In a recent interview on Motherpreneur TV, Maple Ridge’s Christina Waschko asked: “How do you choose the right social media platform for your business?”
My answer to this, as it is with many social media questions is: It depends.
There are two things that are important to consider before choosing a platform for your business. The first one is your capacity to deliver on that platform. I answered Christina’s question by saying that I typically start by asking clients what social media platforms they are already using personally.
If you are already using a platform personally, you’ll have some basic understanding of how the platform works, of the principles and context for online conversations and a degree of comfort. When you’re taking on something new, it is important to feel you stand a chance of success. I recommend you start where you are, and build your social media muscle and confidence before launching into an online strategy to drive your business.
Again, it depends. Choices around platforms will depend on the size and scope of your business, the time resources you have, and your own experience and skill in using the tools. For most small and microbusinesses, time resources are precious.
The second consideration, and the one that is most significant any business, regardless of size, is having a great understanding of the ideal customer or client for your service or product. The more you know and understand your client and their needs, the easier it will be for you to determine the platforms they use and what kind conversations they’re interested in.
There is an old adage in marketing: Fish where the fish are. If we use Christina’s business as an example, she produces weekly YouTube videos targeted towards helping mompreneurs ‘kiss their excuses goodbye’ and take action in life and business. Christina will obviously want to serve an active community on YouTube. That’s a natural given the medium. She also uses Facebook as one of the primary platforms for connecting with her market. This makes sense too, as we know that women users are one of the largest growing demographics on Facebook.
Depending on the primary age group for Christina’s target market and their interests, Pinterest or Instagram might also be great choices. Much will depend on what Christina feels she can manage. See, there’s that word again – depends.
The single most important piece of advice for any business looking to choose a platform is to research the market and decipher the market’s online behaviors. Understand their demographics and go beyond statistics. Figure out what qualities and characteristics they share, what hobbies and activities they like, and where they hang out both online and off-line.
Research the platforms, too. User patterns are constantly changing. Find out who is using Facebook and what for; check out demographics around platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. What’s up with Ello? This kind of research will not only help you make the right choice and maximize your time online, it will also make you better at what you do. The more you understand the online community, the better you will be able to serve them.