Social Media Tip: Know Thy Platforms

Snackable Social Media Tips: Know Thy Platforms

By Staff Writer
In May 20, 2014

Social media has instilled itself into the DNA of many businesses and it’s not going away, but it is evolving. Historically, many brands have indulged in every social media platform possible, just because everyone else was doing it. But the questions you and your business should be asking are, “Are my customers using this platform?” “How are they using it?” And “Does this platform make sense for reaching and influencing my target audience?” Don’t get caught spreading your resources too thin between 10 different social media platforms when, in reality, your audience only uses 3 or 4 platforms actively. The key to social media success is not the platform itself, it is understanding your community, the platforms they use, the content they engage with and how often they use said platforms. In my latest snackable social media tip I am going to share a few pointers to help you get to know thy platform so you can select the key social media platforms that will complement your brand and help you engage with your target audience effectively.

But first, if you missed my previous snackable social media tips, you can check them out here:

So let’s dive into how to identify what social media platforms are right for your brand or business:

  1. Do Your Research
  2. You cannot create meaningful content that will start an active dialogue with your audience if you do not know where they are and what they share. A little leg work upfront will help you find what social media platforms you audience is using and what type of content you should invest in creating. A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that in the last 8 years social media usage over all Internet users has skyrocketed from 8 percent to 73 percent across all age groups.

    "Social Media Usage Statistics

    Image Source: Pew Research Center

    With social media activity on the rise and an influx of new platforms launching every day, it is important to prioritize those that matter most. Visit each social media platform you are considering utilizing, already use, or those you may have written-off, to see if your audience is talking about your brand, competitors or industry vertical, or expressing needs that your product or service can fulfill. Most social media platforms have an advanced search feature you can utilize to do industry keyword or hashtag searches to discover your niche audience’s conversation. Take note of how active your audience is, if they are using specific hashtags that relate to your vertical and the type of content they are posting and sharing. Keep in mind that when creating content you want to entertain, inform and complement your audience’s social feed. Taking cues from content they already like to engage with will put you ahead of the curve.

    Next, note what brands in your vertical (and even outside of) your audience already follows and engages with. Evaluate how your competitors are using each platform, what type of questions their audience is asking, what type of branded content their audience is sharing and on what specific platforms they seem to get more traction and engagement.

    At the end of this step you should have a rough audit that shows: The social media platforms on which your audience is most active; the type of content they like to share and interact with; how your competitors utilize each platform; content gaps your brand can fill, and superfluous content your brand can avoid.

  3. Read Between the Lines
  4. Next, start digging a little bit deeper into each of the social media platforms your audience actively uses. The insights you glean in just one or two days can skew quite differently from those garnered over a longer period of time. Set aside a few weeks for your team to dive into your brand’s community themselves. Join in conversations, share content, discover trends and follow new people. By taking the time to participate in the community you want to reach, you will be able to read between the lines and uncover some hidden insights (or gems as I like to call them) that only time and hands-on experience can reveal. Until you use Twitter, Vine or even SnapChat, you won’t fully understand how they work and how your community uses them. Each platform is a different beast and deserves to be treated uniquely, which leads me to my next point.

  5. Know thy Platform Inside and Out
  6. Your experience in the first two steps should give you a pretty good idea of how each platform works and which resonate best with your target audience. But the learning does not stop there, nor does it ever end in the world of social media. Start investing some time into each platform individually on a deeper lever. Learn how the platform functions, the lingo, what the advertising model is, promotional do’s and don’ts, as well as case studies on each platform’s successes and failures. For instance, Facebook just made some major updates that have marketers changing their strategies. Just as social media platforms are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated, so must our social media strategies.

    It is important to diversify your message across each social media platform, as each one reaches a different type of audience with its own unique set of rules and lingo. A message on LinkedIn about your new product feature should skew quite differently from a behind-the-scenes peak of a new product you share via SnapChat. Creating targeted posts for each social media platform reflecting its unique use and features is vital to the success of your content.

    For more information, check out our social media etiquette infographic for the socially active.

  7. Social is Mobile
  8. 86% of Twitter users choose to access the platform on their mobile device over a desktop.

    Last but not least, it’s imperative to understand the device your audience uses to consume content. As you can see by the chart below, we live in a mobile-driven world. In fact, 60% of users’ social media time is spent on their mobile devices. If you are tweeting links to a website or landing page that’s not optimized for mobile, you are creating a negative user experience that may result in unwanted drop-offs. So take the time to consider what device your audience prefers to use when accessing your key social media platforms. Consumers now demand and expect a seamless experience between social and mobile. You are only one click of an “x” away from being dismissed if you don’t provide that.

Mashable Chart: Mobile Social Media Use

Mobile Social Media Use

If you need help identifying and exploring what social media platforms are right for your business or brand, drop us a line. We’d love to help you get to know thy platform.

Staff Writer

So who is this mysterious staff writer? Could be anyone really, as long as they meet our very strict criteria. 1) Worked with us in one capacity or another. 2) Have something pretty interesting to say. 3) Want to use our blog to say it. See? Told ya they were strict!