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What Social Media Platforms are YOUR Customers Hanging Out On?

social media platforms

Over the last few years social media has become an important part of many business’ marketing strategy (and if it isn’t part of yours yet, it should be).

It seems like every day a new platform is popping up. You can very easily get overwhelmed and confused deciding which ones to use. And unless you’re happy to outsource this part of your business, it simply won’t be possible to use every social media platform effectively.

Before you can decide on which one is best for you as a way to reach your customers, consider the following two questions:

1) Which ones do you feel most comfortable using; and

2) Which ones are your customers using?

Answering these questions will automatically put you leagues ahead of your competition. You will be able to focus on the platforms that give you the most results for your time. However, you also need to be aware that simply because Twitter is your favorite platform, it doesn’t mean that your customers are going to be there.

You need to pick the social media platforms that you are comfortable with – or comfortable outsourcing to a social media marketer – and that your customers are hanging out on. Sometimes this means that you may need to get a little more familiar with one of the platforms.

As an example, if you are wanting to communicate with women looking for new clothes and styles, out of all of your choices, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn are likely to be your best choices.

Here’s a quick run-down on some of the most popular social media platforms:

Facebook

Facebook has the largest user base with 1.71 billion active users and 1.31 active users each day. That is a large population of people that could possibly hear about you or your business. Unfortunately, these same stats may make it difficult to get the attention of your potential clients. Facebook is a good place to reach members of all age groups, especially those between the ages of 20 and 50.

Pinterest

If your ideal customer is a woman, then Pinterest may be your choice. Having 82% of Pinterest users being women, you are truly missing out if your marketing is targeted to women and you are not on Pinterest.

Instagram

The teens have truly taken to Instagram; 32% of teenagers choose Instagram over Facebook. So if you are marketing to teenagers, then you need to be on Instagram.

Another demographic that has key impact on Instagram is the 25-34 age group. Instagram is a very visual platform. Therefore, with society becoming more and more digital, if you are trying to reach teens or Gen X-er’s then you need to be on Instagram. Remember, Instagram is not just an image platform; it is also a video platform.

YouTube

YouTube has over 1 million viewers each month; it follows second to Facebook. If you want to reach a large group of people, using YouTube could be your answer.

You will have a great advantage reaching adults between the ages of 18 and 34 by integrating YouTube into your social media plan. Another great thing about YouTube is that it shows up in Google searches.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is not like other social media platforms. You will find highly educated people and those who fall into the higher tiered income on LinkedIn. Over half the users of LinkedIn have an income of over $75,000.

This is also a great place to find business professionals and businesses who need your expertise. If your target market is business professionals or businesses, you need to add LinkedIn to your social media plan.

Twitter

Do not leave Twitter out of your plan. Twitter has a user base of 313 million, with 100 million of them using Twitter each day. Again, you will find you easily reach those between the ages of 18 and 34, however there are people of all ages using Twitter. Since you can only use 140 characters in a tweet it is more difficult to get your message across, so it’s important to learn how to use Twitter effectively to get the most from your time here.

Before you begin changing your business strategies, take time to answer the important questions. Decide which platforms you are comfortable using, or which you will need to learn to use. And, determine which social media platforms your potential customers are hanging out on. You want to find the common ground between the two.

If you love Pinterest, but your customers are not there, then you will need to go to another platform. You can easily find where you customers are by doing some additional research. Search for groups that fit your perfect customer, search for posts related to their problems, and ask your current customers where they hang out.

Although each platform has its larger demographics, you may find that your customers are hanging out there even though they are in the lower percentage.

The most important thing though is that you are using social media to connect and engage with your customers (and potential customers).

Do You Really Need To Use All These Social Media Sites?

I’m sure you’ve heard so much advice recently about the power of social media sites and how you should be marketing your business with them.

You’ve got Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Digg, Tumblr, Stumbled Upon, Google Plus, Reddit, Pinterest and the list goes on (and on … and on … and on).

social media iconsGood grief! After you’ve spent time on each of these social media sites each day, when are you meant to get any work done?

There’s no doubt about it … social media marketing is booming and is a fantastic marketing and brand-building strategy for small businesses, when used correctly.

However it should be considered one of your many marketing strategies, with a social media marketing plan making up a part of your business’ overall marketing plan.

As for which social media sites you need to be active on, I do not recommend joining every social media site you come across (and trust me, there’s literally 1000s of them!) Doing so means you’ll be spreading yourself too thin and in all honesty, not all of them are going to be relevant for your business.

What I suggest is that you find 5 or 10 social media sites that you feel comfortable with and where you’re likely to find relevant ‘contacts’. By contacts, this could be potential customers but it may also include potential colleagues, partners, mentors and other like-minded people you can learn from and share with.

Then, focus on building relationships with other members on those select sites. Remember, you’re looking for quality, not quantity. And you’re most definitely not there to sell and promote all the time.

You can find Social Media Managers now and many VAs (Virtual Assistants) also specialise in this area. So if you need help developing and implementing a plan for your business, I would encourage you to enlist the services of a professional to help you get this right.

You may even decide to outsource your social media marketing altogether. That is, you pay someone else to manage your business’ social media accounts on your behalf.

Or you may choose to develop a plan whereby you spend, let’s just say 30 minutes, each morning/afternoon on social media sites and then turn them off for the rest of the day. You’d be amazed how productive you can be during that 30 minutes if you know you have a deadline. Set an alarm if you need to.

And once you have a plan in place, it will be easier for you to connect with relevant people online, switch off to the distractions and reap the real benefits of social media.