People often ask me which social media to use for their business and my immediate answer is usually "all of them". What we in the marketing world call using as many mediums as possible to share your product or service is part of integrated communications or multi-platform promotions.
There are people out there in the world, your potential customers, who use only Twitter, or only Instagram or only Facebook. There are some who use none of the above but are happily pinning away on Pinterest every day or who tune in to a You Tube channel now and then with a cuppa. There are those who shun all of that but who love to read a blog. So to really capture as many customers as possible you really would be best advised to use all of the most popular options available to you. If that seems too daunting then you can carry out a simple exercise to help you focus in on the best social media for your business. If you have a business or are setting one up you should really carry this exercise out anyway, so why not give it a go?
What I advise my clients to do firstly is to ask themselves the following question:
1. Who is my target market? What age and gender are they? Do they work? What do they earn? Do they have children? What is their perceived social status? Where do they work? Where do they shop? When do they sleep? Get as much information down about your target market as you possibly can. Do not forge that your target customer and your target end user are sometimes different people especially if you are in the gift industry or your products could be given as gifts - you make items for nurseries for instance. Your hand pressed perfumes may be used by women but could they be bought by men? If so you don't want to miss out on that chunk of your market by focusing your promotions on women only. Your hand made nursery items could be bought by married ladies of child bearing age but also by grandparents and by single career women of child bearing age buying for friends and family. So when you are brainstorming this question think broadly. Once you have this information move on to step two.
2. Take all of that information and consolidate it into manageable data. This exercise will help you to map trends and cross over. Venn diagrams help with this or colour grouping. For instance if you have an over 50's age demographic that may link in with your grandparent descriptor. Housewives and mums and women 25-50 might go together similarly but of course these are broad generalisations but hey will give you more manageable and roughly mappable data. It's OK to have one demographic in several groups. Using the example above Housewives, mums and women 25-50 may also be full time career women, and may overlap into grandma and pet owners. This isn't a precise science, this is just an activity to help group your target market into segments.
3. Now do a bit of research. Who uses which of the main social media? Have a look at who uses Twitter the most, who uses Facebook more often than any other social media, what's the average You Tube viewer look like in terms of demographic? How many times do 40-50 year old women check Instagram each day? How many blog does the average blog reader follow? How many subscriptions to You Tube channels does the average 25-30 year old mum have? Don't assume you know, go and check out the data it will be out there.
4. Finally consider which social media maps best onto your target market information. If a key part of your target market is young men under 25 and the most popular social media with young men under 25 is Instagram then you know you really need to be using Instagram in your business promotions package. If women over 50 are your target market and there are very few women over 50 who use Twitter you may want to consider if Twitter is really worth spending your time on.
Narrowing down and focusing like this can make it easier for you to manage select social media rather than trying to work with all of them. Although working with all of them is not as difficult as it may seem if you have a good structure and if everything is seamlessly integrated but that's for another time. For now just focus on this exercise and seeing what it turns up for you. But don't forget that those women over 50 who don't use Twitter may have children who are prolific tweeters who may pass information on to their mums by sharing it to their much used Facebook accounts... see why all of them is best?
It may seem like a lot of work that you don't have time for, but business planning and preparation takes a lot of time if you want it to become a success so it will always be time well spent and may well save you from making expensive or time wasting mistakes in the months to come.
Next in this series will be integrating social media platforms.This content is a free brief condensation of advice and support we offer as Crafty Business Solutions. Please contact us if you would like more advice and support with this area of your business.