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So, you want to start a social marketing campaign for your brand, where do you begin? It is important to chose the proper platform to begin with. You don’t have to stick to just a single platform, but it is important to chose wisely with one(s) that are aligned with your goals. 

“Overusing one platform and ignoring others is a waste of your opportunities,” says AudienceBloom Founder & CEO Jayson DeMers. “There may be certain platforms that require more time and effort to provide relevant information, but a marketing campaign should never depend on a single platform.”

As I noted in an earlier piece, if you take a ‘shotgun approach’ to social marketing, you’re pretty much destined to fail. Your campaign will be far too widely-diffused to have any real impact. Instead, the key to success is focus – distilling your efforts down to a few networks.

“Focus your efforts on two or three social sites,” advises Heidi of Blogger Babes. “You simply cannot physically manage to maintain more with quality. Do you think people want to follow you everywhere if you use the exact same content? Probably not, right?”

So, how do you know which social networks will return the greatest gain for your organization? How can you ensure you’re focusing your efforts in the right areas? Let’s talk about that.

Consider Your Audience

Social media is, first and foremost, about the audience. Your business goals are important, sure, but they come second to the people you’re marketing to. You’re here to connect and converse with them – and if you aren’t on the same social networks as they are, that’s effectively impossible.

“The primary question to ask about social media is where your audience is actually spending time,” says KISSmetrics’ Neil Patel. “What social media outlets are they on?”

“Simply because you have followers doesn’t mean that you have an audience,” he continues. “The Next Web, reported that anywhere between 67.65 and 137.76 million Facebook accounts are fake. A social media user needs to be active on social media in order for them to be of any use to you.”

According to Patel, you thus need to consider the following when selecting your social networks:

  • What social networks your audience uses.
  • Where your audience is actually active. Take a look at this demographic breakdown from Search Engine Journal to figure that out. 
  • Where your audience is searching, and what they’re searching for.
  • Whether or not there are any niche sites that might help you better connect with your audience.

Of course, there’s more to it than demographics.

Think About What Makes Each Social Network Unique

Once you’ve figured out where your audience tends to congregate, the next question you need to answer is which of those networks best fits you. See, every single social network has something that makes it unique – something that causes it to stand apart from all its competitors. And you’d best believe that this will influence everything you do on that network, from what types of content you utilize to how you communicate with your customers to how often you post.

Not surprisingly, this also influences audience expectations.

“Each network offers a unique point of connection,” explains social media expert Cami Bird. “Facebook’s statuses, wall posts, and pictures make it ‘the yearbook of social networks,’ while Twitter’s short format, rapid fire, newsy posts make it the place to be in the know about the here and now, and LinkedIn takes professional networking to a whole new level. Understanding the differences between these three networks will help you share content that will reach the right audience and help you achieve the full potential of social media marketing.”

Bird goes on to note several more differences between her three examples:

Facebook: Consistent posts, informal and friendly tone. Post length varies, but shorter is usually better. Can usually post a few times a day and be alright. This would be for an older demographic.

Twitter: Posts limited to 140 characters. Posting frequently throughout the day is the key to success. Very well-suited for brand/company news. This would be aiming usually at people aged 15-35. 

LinkedIn: Posts are professional and display thought leadership. Status updates are thought-provoking, and everything needs to spark further conversation. If you are looking to connect with other businesses this is a great platform.

We would like to add the following as they may be a good fit for your brand.

Snapchat: This is brand new for brands to be using. It is a great fit for connecting with millennials and them to be able to feel a part of your brand. This is great for celeb or influencer takeovers.

Instagram: If you have a brand that is sells something that is visually appealing it may be important to invest some time on this platform. It’s discovery function is a great way to increase your virility and thus following. This is also great for a younger aged demographics.

All I can say here is that once you know your demographics, you need to research the networks they use in order to determine which ones will be best. This infographic gives a breakdown of some popular networks in a bit more detail, while this post gives a more extensive idea of what each social network is actually about.

Look At “The Big Four”

Regardless of your business goals, it’s generally accepted that you can’t go wrong if you join the ‘big four:’ Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google +. Patel advises joining all four of these sites, then choosing a single niche site on the side.

By all means, if you’ve the resources, do it. Just remember that you’re going to need to create unique content for all four, tailored to your audience and how they use the platform. As has already been noted, people aren’t going to follow you on a social network just to see you rehash all the content you already posted elsewhere.

If you’re lacking in resources, that’s another matter altogether. You still need to be on at least two of the “Big Four,” but you’ll need to be a bit selective in which you choose. If you are really confused on where to start, maybe take a look at Twitter and Facebook – you can’t really go wrong with either. Check out what these brands are doing and how they are using different platforms to expand their reach. 

In Closing

Social marketing might not be as easy as some people make it sound, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth pursuing. In today’s business landscape, more customers are spending time on social networks than ever before. If you want to reach them – and give yourself a competitive advantage in the process – it’s vital that you establish yourself on the networks they use most.