, if the primary percentage of your target audience is in these countries, you would want to add at least one Asia-specific channel to your marketing mix.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Let’s say, for example, that you have a graphics business and want to market to therapists, counselors, and coaches. Marketing on Twitter would not be very productive. However, focusing your marketing efforts on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and maybe LinkedIn would help you reach your target audience.
If you market to other businesses (b2b), social media channels like LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook will bring you face-to-face with your target audience. LinkedIn is a powerhouse channel generating leads and driving revenue.
And while you might think of WhatsApp as only a messaging app, the platform has become an effective tool for businesses to personalize content for current customers, provide customer support and build brand communities.
Is your audience primarily Millennials or Gen Z? While you’ll find them on Facebook, you might want to concentrate on TikTok, Insta Reels, and YouTube shorts.
Love Is A Two-Way Street
One final thought to help you choose which social media channels to use is that you need to engage with your audience to be effective on social media.
Social media platforms are not broadcast channels. Instead, they are digital highways that enable you to tell your brand’s story, share and listen to your audience, provide experiences, and build relationships.
Today when trust in brands and advertisements is at an all-time low, you’ll want to consider how much time you have to engage every day with your online audience on the social channels you choose. In addition, if you have a small staff or are a solopreneur, you’ll want to be selective about which platforms you choose for your marketing campaigns.
As we’ve discussed in previous articles, word-of-mouth is still the most effective type of marketing, and today those conversations about your brand take place on the internet. As a result, a single misstep, untimely tweet or Facebook post, or failure to respond to a question or complaint can quickly tank your brand reputation.
Looking at the number of social media channels can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a startup or solopreneur. However, even as an established business, you don’t want to market on every social platform in the world.
- Establish your marketing goals.
- Identify your target audience.
- Create customer personas.
- Select the social media channels where your target audience hangs out.
- Choose platforms that you will use.
- Be bold, experiment, measure success, and adjust if necessary.
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