Three Steps for Choosing Your Brand’s Social Media Platform

June  7,  2017 / By Cynthia Ramsaran

Social media has evolved into a highly beneficial resource for organizations to promote their brands online.  And while it makes perfect sense for brands to have a strong social media presence, selecting the right social platforms for your business is something you should consider carefully. Identifying the most effective social media channels for your business will enable you to focus resources and attention toward engaging and nurturing relationships with your consumers.

Consider the following three-step process for choosing the right social media platforms for your brand:

1. Review your brand’s current social media strategy objectives.

Has your business evolved to the point where your current social media platforms are no longer providing the return on investment (ROI) that they once did? Can you link your current platforms to your brand’s social media objectives? Do your social media platforms help your brand meet or exceed these objectives?

If you can’t demonstrate how a particular social media channel is helping your company achieve its desired objectives online, then it’s time to either tweak what you are doing on your social platforms or consider adopting platforms that help meet current and future brand goals.

2. Become more familiar with how each social network aligns with individual brand needs and objectives:

  • What is its scope (monthly users)? Is having a presence on a massive social platform like Facebook, for example – with nearly 1.8 billion active users – the best way to grow brand awareness on social media, or can Twitter (with 320 million active users) reach your target audience more effectively?
  • What is the demographic of your target audience? Are they primarily male or female? Over 50 years old or under 40? College educated? What social platforms speak best to your target audience?
  • What kind of content does each social platform best enable? Customer GIFs? Custom stories? User-generated content? Infographics? Videos? Photos?
  • What are some key pluses and minuses of each platform? Facebook, for example, is the most popular social network by far and reaches approximately 79 percent of online adults. Alternatively, Instagram is great when using visually appealing content to promote your brand, but it’s difficult to assess direct ROI when used exclusively. That’s why, in addition to brand promotion, Instagram works better when supporting other social media efforts. Twitter is impactful when sharing topical and timely information, but a tweet reaches its peak in a relatively short period (approximately 18 minutes), so you need to have other tweets prepared and ready to go.
  • Does the platform allow paid promotion? Paid is an important consideration if you are planning to supplement your social content with advertising. Especially in platforms like Facebook, for example, where the competition is fierce, and you may need to supplement your brand presence with paid advertising.

 

For specific projects, the same questions apply. Once you decide that social media is a key component of your overall program strategy, how do you choose the social platform(s) that deliver the best results?

To promote Capital One’s financial empowerment program during National Financial Literacy Month, two popular financial influencers – Erin Lowry and Nicole Lapin – were retained to promote their newly-released books on financial literacy and career empowerment while co-promoting Capital One messaging on the topic. Nicole Lapin used Instagram Stories – a highly engaging medium – as it is mostly visual in nature. The posts were included as part of a larger narrative about Nicole’s book and generated thousands of views. Twitter posts also were used with different forms of content (a poll, meme, image, etc.) that also proved highly engaging with her audience.

Erin Lowry posted a variety of content on channels that included Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Diversifying content throughout different social media channels enabled Capital One to reach different audiences (see image below). Greater emphasis was placed on Twitter to align with the platform that Erin had the greatest following. Instagram was critical as a visual medium that garnered the most engagement. Also, paid media supplemented one of the Instagram posts to send it directly to a targeted DC-area audience – a key market for Capital One — and generated a boost in overall engagements.

3. Evaluate your brand’s current social media channels to:

  • Increase brand awareness – If brand awareness is an issue for your organization, consider using a well-established social media platform with a large following rather than a smaller or niche social platform. For example, Twitter is great for continuously getting information out on your brand promptly. And, posting multiple times with new information generates even more brand. Because brands can get lost in the clutter of large platforms – particularly brands that are not as widely known or established – social advertising is one of the most effective ways of raising brand awareness.
  • Reach your target audience – If your social media presence is not visible to your target audience, you’ll spend a significant amount of time and resources without the ROI.
  • Identify the channels your competitors are using – Knowing where your direct competitors are posting and what kinds of content they share can help determine where your brand should be as well. The numbers of likes or shares they receive will provide valuable insights that can help in developing or tweaking your social media strategy and replicating what would work for your brand as well.
  • Determine the kind(s) of content you want to create – Your content needs will Identifying and prioritizing content formats makes it easier to amend and strengthen your presence on your current social media platforms, or switch to those that better accommodate the types of content you post frequently.

Social media can be a cost-effective and time-efficient tool that improves business objectives such as search engine rankings, customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and ultimately, sales. With the variety of social media channels now available, it is important that brand marketers choose social platforms that best align with business objectives to reap the maximum benefits.

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