What Social Media Platforms Should You Use

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn – these are some of the more well-known social media platforms. But did you know about Meetup, Vine, Tagged, MeetMe and more?

Way back in the Stone Ages of the Internet (1997) Six Degrees kicked off the first rudimentary social media site. Since then hundreds of social media sites have launched – some targeted to anyone with a PC and/or mobile device and others focused on a very specific niche.

With all of these choices, how do you know what social media platforms you should use to grow your business?

Just because a Social Media Expert tells you to set up a Facebook page doesn’t mean you need to. According to research done in early 2015, about 2.6% of your posts are seen by people that have Liked your Facebook page. Think about how many hours you spend managing your organic Facebook presence – does the effort make sense anymore? (NOTE: This is based on free, organic reach. If you’re planning on spending money advertising on Facebook, that’s another discussion, but still not necessarily one that ends with a resounding “YES!”.)

So how DO you figure out what social media platforms are right for you?

It all comes down to one thing – know your customers and know them well.

Now if you’ve already completed your Buyer Personas you’re already ahead of the game. Use those Buyer Personas and see where your customers are most likely to hang out online. Don’t be afraid to get creative – if your buyers use Facebook (which can be expensive) but they also use the more targeted site like GapYear.com, test some of your advertising budget in both – and measure your results. Dig a little deeper into your analytics and see who is referring traffic your way – follow those tracks and see if you can discover other hangouts filled with potential customers.

If you don’t know your customers that well, get started – it will not only help you target your social media efforts, but it will help you be more effective and efficient with all of your marketing efforts.

Getting to know your customers can be done in a variety of ways:

1) Talk to your customers. Use Survey Monkey and send out a survey, asking them where they hangout online. Find out more about the things they like to do. If you have an offline store, chat up the customers that are coming into your store – ask them how they heard about you and what made them come and visit you.

2) Look at your metrics. Check out your Google Analytics – where are most of your customers coming from? Are they being referred to you by other sites? What other sites are talking about you (in both good and bad ways)? Visit those sites to gain insight into your own customers.

3) Talk to your salespeople. These folks are on the front lines, talking to your customers every day. Great salespeople are empathetic and usually have great insight into their customers – ask your sales team targeted questions like “What does Frank like to do on weekends?” “Does Sally have pets?” – you’ll be surprised what great salespeople know about your customers.

Then go back and look at the list of social media sites on Wikipedia – visit the ones that may match up with your customers’ preferences and start there. If you’re a small company with a small budget, being smart about how you target your social media presence will go a long way.