How to Choose the right Social Media platform for your Social Media Marketing

Timeless Social Media Marketing strategy: context over content

Honestly, I’ve got a love-hate relationship with Social Media.

On the one hand, I’m awed by its powers of sharing content, building real connections and of course marketing alternatives. On the other hand, the number of possibilities and platforms these days can be overwhelming, even for us marketers (or especially for us marketers?)

Right now, I’m doing research about Social Media platforms and their usage for my client Anaxeos – Dog Health & Wellness Tracker. Our main target group are female Millennials who own dogs and lead an active lifestyle. For now, we’re mainly looking at the European and US market. Naturally, I’m considering a handful of these popular Social Media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tiktok, Linkedin and Tumblr.

“Wait a minute…what about Youtube and Pinterest?”, you might be thinking now. Well…

Are Youtube and Pinterest Social Media platforms?

Some might argue that Youtube and Pinterest are Social Media platforms, but I disagree. Their primary purpose is not necessarily to connect people with each other.

Youtube’s and Pinterest’s primary purpose is to show you the best search results for your search query. In fact, they are search engines.

Sure, as a normal user you don’t care about that. You share videos or pins, follow other content creators and connect with others through comments.

However, as a marketer or as someone running a business, you should definitely care about this difference. Why? Because you need different approaches and strategies for search engines than for Social Media.

But first, let me tell you a little bit about how I use Social Media.

My personal use of Social Media looks like this (spoiler alert, I’m a female Millennial):

“The gram” is by far my favourite SoMe platform. I’m on it several times a day. I use it to stay up to date about my friends’ lives, follow my favourite authors and activists and for posting pictures and short stories about my life, of course. What I like about Instagram is that you always know what you’ll get: a pic or a video. Another plus is that you don’t have to be “friends” with someone in the Facebook-sense. If somebody wants to follow you, they can without you having to follow them back, and that works the other way around too.

As for so many others, Facebook used to be my number one. However, these days I mostly use it for sharing some of my professional articles, animal videos and news – I basically “dump” anything I feel like sharing. I don’t use Facebook as much as I use Instagram – I don’t even have the Facebook app installed on my phone! The cool thing with Facebook is that it’s so easy to reshare content. That’s not possible on Instagram. The not so fun thing with Facebook is that it’s simply messy. You can post all kinds of stuff there: articles, live videos, pictures, games, charity campaigns etc. From a marketing perspective it’s really interesting to try out different types of content. However, from a user perspective, and I’m saying this as a Millennial: it feels a bit desperate.

Screenshot of my Linkedin profile

I used to neglect Linkedin completely. For me it was simply a “CV website” that I kept sporadically up-to-date, but didn’t pay much attention to. However, I completely changed my usage of Linkedin in the past 2 years. Various factors contributed to that change. First of all, Linkedin has tremendously improved as a Social Media platform. You can publish articles, share content and build a network around you in a more fun way. Another reason why I’ve gotten more active is because I became self-employed (you can read more about why I took this step here on Linkedin). Linkedin is not only a free ad space for my offerings, but it’s also very powerful to share knowledge and expertise. Nothing surprising really, because Linkedin is build for companies and professionals who want to find and build the right connections. I use Linkedin for publishing articles, sharing updates about my life as a Contract CMO and of course to connect with like-minded professionals. Connect with me here.

Every channel has its own kind of content,
its own kind of “vibe”.
As users, we adapt naturally to that vibe.
As marketers, we always need to think in context.

What I mean is that just because something works on Facebook, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work on Linkedin. Let’s have a closer look at this.

Every Social Media Channel takes a different story

Now let me be clear here: this does not mean that you have to change your personality or your brand for each Social Media Channel. It’s more like you’re showing a different side of yourself or your company. A side that only comes forth, in a specific context.

I use my three favourite social media channels for completely different things. Instagram is for pics & fun, Facebook for articles & news and Linkedin I use for sharing my expertise and building a professional network.

You have to respect the context of the room
in which you’re storytelling.

Gary Vee

The bottom line is: You need different mindsets for different Social Media platforms.

How to pick the right Social Media platform for your Social Media Marketing?

First off, in an ideal world you or your company would be active on every Social Media channel there is. Sounds impossible? Well, it kind of is, unless you’re Gary Vee. 😛

But an ideal world doesn’t exist. Depending on how important SoMe is to your business and how much of your resources (people, money, time) you want to invest, you’ll have to pick 1 to max. 5 channels. Always keep in mind: quality over quantity! It’s better to be on less Social Media platforms, than to post crap on too many.

It’s better to be on less Social Media platforms,
than to post crap on too many.

Let me share some insights on how I choose Social Media platforms for my clients and for myself, by asking these questions first:

1. Who is your target group or ideal customer?

That’s not only important when it comes to SoMe, but also when it comes to your overall marketing & content strategy. Always ask yourself, who is your target group? Who are the people that need your product/service the most? Who will benefit from what you’re offering? I like to do an ICA (Ideal Customer Avatar) Exercise that really helsp me to dig deep into my or my clients’ customer’s fears, hopes and needs.

When you’ve got your ICA/targret group nailed down, move on to the next question:

2. Where is your target group typically hanging out online?

Regardless of your industry, chances are high that your customers hang out either on Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram or Twitter. And these are no doubt always good places to start off with. But you need to dig deeper. It doesn’t have to be one of the most popular ones. (Especially if you think about how the organic reach of Facebook pages sucks these days!) If you’re targeting software developers, you might want to consider investing time on GitHub instead of Instagram. In the case of my customer Anaxeos, I’m also looking into Dog Owner platforms that non-dog-owners won’t even have heard about.

Once you know where your customers spend their time online, you need to move on to the context!

3. What is your target group doing AND looking for on their respective SoMe platform?

Now we’re finally jumping into the context question. Context over content! You can have the best content in the world, but posted on the wrong channel, at the wrong time, reaching the wrong people that video, GIF, article or pic won’t create any traction. Another important thing to consider is that most Social Media is accessed via mobile (for more stats on SoMe usage, check out this article here).

Let’s have a quick look at all SoMe channels in the context of my client’s target group, female Millennials who own dogs:

Example of context on Social Media for a female Millennial dog parent
What is she doing on Facebook?Connecting with friends & other dog owners, staying up to
date about world events, follow favourite (dog) brands
What is she doing on Instagram?stay up to date about friends, follow accounts with
personal interests (cute dogs), share pics of own life
What is she doing on Twitter?megaphone for making own opinions heard,
follow politics, news, world events
What is she doing on Snapchat?Being silly with friends, entertainment,
posting cute snaps with her dog
What is she doing on Tiktok?entertainment, make funny videos,
follow friends and famous Tiktokers,
What is she doing on Linkedin?building a professional network
reading expert articles / whitepapers
What is she doing on Tumblr?Sharing memes, easy to share content
micro-blogging, follow other dog owners
What is she doing on Youtube*?Want to be entertained/educated
Follow favourite media personalities
What is she doing on Pinterest*?Look for inspiration, making a wishlist,
intent to buy something for herself or her dog

*As I mentioned, think of them more as a search engine, than as Social Media.

This little brainstorming exercise helps you to pick the best possible channels to start with. Don’t forget to also look for other niche platforms that are highly targeted for your customers particular interests!

Buffer has created a really good in-depth article on What to post on each Social Media platform.

The most important thing, however, is to remember the context of the room you’re storytelling in. Then pick your content!

I hope this article helps you to rethink your content and Social Media strategy so you can make better use of your time and resources.

PS: If you manage or work in a tech company and need help with your overall marketing or content strategy, simply drop me a line here.

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