We’re developing a strategy for a new social media client, and the first question — once we fully understand their business and have a persona developed — is which platforms they should use. We want to be sure to choose the best social media platform for each company: the one most likely to provide the results they want.
If you have a new business with no prior information and no data to work with, there are some useful rules of thumb:
- Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the Big Three, and it never hurts to be there.
- If you’re B2B, LinkedIn is probably essential, and Twitter is the obvious second choice.
- If you sell photogenic products, Pinterest is probably a good fit for you.
- Broadly speaking, you can reach more women at Facebook and Pinterest, and more men at LinkedIn and G+, although you run the many risks of stereotyping.
- G+ is good for SEO, though it may not send you traffic. (It sends us traffic.)
- Facebook generally has a lower conversion rate, unless you have a really playful product.
But these are all just generalizations. They let you develop a hypothesis which you can then test and tweak. If you access to more data, you can do better. Fortunately, our new client has more data, and your company might also have access to more information. When you plan your social media strategy, try these steps:
- Do some social listening. Our new client is a large enough company and well enough established that there is a conversation going on about them in social media outside of their own social media efforts. We used social listening tools to discover that this company is mentioned every couple of minutes on platforms like YouTube and Photobucket — and every couple of months on Twitter. That suggests that platforms focused on visual media, like Pinterest and Instagram, could be better choices.
- Check your analytics. This company has profiles at all the social media platforms we checked, and they’ve been posting hither and yon in fits and starts. Even though each platform had just a few posts, one platform send about 96% of the social referral traffic over the past year. That’s useful information that we couldn’t have guessed just by looking at the social media profiles.
- Note the conversion rates and other behavior. With most of the social platforms sending just a few visits, it would be hard to say that one would be a better investment than another. However, we could see how many visitors from each platform made a purchase, how many pages they looked at on average, and how frequently they visited. That let us separate the casual clicks from the platforms that were reaching real customers.
- Think of your resources. The company we were checking on has lots of great photos and videos, and their target market enjoys gazing and dreaming at their products. This confirmed that the more visual platforms could be more effective. if they’d had lots of great blog posts or slide decks or podcasts, we might have gone another way.
Taking these steps can help you make a better hypothesis about where to direct your resources, and cut back on trial and error.