What social media sites should you be using?

Social Media Choices

These days, there are more new social media sites than there are shoes in a celebrity rapper’s closet. But which ones should you be using?

Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Linked in, blogs, influencer outreach, forums, Twitter, Instagram, etc.. Lots of choices when considering a social campaign. However we all know time and resources are not limitless and most of our clients are far more successful focusing on just a few of the right platforms. Here’s a few considerations that can help you choose which platforms are most deserving:

1. What do you offer users?

People join these various sites to see very specific things. They join CafeMom for parenting advice, DeviantART for original artwork, etc. If you aren’t going to offer useful, original information on a topic relevant to the website, then people will just see you as a desperate company trying to gain traction.

2. What is the site’s brand?

What would it say about your company to be on this site? Is it consistent to your current identity? Maybe it’s too raunchy. Maybe it’s not raunchy enough. Unless it fits perfectly in with your brand identity, there’s not much point in being on it.

Oftentimes, companies joining Imgur and Instagram, even though the company doesn’t have a lot to do with photography or images. They end up posting a lot of arbitrary things, all in the name of “brand identity.” This doesn’t get people interested in their product or service, and usually has little payoff. In the same spirit, you probably shouldn’t have a presence on DeviantART, if your product has nothing to do with art.

Here’s a quote from Business Insider: “Each brand will have its own unique personality and goals. Twitter (or Facebook, for that matter) may not be right for them. Brands that have small social media budgets can still achieve a high level of brand awareness by focusing their resources on just one or two platforms.”

3. What is the site’s purpose?

Pinterest can be very useful for displaying information, especially if a lot of it is visual: ie. company culture, events, produced work, etc. I often see Pinterest used as a more visual formatting of a Facebook brand profile. LinkedIn is great if networking and targeting professionals is a large part of your business. These sites take little time to set up, and don’t require a huge amount of upkeep. Of course, these sites can be great for interaction and creating great content, too. It just depends on how you use them. Others, like Twitter, and specifically built for interaction.

4. Can you afford the time?

As I said, many sites are built for interaction. People on Twitter and Reddit, for example, are especially concerned about growing communities. If you don’t have the time to read through and repost other people’s content, then don’t bother joining; you won’t go anywhere.

5. Are you trying to target the site’s users?

Does the demographic of the platform correlate with your company’s demographic? It very well might, and, in that case, could be worth it. There are some great tools for figuring this out, here.

For example, a brand like Red Bull — with a young and computer-dependent following — could absolutely profit from having a presence on Reddit. A cruise line, or a mattress company, or a marketing firm? Not so much. If you are a B2B company, then LinkedIn could change how you do business. But, if you are targeting individual customers, it’s probably not going to make that much of a difference.

6. Are there any essential sites?

Yes, simply because of the raw amount of people on the most major social networking sites. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are all useful tools for spreading your message and developing a base brand identity. Why Pinterest, over other sites? It has such a variety of content on it that it’s easy to repin posts that are relevant to your business, and actually build an interested audience. It also has the following to make it worthwhile.

So, don’t fear! Slow down. There’s probably no need to jump on the latest social media hotspot. Besides, the only people on it are probably your 8-year old cousin, who probably has a larger Twitter following than you ever will. That’s not to say that it’s not important to engage with your target audience where they live online; you just have to find the right sites for you.