Social platforms and channels are an important and highly effective means of increasing traffic to your website and engaging your prospects and customers.
With so many to choose from, however, you may feel overwhelmed and confused about where to direct your attention and efforts. With the many social options available today, few companies can afford the time to cultivate every one.
And, honestly, you shouldn’t even try.
Instead, select those channels and platforms that best suit your brand and business model. That way, you can concentrate your efforts on the opportunities that will provide the most effective return.
But how do you know which social networks are right for you?
Know Your Channels and Platforms
Social channels refer to the different types of available social media and networks.
They include networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, video sites like YouTube and Vine, photo sharing sites such as Instagram and Snapchat, and blogging or microblogging sites such as Tumblr or Twitter.
These are some of the most well-known channels, but you can also take advantage of customer review sites such as Yelp, live streaming on Periscope, bookmarking through Pinterest or knowledge sharing with wikis or SlideShare.
Many social channels have emerged to meet the needs of specific industries as well. Depending on how you do business, one of these smaller or lesser-known options may be more appropriate to reach the right prospects.
How Do Platforms Differ from Channels?
Essentially, channels refer to the type of media used (video, photos, bookmarks, etc.). Platforms are the social sites themselves (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc.)
For example, both Facebook and LinkedIn are social networking sites, but each serves a different audience. LinkedIn focuses on professional interaction and networking, whereas Facebook serves a more casual audience.
Each channel and platform requires a different strategy and objective. And while they can (and should) cross over from time to time, aggregating the same content across all your platforms may hurt you more than it helps.
To develop an effective social platform strategy, start by determining all there is to know about your customers.
Identify Your Customers to Identify Your Platforms
When you know your customers inside and out, you know their habits, lifestyle choices and buying behaviors. Use this information to help identify the best social platforms for your business.
Based on your target customer’s age, gender, income and demographic data, tailor your social channel and platform strategy to their likes and dislikes. For example, companies looking for B2B sales are likely to prefer professional platforms like LinkedIn, while those with plenty of images or lifestyle solutions may perform better on Pinterest.
It may also be helpful to identify what your closest competitors are doing. If the competition is successful, chances are they’re doing something right on social media. Figure out what it is, then find ways to do it better.
Whichever platforms you select, great content is the essential element to customer and prospect engagement and conversion. Even if you choose your platforms wisely, you will waste time and effort unless you have an effective content strategy.
Next Stop: Content Strategy
The essential elements of content strategy are great content, perfect timing and appropriate frequency.
Each platform’s users display behavior patterns that can guide your timing. For example, the optimal time for posting to Instagram and LinkedIn is 5 to 6 p.m. This is when most users are active. For Facebook, 1 to 4 p.m. is the most effective window for posting.
Frequency again depends on the platform, your targets and your content. On LinkedIn, one post per day may be optimal if you’re providing useful and engaging content. Facebook users prefer to hear from you once or twice a day, on average.
The key to any potential success on social platforms is your content. Fresh language, highly targeted keywords and information your audience finds valuable are all critical.
Social platforms are vexing for most business owners, especially for small- and medium-sized organizations and those that don’t have huge marketing resources at their disposal. Unless you have the time and resources available to mount an effective social media strategy, you may find it to be a big waste of effort.
Using the services of a professional online marketing specialist is a great way to ensure your success in social channels. At Be Locally, we specialize in the development of effective social marketing and content strategies. We have our fingers squarely on the pulse of those networks that will benefit you most and engage your customers.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you identify and leverage the most beneficial social platforms for your business.
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