When setting up your business’s marketing strategy, there are a lot of platforms to consider, and every marketing expert has a pet favourite that they like to tell you you MUST be on. But how do you know what’s right for your business?
We’ve created a 3-minute training video with 3 questions to ask yourself when considering a new platform, so watch that first. But sometimes you just need all the facts in front of you. So to save you time that you could easily waste attempting a platform that’s not right for you, here’s a breakdown of the top 6 platforms, including who should & shouldn’t use them and some ideas to help you start generating content.
-Facebook is pretty much required these days for businesses. There are businesses that have Facebook pages but not websites.
-Organic reach is difficult, so unless you’re prepared to spend a lot of time creating engaging content or money hiring a SMM, stick to a post or two per week to keep the content up-to-date and then use it as a platform for ads and product linking.
-Think of Facebook as an extension of your website. If you’ve added information to your website (including blog posts), it’s probably worth sharing on Facebook.
-Facebook is inherently social, so make sure content is engaging and that you place a high value on user-generated content.
You should not be on Facebook if:
-N/A. Every modern business should be on Facebook.
-Encourage happy customers to leave reviews on your Facebook page to add social proof.
-Create engaging content like videos, polls, “would you rather”s, and memes that are relevant to your brand. Engagement on your posts will help more people discover your page.
-Lean into the algorithm by prioritising content with a visual element (photos and videos).
-Twitter is a difficult platforms for brands, and especially small businesses, to do well as Twitter users don’t like being obviously advertised to.
-Social listening is an important part of Twitter; this means using a robust tool to monitor for keywords related to your brand (like mentions of “takeaway” used within your area if you’re a takeaway restaurant) so that you can respond in real time to add value for potential customers and insert yourself into the conversation around those keywords.
-If you enjoy interacting with customers in a way that isn’t always directly relevant to your brand, then Twitter may be a good option.
You should not be on Twitter if:
-You don’t have a very clear idea of what your brand tone & voice sounds like
-You don’t have the time to invest in social listening or humourous content
-Re-work memes, or create your own, to fit your brand. Run this content by a few honest people first; the Twitterverse can be unforgiving, and bad content could do more harm than good.
-Live-tweet (or at least respond to) important cultural events. Oreo responded to the SuperBowl blackout in 2013 with a meme within about 90 seconds.
NOTE: If you enjoy Twitter and use it personally, you’re the sole owner of your business and do your own marketing, and your Tweets avoid controversial topics, I’m actually a fan of the idea of using your personal Twitter to make brand-related announcements and otherwise just using it personally. Just stick your company website into your profile and put the name of your business in your bio. This is a controversial opinion amongst marketers, but I find that it helps with biz owners’ sanity and can take some of the pressure off of creating a content strategy for yet another platform.
-Pinterest isn’t so much a social network as a search engine. People are much less likely, believe it or not, to just browse Pinterest than they are to search for a specific item or category.
-You probably have too many Pinterest boards. I would limit it to no more than 12 to start with; if you can think of more categories than that right off the bat, then you should consider refining your Pinterest strategy. You can add to this as time goes on, but for now it’s best to keep it simple.
-I recommend using a scheduling app to make sure that your posts are being seen at all times. Tailwind is what my team & I use; it’s a Pinterest-approved partner, and it allows for some great repurposing of old content.
You should not be on Pinterest if:
-You aren’t able to create graphics and captions optimised for Pinterest
-You don't have the time to re-pin other users' content regularly and don't want to invest in a scheduling app like Tailwind
-A good guideline is the 80/20 rule; you can have about 80% repins from other people and 20% of your own content.
-Posting a few different pins that all lead back to the same blog post, lead magnet or sales page helps you get more bang for your buck.
-Feel free to mix in some on-brand “personal” stuff as well. A florist friend of mine is creating a board of tattoos that she loves, and interiors would fit well here too; it gives potential clients a glimpse further into her design aesthetic.
-Instagram is becoming less and less optional. If you are a B2C business, meaning you sell directly to customers and not to other businesses, then you definitely need an Instagram. And B2B businesses aren’t off the hook; Regale Media is B2B, and we definitely need to be on Instagram.
-The visuals are important, but they’re just a building block. You need to be using the right hashtags and other metadata to get your content in front of people, or it won’t matter how beautiful it is.
-Stories are almost a completely separate platform and do need their own strategy, but they’re an important piece of the Instagram puzzle. Same goes for IGTV.
-You can schedule your Instagram posts and even auto-post them with some apps, but remember that most of your engagement is going to happen shortly after you post a photo. It’s important in my opinion to be around to engage, both with the comments on your photos and with the other content being shared in the hashtags you’ve used. We use Planoly to plan our feed and create the captions & hashtag groups, but we always spend a good 20 minutes after posting engaging with users.
You should not be on Instagram if:
-You aren’t able to create or source stunning visuals and don’t have the resources to have someone do it for you.
-You don’t have time to dedicate to engaging with other users.
-Lifestyle photos do particularly well on Instagram. If you have a product business, photograph your products in the real world. If you’re a service-based business (like we are), then quotes or “candid” photos of the business owner/team members work well.
-Find a Lightroom preset or filter in an editing app (preferably not within Instagram) that you love, and then use it for all of your photos to create a cohesive look on your feed. You could even take it a step further and make sure a certain colour, maybe one of your brand colours, appears in every photo you post.
-Like Facebook, engagement = reach on Instagram, so post engaging content like polls (“comment with the emoji that best expresses your feeling about it being Monday already…”) or questions in your feed, and take advantage of interactive features like polls, ratings and questions that are built into stories.
-Social Media expert Rachel Pedersen describes LinkedIn as a networking party, and we love that analogy. You wouldn’t just stand in the corner holding up your business card or CV like a loser. You’d at least talk to one person at a time, if not join in on bigger conversations happening in the room. You might even start one of those conversations. Otherwise, you should just stay home.
-In the same way, a networking party is not the place to pass out CVs unless someone asks for them. It’s the place to strategically strike up conversations with the right people and introduce your services once a rapport has been established. Contribute to the LinkedIn conversation and connect with people with that mentality and you’ll experience a warmer reception than just flogging your products or services all over the place.
-LinkedIn is a closed network, so website content can be re-posted here without being flagged as duplicate content (which can affect your SEO).
-LinkedIn is doing some major re-vamping of its groups, so those are about to blow up. We recommend trying to find a few that you would be a good fit for and then seeing how you can add value organically.
You should not be on LinkedIn if:
-We’re of the opinion that every professional should be on LinkedIn! You never know who’s going to stumble across your profile and think “oh, I really need some flooring work done!” or “hm, my daughter’s looking for a wedding planner...” and send you a message.
-Re-post your blog posts onto LinkedIn. As mentioned, it’s a closed network, so it’s just another way to make your content count and get more mileage out of it.
-Create engaging content in groups, asking questions and having conversations around the answers. This could be a great place to get content ideas for other platforms.
-Video is expensive and time-consuming to make, but once you have it, it can be repurposed in so many great ways (IGTV, Instagram & Facebook, etc.)
-YouTube videos are embedded in a lot of platforms, and views on those platforms count as video views. So share that video on Facebook. Embed it in a blog post. Post it to Google+.
-Remember that YouTube is a search engine (the second biggest one, owned by the biggest one). Focus on making your video titles search-friendly, and take advantage of every ounce of metadata it allows you, especially the description. It all counts and helps make your content more discoverable.
You should not be on YouTube if:
-You don’t have the time, energy and resources to dedicate to making your videos high-quality.
-You’re not comfortable being on-camera. Videos made up of slides can work, but they tend not to perform as well in our experience as the ones with a human connection element.
-When you’re just starting out, search for thing relevant to your business, and make videos for topics that have fewer than 100 results. This will allow you to rank higher in the search results instead of competing against lots of videos with more views.
-Vlogging-style videos can work really well for businesses that offer some kind of transformative product or service, like fitness or health foods
-Video trainings are the way to go for service-based businesses, while styling or installation how-to videos can perform well for product-based businesses.
Still stuck? Hop on a free strategy call with us, and we’ll help you figure out exactly what platforms you should be focusing on!