1. Study your competitors
You are probably aware of which networks your top competitors are on. Well, get out your magnifying glass and study what they’re doing. To keep it simple, choose three brands, go to their websites and find out which social channels they have profiles on. If they’re B2C, it’s likely Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. (Maybe YouTube and Snapchat, too.) For B2B, LinkedIn is the go-to platform followed by Twitter.
2. Ask your customers
Whether you send out an email survey, make some phone calls, or just ask your customers when they’re in your store, restaurant or business, find out which networks they use. Consumers under 35 are most likely using Instagram multiple times a day, while those over 40 may prefer Facebook. Business buyers, regardless of age, will likely tell you they’re on LinkedIn and Twitter. Find out which networks they use most – and why. Once you ask a core segment of your customer base, you will have a great big arrow pointing you to the channels you should invest in.
3. Measure your efforts
Once you are posting regularly to your chosen networks it is imperative that you look at your analytics. Each network allows you to see your engagement metrics (likes, shares and comments), and if you use a social media management tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, you will have access to additional measurement tools through those apps, too. Your metrics will show you what’s working. Which posts do your customers like best? Which stories get the most comments? And, very important, has your number of followers grown since the previous week, month and year, by network and aggregately?
The key takeaway here is that social media marketing cannot be based on how you feel. It should be based on hard data: Which networks are your competitors on? Which networks do your customers use? How is each network performing for you? Combining the three easy steps outlined above will go a long way toward helping you select, invest in and maintain the right social networks for your brand or business.
Michael Jortner is a West Hollywood-based marketing consultant and freelance writer specializing in storytelling and content. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.