During the Birds of a Feather discussion on social media marketing at this year’s Social Brand Forum, I was asked … If you could recommend one social media platform a company could use, which one would it be? And, secondarily, does social media actually work for B2B? Should they just concentrate on LinkedIn?
These are things I’ve been asked for years, and the unfortunate truth for those seeking an easy answer is that there isn’t one. But, there are a few things to consider when taking a look at how social media fits into your overall objective, and which platforms are the ones on which to focus. The latest and hottest platform isn’t always where you need to be.
Go Where Your Audience Is
Just because Snapchat has grown to 150 million users (get Jed Record’s Social Brand Forum slides), that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to find your audience there. Want to reach millennials? It’s probably worth a shot. If you’re a B2B insurance wholesaler targeting Gen X and Boomers, you might want to look elsewhere. And no, LinkedIn isn’t your only option for B2B, although it’s a worthy contender.
Also, consider options for promoting content to those you want to reach as each network has variations on features. Facebook, for instance, allows you to create custom audiences from a database match or from web visits whereas LinkedIn offers targeting by industry demographics.
Go Where Your Competition Isn’t
To battle content shock, you’ve got to be able to stand out against your competition. (And remember, in social media, your competition isn’t limited to your industry vertical, but to every brand and person with whom your audience is connected.) While it’s not possible to eliminate competition for attention, by taking a look at how you would stack up on various networks, you can start to see where you might be able to be most effective with your efforts.
Go Where Your Content Fits
If you’ve gotten this far, I certainly hope you’ve got a pretty clear objective for what you’d like social media to achieve, and the type of content you have resources to create that will inspire your audience to take action. If your message is complex or text-heavy, a photo sharing site like Instagram, while widely popular, isn’t going to be your best choice.
Measure, Test, Be Ready to Adjust
Because there’s no simple answer, you need to watch your results and be nimble. And, that’s the beauty of social media. We can learn from the nearly limitless amount of data available and make adjustments to connect, call to action, target audience, and your strategic approach as needed. And, it will be needed. The networks themselves are evolving constantly, so what works one day or for one campaign may not be successful the next.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that social media isn’t a strategy unto itself. The key is finding where it fits into yours, and how you’ll use it to meet your objectives.