Choosing social media channels for your business

Deciding which social media channels are right for your business is an important step.  Here are some tips to guide you from Johanne Jefferson, Digital Marketing Consultant at Ivyhill Digital.
 
One of the most common questions from businesses is "what social media channels should we use?" In a nutshell, you need to be where your customers are.
If you're selling walking sticks for the elderly, then you won’t want to waste your time on Snapchat. Unless of course your target market is young people wanting to buy a walking stick for their grandparents!
Here are five points to consider when choosing the right social media channels for your business.
 
1) Who are your customers?
Use the data you have to build up a picture of who your ideal customers are, where they go online and how they like to be interacted with. You might even want to create a customer persona. This information will guide you into where you should be and what content you need to create.  Here’s an example of a customer persona:
 
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It is an overview of a typical customer, looking at where they spend their time online, their likes and frustrations.   You might know some of this information about your ideal customers already, and you can learn a lot from looking at annual social media reports from Hootsuite and Sprout Social.  You will also find a lot of research into typical behaviours of different generations from an internet search.
Usually, a business will have more than one persona and so you might need to use different social media to attract different audiences depending on the products/services you offer.
 
2) How much time do you have?
It takes time to nurture and grow a social media channel, so you don't want to spread yourself too thin. It is better to do one channel well than three channels badly.
 
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Everyone underestimates how much time it takes to manage a social media channel well- creating a content strategy, creating content, scheduling it, responding to comments, setting up ads, learning about new features.
 
Sometimes you might need to outsource your social media management to make time to focus on growing your business.  Word of caution – when doing this, make sure you choose an agency or freelancer that really gets the brand and that you have a good rapport with.
 
It’s important to make sure that the time you do have to spend on social media is used wisely.  You need to know that an Instagram account works for your, not just that you thought you needed to be on Instagram because it’s popular.  You can do this by monitoring your insights on a monthly basis and comparing the different channels you use with each other.
 
3) What's popular in the countries you sell in?
Social media popularity varies from country to country. Make sure you know what is popular in the countries you sell in before you choose which channel(s) to use.
 
Again, the worldwide annual reports on social media usage across the world by Hootsuite can be a helpful guide for this one.  Side note: it’s important to consider the most popular browsers in each country for when you are looking at SEO and search advertising.
 
4) What kind of content can you create?
If you can't see yourself creating lots of videos, then YouTube isn't the place for you. Good quality images and graphics are important on all channels, but even more so for Instagram. What kind of content will you be able to create? Will you need to upgrade your phone or get an app or two to allow you to create the right kind of content?
 
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This is another time that you might need to call in the pros.  If you don’t have the skills or equipment in-house, paying for some really good videos that showcase your products/services will be worth the investment.  Make sure you ask for different sized outputs so you can maximise use on stories, reels, posts and website.
 
5) Do you sell to consumers or businesses?
Some channels are better suited to business selling than others. Do some internet research on what social media channels are popular with your industry and take a look at what channels your competitors use and how successful they are. A great tool for social media competitor analysis is Fanpage Karma, which has a free 14-day trial. 
If you sell to both consumers and businesses, you’ll need to tailor your posts and create a separate strategy for each channel.
 
Free Consultation
Need some help creating a customer persona or figuring out what social media channels would be best for you?  Get in touch to arrange a free 30-minute consultation and get some actionable steps to improve your online presence.