Advice on choosing the right social platform for your company

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The disciplines of marketing, PR and advertising have come a very long way in the last thirty or so years. While at the start of the century, firms were relatively limited in terms of how they could promote themselves, the growing omnipresence of online tech and social media channels means companies now have a vast range of promotional vehicles to choose from – and all at a fraction of the cost of the traditional forms of media.

However, while the social platforms can all bring benefits to companies looking to expand their reach and increase their customer base, each of the major channels offers particular advantages – with some being more suited to different types of companies than others.

Whether you are just starting your journey with corporate social media promotion or already have established social identities on the more common platforms, below is a guide to choosing which service will likely have the greatest impact in terms of your marketing and client engagement.

First, think about what you hope to achieve from social media marketing

The starting point for any marketing campaign should always be to ascertain the goals of the promotion – in other words, what do you hope to achieve? Write down a list of aims so you can use them as checkpoints to help keep you focused and on track. This list will also prove invaluable further down the line when you come to assess the overall effectiveness of your promotion and whether it had the desired effects. It will also help you identify and isolate potential problem areas with your campaign so you can see areas for improvement in your strategy.

Bear in mind your company type and, in particular, how you operate

While all companies are unique and the way they operate is different, as a rough guide you can split most firms into one of two contingents – business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B)companies.

Which category your firm occupies can give you a very clear idea of which social platform will likely work best for you. As a general rule, B2C firms will enjoy the greatest exposure, engagement and client interaction using platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter which are squarely focused on individual users. Meanwhile, B2B companies will probably benefit more from business-oriented services like LinkedIn that are aimed more at professional users.

Of course, that is not to say that B2B firms should not have a Facebook page, or that a B2C company will not make potentially useful affiliations or connections over LinkedIn. However, the time spent on social promotion will possibly prove more fruitful concentrating on the platforms that are more focused to your market.

Remember your audience

Linked to the above, you should also think hard about how your audience looks for information. For instance, if you have a primarily young target market, you will probably find services like TikTok work best for building your customer base. Alternatively, older users tend to stick resolutely with Facebook as their preferred social channel – while the demographic in between has in recent years moved in their droves to Instagram.

Moreover, you may even find your target market prefers to find company information on Google which could mean engaging in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) might prove to be an even more effective use of your time than persisting with social channels. This is a particularly important consideration if you intend investing in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) where spending money on social channels might not bring you the rewards you thought it might.

This study of demographics should extend beyond just age it is also very important to consider other aspects like sex, location and the type of media that will work best for your market.

There is a huge amount of information available online from both the social platforms and also third-party advisors that can shed light on user habits to help you choose the best platforms to concentrate your energies. As an example, the (relatively) small Pinterest service has a huge female to male split. So, if your company specializes in female-oriented products, you will probably have success targeting this platform.

Choose whether to go it alone or invest in professional social marketing services

Most people can run a personal social page without the risk of consequences. However, it is a completely different story when it comes to projecting a firm’s identity on social pages and even the slightest, most seemingly innocuous mistake could see you causing irreparable damage to your company’s reputation or image. Rather than taking chances with your social identity and presence, many companies opt instead to entrust their social promotion to skilled online marketing companies.

Regardless of whether you choose the DIY approach or partner with a marketing company, it is also worth remembering you will frequently need to use common files in your promotions – everything from your logo at different sizes, resolutions or reversed versions to images, audio tracks and video files. To save time hunting around for these digital assets each time they are needed, you should think about establishing a central library or resource management platform as detailed in this in-depth article.

Look at your competitors and study what platforms they use

No firm is without competitors so taking a wide view of the platforms your rivals use and studying the likes, comments and popularity of their posts can give a very useful insight into the social channel that will probably also work best for you.

Build consistency across all platforms

The subject of branding is far too involved to be covered here.However, you should familiarize yourself with the concept so that you can start building a cohesive structure and message across your entire promotional activities. Ideally, clients should look at your social pages and be instantly aware that the content they are viewing has come from your firm. Featuring your logo is a fundamental starting point to build your identity but also think about other aspects – like maintaining familiar colors or straplines across all your social pages. Another very easy way to make your online presence instantly recognizable is to use the same header image across your social pages and website. You should also provide consistent contact information, for instance use the same email address, telephone numbers and address structure.

Lastly, bear in mind that the social ‘name’ you use across channels will be much easier to remember if you can keep it consistent. For example, Facebook does not allow you to include the symbol ‘-‘ inyour @Facebook address so you should also consider the same naming convention for other channels (presuming you use them) and avoid hyphenating names for consistency.

 

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President, @B2BNewsnetwork (launched Nov 2014). Content, community and analytics obsessed. Inventor @squeezecmm. Past chair, @itac_online @whiteribbon