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Determining the right social networks for marketing

March 20, 2017

Milky Way galaxy

Reaching an audience through social media can be maddening. But even more so by using the wrong channels.

Because social media marketing is a time-intensive chore, we must figure out which networks to use from the start. The worst approach is to use what everyone else is using. That lazy tactic guarantees poor results and frustration.

The best approach is to ask customers and fans what channels they use. We should also ask what their expectations are for each network: Few would mention having to wade through more ads and promotional videos.

Getting this info will take some time, whether using a survey (online or offline), asking them at the checkout or searching each network for brand mentions. These aren’t perfect methods, but they can save time and money in the long run.

Whatever data we gather, we can now put our brands on a few social media channels. It’s important to test and measure organic and paid posts. This lets us know what’s working: timing, topic, type (photo, video, poll, text, retweet), targeting, voice, frequency.

The cycle of testing and measuring becomes more critical over time, as networks evolve and people change their social media habits. What’s hot today may be a ghost town tomorrow.

But it also gives us the opportunity to refine our marketing approach to better reach our potential customers. The whole point is to learn and grow.

We should understand that gigantic social networks might still be the correct ones to use, as long as we go after niche audiences. YouTube can shed some light on this.

It would be silly to go after the billions of viewers on YouTube as an audience for our brand. But we know that the video channel serves countless niches out there, from hardcore gamers to makeup addicts, from tweens to boomers, from travel vloggers to woodworkers, from hobbyists to pros.

Crafting videos to go after a select sliver is a smarter approach than throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks. Loyal fans are more likely to become customers than drive-by viewers.

Niches abound in Facebook and Instagram. It’s up to us to create compelling content for those specialized audiences.

These three steps — surveying; testing and measuring; and targeting niches — ensure that our social media marketing efforts have maximum ROI. They turn the chore of outreach into the higher traffic, engagement and sales.

• • •

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