How to pick the right social media channel for your company

There is no shortage of reasons why digital marketing has become as prominent as it is. The internet has surged into our daily lives in a way that was rather unthinkable a short few decades ago. In turn, well into the digital age, businesses the world over need to diversify themselves and stay ahead of the ever-rising competition. Among new avenues of advertising, social media in particular has emerged as a powerful tool for marketers. However, every successful social media marketing strategy must invariably begin with selecting the proper social media platform. In this article, then, we will discuss how to pick the right social media channel for your company to thrive.

Why marketing on the right social media can pay off

Before starting to ponder one’s social media marketing strategy, one may wonder if it actually has merit, to begin with. Data suggests it undoubtedly does.

The expanding internet and social media

From a rather niche utility, the internet has grown to become a household asset in recent years. Only 16% of the world’s population was using it in 2005, but the number has impressively grown to 53% today. In numbers, that’s approximately 4.4 billion people – and the number is only expected to grow.

In turn, over 70% of all internet users use social media. That’s approximately 3.5 billion people or roughly 45% of the world’s population. Thus, social media already provide a vast potential audience for marketing campaigns – as long as one knows how to pick the right social media channel to best tap into it.

Social media icons on a smartphone screen.
Social media have become a lucrative marketing option in the digital age.

The merits of social media marketing

Apart from the vast potential audience that social media provide, marketing on social media has notable merits.

Cost-effectiveness

Compared to traditional media, social media are undeniably lucrative advertising avenues. In terms of cost per thousand impressions (CPM), it’s over 10 times cheaper to advertise on social media than on broadcast TV. Likewise, 2.5$ on social media equal 16$ on the press. With this in mind, knowing how to pick the right social media channel can maximize your return on investment (ROI).

Unique interactions with your audience

Furthermore, social media offer unique interaction options that traditional media, by definition, cannot. Surveys, polls, contests, giveaways, even live streams, and AMAs – social media can elevate your marketing efforts to new heights.

An engaged audience

Lastly, it is vital to note that social media do not simply provide a vast potential audience. Rather, most social media users actively seek to engage with brands. In numbers, research tends to quantify this majority between 70 and 85% – this is not a passive customer pool. Should you know how to pick the right social media channel for your company, you’ll tap into an engaged audience.

How to pick the right social media channel

Having discussed the vast potential of social media, one may then wonder how to pick the right social media channel. It may be appealing to simply choose the ones with the largest active user base, but that can’t be the only criterion. Instead, you should consider the following factors:

  • What are each platform’s characteristics?
  • What are the key demographics of each platform?
  • How will your content reach your audience’s feeds?

You should thus consider which social media channel is more appropriate for your brand’s image. Consider which characteristics of each platform best suit your product, and how their demographics overlap with your target audience. While a larger user base definitely helps, it is not the sole deciding factor.

A phone showing social media networks
As you research how to pick the right social media channel, remember to keep each platform’s unique features and demographics in mind.

1.     Define your marketing goals

As the very first step, you should establish your purpose for being on social media. Your marketing goals will vary based on your brand’s needs, and not all social media are equally equipped for them. Consider how each social media platform can meet your goals; for example, a time-sensitive platform like Twitter may better facilitate brand awareness, engagement, and customer retention, but may lag behind platforms like Facebook in terms of conversions and sales.

2.     Pick the right social media channel for your target audience

In addition, you should definitely pinpoint your target audience as accurately as possible beforehand. When researching how to pick the right social media channel, it is vital that your intended audience matches the platform’s key demographics as closely as possible. Consider the following statistics on three major social media platforms, for example, noting how they are similar in terms of user age but differ substantially in terms of user gender.

Facebook

Out of Facebook’s 2.5 billion monthly active users, 54% are female and 46% are male. The majority of its users are between the ages of 18 and 49, and 96% of them access Facebook through mobile devices.

Pinterest

Out of Pinterest’s 335 million monthly active users, 71% are female. The median user age is 40 while most active “pinners” are under 40, and 85% of them use Pinterest’s mobile app.

Twitter

Out of Twitter’s 330 million monthly active users, 34% are female and 66% are male. The majority of users are between the ages of 18 and 49, and 80% of them are on mobile devices.

Carefully consider how well your target audience matches a social media platform’s demographics.

3.     Keep an eye on the competition

As with all marketing strategies, it is wise to keep an eye on your competitors. While their brands are not identical to yours, it’s highly likely that you share very similar audiences. Thus, you can examine which platforms they are using and with what results. If their strategies do not yield the results you’re looking for, you will know which strategies and platforms you may best avoid. Conversely, if their endeavors pay off, you will have an indication of how to proceed. Of course, you should not copy your competitors to the letter – your goal should be to diversify yourself. Still, their course of action should help give you insights on what works for your industry and demographics.

4.     Pick the right social media channel for your content

Lastly, you should note what content best suits your brand. Visually stimulating content is undeniably powerful, but the exact content you produce will vary. Different types of content, from videos to infographics, will require different skillsets and budgets to produce, and different platforms will have a better focus on different types of content themselves. For example, YouTube is much better suited for videos than Twitter, while Instagram and Pinterest lend themselves far better to sharing captivating images than LinkedIn does. You should keep this final, important factor in mind as you make your decision.

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