Picking Social Media Channels

Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, Vine, YouTube… Oh My!

If there is one thing that I want you to take away from this post, it is this:

In Creating Social Media Channels, More is NOT Merrier

Social media channels exist for a reason: because social media is proven to be a fantastic (and fairly cheap, if not free) advertising and marketing strategy, and each channel has a specific purpose. There are definitely pros to your business having numerous accounts that your audience can follow. However there is an overwhelming con: if the channel is irrelevant and not useful, you will not get the response you want and need out of the social media channel.

Whatever channel(s) you decide to have, it will not be worth it unless you make the time to make the channels truly valuable to your clients.

When deciding the social media channels to have, consider these rules:

Rule #1: You Must PLAN Your Social Media

The beauty of personal social media pages is that they are not planned. You can’t predict the shareable moments of your life. However for a businesses, social media must go hand-in-hand with your marketing strategy. And if you are at a point of your career where a social media page is necessary, you are very aware that great marketing strategies are planned out and do not just happen at a whim. Business social media pages are no different. There must be strategy!

Again, every business is different (stay tuned for another blog post: Planning your Real Estate and Financial Social Media Pages), but how much time should you spend planning?

Rule #2: Businesses Should Spend 2-3 Hours a Week Planning & Creating Content – For EACH Social Media Channel

Talk about overwhelming!

There is a reason why some businesses hire people to do nothing but manage their social media pages. It takes a lot of time & effort to get the most out of your social media pages. You don’t need to hire someone, but if you aren’t putting in the time, you won’t receive the results.

Rule #3: Decide How Much Time You Have

Deciding an amount of time you can realistically spend on social media each week is crucial. If you realistically can only spend 2-5 hours each week maintaining all of your pages, then you can truly only maintain 1 or 2 channels.

Rule #4: What Do your Clients Want to Know?

Your mom or significant other will Follow or Like you to be supportive, but your clients may not. Your current and potential clients will only Follow or Like your page if it is of value to them.

Going back to a previous post: Discovering Your Target Market: What not Who and using the Targeting: What not Who cheat sheet, you’ll learn more about your clients – what is important to them? What kinds of information will they value?

Rule #5: What Channel(s) will Benefit Your Clients?

Do your research! Look at your client’s demographics & psychographics to see what social media channels get their information.

Let’s say you did only have time for 1 or 2 channels, but you did your research and you found that your audience is on 3 or 4 social media channels. Then how do you decide?

Rule #6: Finally Deciding a Social Media Channel

Take all the possible information you want to share with your clients and audience, and decide which social media channel(s) would be most appropriate for sharing that information – and make sure your clients will see it.

Insider Tip: Research

Throughout this entire process, research is key! Here is a (very) short Social Media Insights Cheat Sheet that gives a little information about the users of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

For more information and insights about social media channels and their users, you can find information from the PEW Research Center, or other credible online sources.