January 08, 2015

Think Before You Tweet: How to Choose Your Social Media Platform

When it comes to social media, some companies think it's all or nothing. They make accounts everywhere—on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram—without having a plan in place. Simply because a social media platform exists, it doesn't mean that you have to become a member.

Social media accounts can be your best friend or your worst nightmare—it all depends on how you approach them. These steps will help you to plan before you post:

Pictures or Words?

Before you choose whether to Tweet or Pin, take a good look at your company and its goals. Some platforms are better for the visual, such as Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Vine, and are well utilized by companies whose products, services, and benefits can be conveyed with image- or video-based work. For more networking opportunities, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great for sharing content that is descriptive, such as blog posts, with other people in your field.

Content Comes First

Once you've decided on what type of platform is best, you need to make a content plan before signing up. This may seem backwards, but if you can't brainstorm content for your Pinterest boards before you have one, there's no point in joining. Social media should always be used to enhance the work that you do, so make sure that the platform you choose can be filled with useful content to boost your business.

Who Is Your Audience?

To further help you choose which accounts to create, keep your targeted demographics in mind. Are most of your customers male or female? Statistics show that 2/3 of Google+ members are male, whereas Pinterest is made up of 69% females. If you're trying to get in touch with a younger crowd, YouTube may be your best choice—it reaches more adults age 18 to 34 than some premium TV channels. Keep in mind, the social media with the most monthly active users are Facebook with over 1 billion, Google+ with 540 million, and Twitter with 232 million. Effectively using these top platforms can help you reach a larger targeted audience.

Keeping Up

Once you've signed up and started posting, it's important to continue to keep up with your social media. Designating one person or a team of people with experience to focus specifically on your social media campaign will save you from falling into inactivity. A dead account does more harm than good, so if you find yourself not using Google+ or Twitter, delete it. There are also social relationship platforms, such as Hootsuite, that can be utilized to schedule posts and view analytics on how your media is performing on a larger scale.

Whether you choose to just post on Facebook or sign up for multiple platforms, continue to evaluate your content and brainstorm ideas to keep your social media campaign fresh. Like your company, your social media should be unique and purposeful. Take the time to shape your accounts, and you'll be well on your way to gaining more followers.