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August 23, 2018   |   11 min read

Assessing Which Social Platforms Are Right for Your Business - Pt. 1

Looking to choose the best channels for your brand? Evaluate the potential of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

When it comes to social media marketing, there are many different platforms for your business to consider. But, just because you can have a social presence on all of these platforms, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. How do you then choose which social platforms are right for your business? This is a question we get all the time, and the answer is different for everyone. The process we use to determine channel plans for our clients is just one piece of our social media strategy offering, and requires a significant level of planning, detail and social listening. That said, we've created this blog post as a resource to help you get started.

If you’re interested in evaluating Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for your business, you’re in the right spot.



Global Considerations for Engaging on Social Channels

As you're reading about the different social media platforms, keep the following themes and questions in mind.

Pros & Cons

  • What are the potential benefits of this platform? Will this platform help me achieve my business goals and objectives?
  • What are the potential drawbacks of this platform?

Competition

  • Is my competition on this platform? Are they using the platform effectively?

Audience

  • Who’s using this platform?
  • Does this platform make sense for my target audience?

Content

  • What types of content do users engage with on this platform? Does it align with what my business has to offer?
  • Do I have enough relevant social content to provide users with on an ongoing basis?

Success Criteria

  • How are you measuring success for each social channel (increased awareness, engagement, etc.)?
  • Is internal leadership aligned on these success criteria in order for a social program to be properly funded and supported?

Budget

  • What’s my overall marketing budget?
  • In order to be successful on certain social media platforms, which ones require a paid investment?

Resources

  • How much time and resources are required to be successful on this platform? Is this something my business can currently take on?

Answering these general questions will give you a better understanding of where you think you want to focus your social efforts moving forward. With that in mind, here's what you need to consider when assessing which social platforms are right for your business.

Picture1

Why Consider Facebook?

B2B & B2C

  • Whether your business is B2B or B2C, there’s potential for you to have a successful presence on Facebook, if used properly.

Relationship Building

  • Facebook allows you to humanize your brand and connect with your target audience by sharing all types of meaningful content—videos, photo albums, blog posts, customer testimonials, infographics, third-party content, etc. The more relevant content you push out to your audience, the more likely they are to continue engaging with you. Facebook allows you to build and nurture an online community with those interested in your business.

Robust Advertising Capabilities

  • Facebook’s advertising platform is one of the most impressive given its wide-range of targeting capabilities that let you hone in on a very specific audience type. Whether your goal is to drive leads, web traffic, engagement or conversions, there’s an advertising objective for you.

Event Marketing

  • You can create events from your business page to help with promotion and awareness beforehand. Facebook offers an advertising objective for events so you can promote the event to a specific target audience. You can also simply promote the event organically.


Who's Using Facebook?

With over 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is by far the most widely used social platform. In fact, 74% of women and 62% of men in the United States use Facebook. No matter who you’re trying to reach, it’s likely they’re active on this platform. According to Social Media Today, the breakdown of users in the United States by age range is as follows:

Picture2

What Do You Need to Consider?

The Competition

  • While Facebook is one of the best platforms for reaching a large number of people, the competition is serious business. You have to find ways to stand out from your competition and provide users with unique content they’re not already seeing from everyone else. But, how? At Mindstream, we call this storylining. Storylines are our unique, collaborative approach in which we identify 3-5 key themes for your social content based on primary research and business insight. Note: This is just one reason why it’s so important to outline channel roles as part of your social strategy.

Organic Reach is Declining

  • The expression, “you need to pay to play” couldn’t be more true for Facebook. On average, organic reach for brands is just 2%. You must get creative if you want to reach your audience— quality content is crucial!

Paid Dollars Help You Go Further

  • One way to get around the decline of organic reach on Facebook is through paid advertising, if it’s executed properly. The average cost of advertising on Facebook depends on a number of factors, and is different for each specific business; however, it’s generally one of the cheapest platforms in terms of CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) and CPC (cost-per-click).
  • It’s also important to note that you can participate solely in paid advertising on Facebook if your team doesn’t have the time or resources to support organic. That said, paid works best when it works in conjunction with organic. Regardless of your social media needs – paid and organic, or paid only – we can help.

Reputation Management

  • If you’re going to be on Facebook, you need to have a dedicated resource to not only manage your community, but also protect your reputation. There are always going to be upset users on social media—the best thing you can do is be responsive and proactive. If you can’t do that, you may want to rethink this platform.
Evaluating twitter

Why Consider Twitter?

B2B & B2C

  • While Twitter is best for B2C businesses, it can also be used for B2B if you approach it the right way.

Stay Current

  • Given the nature of the platform, Twitter is a perfect place to keep up with trending topics, news and other conversations that may be relevant to your audience. Not only is it a “tuned in”  platform to see what people are talking about, but it also reveals how they're talking about it.

Real-Time Communication

  • The fast-paced momentum of Twitter allows you to have conversations with your audience as they happen in real-time. This opens up opportunities for you to insert yourself into relevant conversations and engage, further helping you position your business as a thought leader.

Customer Service

  • Over the past couple of years, the real-time component of Twitter has become increasingly important in regard to customer service. Twitter has become the default platform for customer service support, and if handled properly, it can be a major benefit for your business. Rather than communicating back and forth over the span of several days, Twitter users expect a rapid response—usually within 24 hours. Quick problem resolution is key.

Text-Only Content Isn't a Bad Thing

  • If your team doesn’t have the resources to produce as much creative, visual content, then Twitter may be a realistic option for you. Given the brief and fast-paced nature of this platform, you can get away with more text-only content here than elsewhere.


Who's Using Twitter?

Of the 330 million monthly active users on Twitter, 69 million of them are located in the United States. In regard to gender breakdown, 24% of U.S. women and 23% of U.S. men are on Twitter. 

Millennials make up the majority of Twitter users (more than any other age group), but usage drops as age increases. The specific breakdown of users in the United States by age is as follows:

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Don’t forget about mobile! 80% of Twitter users access the platform on mobile. Further, 93% of Twitter video views occur on mobile. Make sure everything you share on Twitter is optimized for mobile.



What Do You Need to Consider?

Timeliness Counts

  • In order to be successful on Twitter, you must stay timely—whether that’s pushing out up-to-the-minute content, offering your point of view on relevant content or responding in a speedy manner.

Don't Forget About Hashtags

  • On average, tweets with 1-2 hashtags see 21% more engagements. That said, you have to use the right hashtags. If they’re too specific, no one may be searching for them. If they’re too broad and general, your tweet may get lost in the feed. For example, #socialmediamarketingforbeginners is not only too specific, but far too lengthy. If you do your hashtag research, you’ll notice almost no one is using it. On the other hand, #socialmedia is used constantly and while it won’t negatively impact your tweet, it’s unlikely it will help your tweet get discovered.

Choose Brevity

  • Just because Twitter now lets you use up to 280 characters per tweet, doesn’t mean you should. Tweets that are under 100 characters (regardless of whether it’s organic or promoted) receive more engagements than tweets over 100 characters.
Evaluating LinkedIn

Why Consider LinkedIn?

B2B & B2C

  • LinkedIn is the top social channel for B2B businesses; however, B2C businesses can make great use of the platform as well, especially when it comes to employer branding and recruiting.

Establish Credibility

  • LinkedIn allows you to position your business as a thought leader and show off your expertise among your target audience and fellow industry leaders. The content you share on LinkedIn should speak to who you are and what you stand for as a business.

Build Your Network

  • The goal of LinkedIn is to grow your professional network. Quick Tip: Your employees are one true way to help expand your reach, and in turn, build your network. It’s simple—just ask your employees to add their current job title and company to their personal profile so it will link to your company page.

Lead Generation

  • LinkedIn is the top choice platform for B2B lead generation. In fact, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.

Attract Quality Job Applicants

  • What better place to post open positions at your company than the world’s largest professional network? This will help ensure your job posting are seen by only the most relevant candidates.


Who's Using LinkedIn?

In 2017, LinkedIn surpassed 500 million users. In the United States, 25% of users are men and 25% of women are on LinkedIn. The breakdown of users by age range is as follows:

% of adults who use LinkedIn

Other important demographic stats include:

  • 87 million users are millennials
  • 40 million users are students and college graduates

What do these stats mean for B2B marketers?

  • 61 million users are senior-level influencers
  • 40 million users are in decision-making positions (11 million of these users in decision-making positions are millennials)


What Do You Need to Consider?

Company Pages Are SEO-Friendly

  • Google previews up to 156 characters of your page text. Make sure your company description includes powerful keywords and phrases that describe your business. It’s crucial your company page is properly filled out prior to launching your LinkedIn strategy and/or putting paid dollars behind your content.

Avoid Being too Promotional

  • Yes, LinkedIn is a professional network and it’s a place for you to highlight your business and what you have to offer. However, that doesn’t mean your content strategy should rely on promotional or sales-related posts. When you are posting company-related content to your page, make sure it’s still of value to your followers.

Participate in Groups

  • Groups have always been an important piece of LinkedIn. However, given that LinkedIn announced its new focus on groups in 2018, you may want to consider it a more important part of your strategy. Join groups that are relevant to your business—participate often! Similar to regular LinkedIn posts, you should avoid being too promotional when conversing in groups. The purpose of groups is to generate organic conversation around relevant news or topics among industry leaders and influencers.

The Cost of Advertising is Typically More Expensive

  • While the cost of advertising on LinkedIn is generally more expensive than Facebook or other social platforms, this isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. For instance, you may be paying a higher cost per lead on LinkedIn, but if the lead is of higher quality and ROI, it’s worth the extra money. Similar to Facebook, the cost of advertising on LinkedIn can be attributed to a number of factors and depends on each unique business. The best way to determine which platform is the most cost-effective for your audience? Testing and learning.


Which Social Media Platforms are Right for Your Business?

There you have it. If you were able to answer “yes” to the essential questions while reading up on Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn, it’s safe to assume the platform(s) could be incorporated into your social strategy. As you implement new platforms—or up your game on existing ones—remember to test and learn so you can fully determine what works or what doesn’t work with your audience on social.

Have questions about social media strategy? Or any of the specific platforms covered in this blog post? Get in touch with us for more information, and we’d be happy to help.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our blog series on how to choose the best social media platforms for your brand. Next up, we’re diving into Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest.

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