How to decide which social media platforms to focus on for your business

How to decide which social media platforms to focus on askmvg

When my clients first begin working with me, one of the first questions they ask is which social media platforms they should be spending time and resources on.

Or, they're eager to jump on board with a new social media platform, but haven't fully mapped out how it fits into their overall digital ecosystem and strategy.

I have a simple framework I've used with all of my clients that will help you get true clarity about your social media platforms. We'll get crystal clear on which ones you should focus on, which ones you can ignore for now, and how you should approach each in different ways based on your overall digital marketing and social media goals.

Let’s dive in.

Step 1

Get a piece of paper or start a spreadsheet. At the top, list each of the social media platforms your brand is currently using.

If you’re just getting started, list each of the platforms you’re considering or think you need to be on.

Step 2

Underneath that, write down how you think your audience will (or would) differ for each platform. Take into account the demographics of each platform, and then anything else you know about your existing audiences.

For example, you might know that you have a certain audience following you on Twitter, but not so much on Facebook or Instagram.

Tip: If you already have a following, there are many tools you can use to analyze your audiences . For Twitter, check out Followerwonk and Discovery by Affinio. For Facebook Pages, you can get general demographic data under the Insights tab of your Page, then click on People.

Every brand is different. Get specific here, and dive in and do the research if you're not sure, as this will impact your message and creative.

 
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Step 3

If you've already done the work to identify and articulate specific goals for your social media, the next step will be much easier. For each social media platform in your spreadsheet or piece of paper, ask yourself:

  1. What are the unique benefits of using this as a communication and marketing channel?
     
  2. In the context of our overall goals, what is the purpose of using this platform?

Write down whatever comes to mind.

Bonus points, though, if you can distill this into a 1-2 sentence vision statement for each platform! It'll help you socialize your strategy with leaders and colleagues later.

Before, we move on, let's take a quick step back. 

Now that you've gone through steps 1-3, take a close look at the platforms on your list.

  • Do all of them still make sense for your overall goals?
  • Are the audiences you most need to reach actually spending time there?
  • Do you truly have the resources in place to regularly create fresh, new content for each channel, and monitor and manage each one? Or would it make more sense - for now! -  to abandon one or two and redouble our efforts on the social media platforms we know will drive results?

STEP 4

Now we're going to bring this to life. Brainstorm some ideas for how you might approach each social media channel differently from a strategic and tactical perspective. Things like:

  • Content and themes - what you'll post about on each platform
  • Frequency - how often you'll post
  • Audience targeting - who you'd ideally like to reach
  • Organic vs. paid - do you anticipate using ads on this platform?

STEP 5

Now consider the different messages your business needs to communicate in order to accomplish your social media goals. 

You don't need to actually write them all out in the brainstorming phase - categories will do just fine. How would those messages differ for each social media channel, when filtered through the lens of the audience, unique benefits, purpose, and approach you'd take to each?

Consider your brand 'voice' and personality. While there are definitely aspects of your brand that should remain consistent across all channels and messages, it is possible (and recommended!) that you pay attention to nuances and shift the dial up or down a bit for various situations and contexts.

For example, the way Taco Bell speaks to its audience on Twitter is a bit different from the copy they use on their website. The essence of the brand is still the same, but their tone is even more casual on Twitter.

STEP 6

Now we get to add some color to our social media channel strategy! Based on what we know about each channel, and the filter we've created with our strategy so far, let's consider how we might adapt our visual creative approach and style for each social media platform.

As with message and tone, there are some aspects of your brand that won't change - but at the very least, you might bring out more of a certain color on one platform, or use one of your brand fonts more than the other, for instance.

Different social media platforms could require different parts of your brand personality to surface a little more than others, and this will likely be reflected not just with your message and tone, but also with your look and feel.

  • How might you shift the visual look and feel to match the different tone you're taking on different platforms?
  • Would you use different types of content - focusing more on video for one than the other, for instance?
  • How much of your content will your repurpose across all channels?

And you're done!

I hope you found this exercise helpful for getting clarity on the social media platforms that make the most sense for your business.

Still need more help? You've got 2 good options:

1. Download my free social media strategy framework. I designed this framework and use it with all of my strategy clients. Now, you can get your own free copy to map out a strategy that will deliver true value and ROI from your social media marketing. Download your free copy here.

2. Hire me to help you 1-on-1. To learn a little more about how I can help your business and how I work with my clients, click here. Or you can get in touch with me to schedule an initial consult here.