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What’s Your Type? Choosing the Best Social Media Channels to Support Your Digital Marketing Strategy

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Social media is just like dating: not every potential channel is a good match for your organization. Business leaders continue to wonder, however, exactly which social media avenues are worth their time. Determining the right platforms for your business can be tricky, but if you do, love (and leads) will surely follow.

How do I know what social media channels are a good fit for my digital marketing strategy?

Just like in any good relationship, choosing the right social media channels for your business starts with knowing what you’d like to get out of the relationship. What are your long-term goals with social media? What kind of relationship are you trying to build, and with whom? This type of self-reflection takes time, but it’s time worth taking on the front end, rather than investing hours in a channel that isn’t right for you.

Ready to take your digital marketing strategy on a date? Be selective — not every frog will turn into a prince!

On the surface, it may seem like all social media is alike. This is simply not the case, and knowing some of the basic background behind each channel may help you decide who you want to spend your time with.

Just like you can date several types of people, there are several types of social media channels that you can use to build your social strategy. Today, we’ll talk about three of these channels and why they may or may not be a great match for your organization.

Facebook Knows Age Is Just A Number

If there’s one thing you can say about Facebook, it’s that the platform isn’t going to judge who you are — Facebook has a wide variety of users of varying demographics. With five new profiles being created every second and 1.86 billion monthly active users (source), you’re bound to reach your target audience on this channel. It only takes a little bit of wooing and the right strategic approach to get there. Hearing this, it’s probably no great surprise that most companies choose to take Facebook out as their first date.

Why might Facebook be right for your business?

  • The user base is large and diverse, and growing more so every day.
  • The list of features that Facebook has might be the largest of any social network. This includes tools that can connect brands to individual people, such as Messenger and Live Video.
  • Brands that utilize Facebook can also take advantage of their advertising platform, which can target user types with incredible levels of audience specificity and has a low cost of entry — in other words, Facebook can be a pretty cheap date for local businesses.

Reasons you might want to skip the second date?

  • Facebook’s organic (or “natural”) reach has become very low. Recent studies put average organic reach at roughly 6.51%, but you can hardly blame Facebook. On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log on to Facebook! (Source) The best bet for brands is often to sponsor Facebook posts, which, although easy to do, does take away the ideal image of Facebook being “free publicity” for your business.

Snapchat Helps You Keep it Real

Snapchat snuck up on other social media channels with their “real” appearance and honesty about everyday life. Even though the the platform itself has admitted that it “may never achieve or maintain profitability” (source) it’s somehow managing to stick around — and all the ladies and gents love them for it.

For those who don’t use Snapchat, the basic premise is that users share moments, or “Snaps” of everyday life. Although there are filters that users love to use (and abuse), the snaps themselves are typically of the “quick and dirty” variety, providing a “real” look behind the scenes. Snaps also disappear 24 hours after they’re posted, providing a limited viewing life and creating a sense of missing out if you don’t view the story right away.

Why might Snapchat be right for your business?

  • Snapchat is a great way to build a personal relationship with followers and establish trust through sharing “real” moments at your organization.
  • Not every brand is on it, so depending on your industry, you have a chance to blaze a trail.

Reasons you might want to skip the second date?

  • There’s a reason that not every brand is on Snapchat — it’s a pretty needy partnership that requires constant care and nurturing.
  • Part of that neediness involves a large time commitment. You can’t schedule Snaps, so someone at your organization is going to need to be on top of creating and posting content to share on an ongoing basis.
  • At the end of the day, not every brand is going to see positive results from a relationship with Snapchat. The user demographic is fairly young (think teens and 20-somethings) and those individuals are a fickle bunch. If you don’t deliver great content, they won’t watch, and they won’t engage. If this happens — why are you there in the first place?

Instagram Knows How to Look Good

For those who enjoy the beauty in life, Instagram helps users share it. The photo-based platform, purchased by Facebook in 2012, has 600 million monthly active users (source) having seen fast growth of 100 million of that total base in just six months. The platform has also evolved with the times, moving to an algorithmic timeline rather than chronological, adding Instagram Stories (jealous of Snapchat, are we?), and live video options.

Why is Instagram right for your business?

  • Instagram’s photo filters can turn an amateur photography into Ansel Adams level content. Okay, not really — but the filters can certainly take even the most mediocre smartphone photography to the next level.
  • Once you’ve posted your latest candid, hashtags can help show you off. Instagram’s community of users is fond of searching using these tags, which are a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#). The use of hashtags allows brands to get visibility in front of a variety of individuals they may not get otherwise, simply because their post is aggregated into a feed with a common theme.

Reasons you might want to skip the second date?

  • Visibility issues with Instagram are similar to those we talked about for Facebook. Instagram started using the algorithmic format in 2016 for many of the same reasons Facebook did, but it certainly hurt those brands who were benefitting from the frequency of posts equaling frequency of exposure. Luckily, brands can sponsor posts on Instagram as well.
  • The channel is certainly getting more polished, and although filters can take photographs a long way, poor photographs will stand out negatively. Snapchat’s taken the “real” approach, and Instagram’s better performing posts (with better reach) tend to be those that are polished.

What happens if I try out a platform and it doesn’t work out?

Although we’d love to tell you that your next foray into social media will be a match made in heaven, that’s simply not always the case. Our advice? Jump in with two feet, so if you fail, you fail fast, and you can choose to get out. But, this only works if you take the time to develop your strategy up front — before you open the account. After all, just like the best dates, all social media channels go smoother when there’s a strategy and plan in place for implementation.

It’s also important to give a channel time. One week on Facebook won’t give you a thriving Page, but six months will probably give you the time to get a foothold and well on your way to a thriving relationship.

Have you decided which social media platform to take out for dinner and drinks yet? Decide what you want out of your relationship with social media, strategize where you want to go, and watch your efforts pay off.