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Social Media's Where It's @: Picking Right Platforms For Your Brand

Everyone understands social media’s importance, but with so many options, how can a company answer the question "Where should this content live?" 

Will your efforts be most successful on Facebook? Or does the nature of your audience warrant a second look at a newer platform like IGTV?

The key is to correctly align the goals of your content and user behaviors of your target demographic with the right platform.

How to Determine Where Your Audience Hangs Out Online

Social media was initially embraced by digital natives (millennials,) but older generations have now moved toward social platforms, changing the game for social targeting and content creation. And, in case you forgot, Gen Z is now owning the next wave of the web. 

From a brand’s perspective, trying a new social network or feature can be advantageous. But with limited resources, you might want to focus initial efforts on building a social strategy on a tried-and-true option instead. 

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Whatever you decide, it's worth checking out Sprout Social’s guide to social media demographics for details on users by platform. 

Also, check with other teams at your company for audience insight data. You’ll want to be sure audience and platform sync for maximum impact.

Identify the Type of Content that Performs Best on Each Platform

While you don’t have to limit yourself to one social channel to start, it’s good to keep efforts manageable. Also, don’t be tempted to auto-post from one social network to another. 

According to Hootsuite, “Cross-posting is like putting a text through Google Translate. You run the risk of getting a very weird result that looks careless and unintentional.” 

Different social networks have different guidelines, so cross-posting without taking this into account can come across as tacky. 

Each platform comes with a new set of user expectations. Demographics aside, to create the right kind of content for today’s top social networks, consider these general guidelines:

  • Facebook: At this point, organic reach is basically nonexistent. To hack the algorithm in your favor, consider a strategy that incorporates Live videos, which push notifications to followers and encourage engagement.
  • YouTube: Video marketing performs well across many channels. Repurpose the content you’re already creating elsewhere by putting it on YouTube.
  • Instagram: Since it’s a visual channel, don’t bother with Instagram unless you can share strong visual content that echoes your brand identity. Use this platform to show the human side of your brand that followers can relate to. Like Live videos on Facebook, Instagram Stories are a great way to beat low organic reach potential on Instagram.
  • Twitter: This platform is all about timeliness, engaging in conversation, and individual tone of voice. While planned content is nice, day-to-day interactions are what will help you gain a willing audience here.
  • Snapchat: Perhaps one of the least understood social networks by brands, Snapchat provides a direct link to a Gen-Z audience. Like Instagram, don’t bother unless you can consistently deliver engaging visual content. Putting ad spend behind Geofilters provides a measurable way to test Snapchat use for your brand.
  • LinkedIn: The social network where professionals connect. With better organic reach than most platforms, it can be used to establish thought leadership in your niche and share company successes.

Scaling Content Across Online Channels

Once you’ve gotten into the groove of creating content and building a social strategy, you’ll want to start to think of how to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Here are a few ideas to explore for multiplying growth:

  • Repurposing content (the right way): Turn one piece of content into five with this guide from Stepps.
  • Paid ads: Most social networks offer paid advertising options that allow you to target someone by demographics, psychographics, location, and more.
  • Influencer marketing: Like a word-of-mouth campaign that you’ve paid for, people want trusted recommendations from influencers in the space rather than advertising directly from a brand.
  • Omnichannel: Today’s consumers can be reached through multiple media and cycle through them continually. Create content specifically targeted to your followers on each individual platform to help tell a 360 platform-intentional approach.

Final Thoughts: Scaling Business Growth on Social Media

It’s not easy to be effective on social media in 2019. But with a solid strategy, rooted in an understanding of where your audience hangs out online and how to properly engage them on each platform, you’ll pull ahead of your competitors who are taking the one-size-fits-all approach to social marketing.

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