Creating and implementing a social media strategy for your business can be a seriously time-consuming task. If you want to be successful on social media it’s all about meaningful content and understanding your customer, creating compelling content your audience wants to see and knowing when and where to post to reach your audience. However, this takes care and consideration. Add in the multiplier of trying to share great content across 6 different platforms, and you’ll likely struggle. However, you don’t have to be on every social media platform. In fact, if you have limited resources as a business, you will achieve better outcomes by just focusing on one or two.
Each social media platform is unique. Each has a different purpose and different features which support a different user experience. It is important to consider what these are so you can make an informed decision about the platforms that suit your audience, your product or service and your content creation intentions best.
Understanding the intention and features of each social media platform
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Linkedin, and Tiktok were all launched with slightly different intentions. Each has developed and will continue to develop features accordingly. They all have different audience make ups, varying by demographic (age, gender, profession etc.), and these audiences also behave differently on each platform. So the optimal content requirements vary across each forum.
If you want to do well on a platform, it is important that you create content that matches the intention of the forum, and the wants or needs of your audience on that particular platform. It takes time to develop expertise and focus on performing the required tasks consistently.
"Quality content, engaged community - this is the goal if you are actively trying to grow through social media."
“Start with why”, so they say. To understand how each social media platform works, and the content that performs well, let’s take a look at the mission statements of the most popular social media platforms and how this informs their essential features:
Mission statement: "to capture and share the world's moments."
Instagram is an entirely visual platform. Its sole purpose is to enable users to share images or videos with their audience. It's a platform geared for sharing photos and video content; on the wall, through stories, live streams and IGTV (Instagram TV). To succeed on Instagram, you must master the ability to create visually engaging content that's interesting for your target audience.
Facebook's new mission statement, as of 2017, is "to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together". You can read more about this mission and the implications of it in this post by Mark Zuckerberg - https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/bringing-the-world-closer-together/10154944663901634/
To succeed on Facebook organically and without advertising spend, be sure to leverage the community-building functionality. But remember, nurturing an engaged community takes consistent time and effort.
Youtube's mission is "to give everyone a voice and show them the world". Youtube exists to help people discover relevant video content, based on what they search for and their interests (through YouTube's recommendations). As a content creator, Youtube rewards consistent content creation and the level of engagement you get for your videos (how long people watch them for). Mastering Youtube is an art and a science. You can learn more about the necessary consideration when trying to succeed on Youtube in this useful blog by Shopify - https://www.shopify.co.nz/blog/youtube-algorithm
Linkedin's mission is to "connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful." I don't find Linkedin's mission statement particularly useful or directional. Which might be why I also find Linkedin to be a confusing and not very enjoyable place to spend my social media marketing efforts. The difference between Linkedin and other social media platforms is users participate on the platform in their professional role, although this is becoming more and more blurred. This factor lends itself to content focused on thought leadership and industry relevance.
Twitter's mission is "to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers." Twitter's mission statement isn't particularly useful either. It's not just me that thinks this. Read more in this HBR ' Why Twitter's mission statement matters' HBR Article. https://hbr.org/2014/11/why-twitters-mission-statement-matters
Twitter is designed to be text-based, with a maximum character number of 280 (previously 140) per post. To succeed on Twitter, you must become good with words, the ability to convey ideas in a punchy, engaging, easily-digestible way is very important. Twitter is also an excellent platform for establishing yourself as a thought leader, and useful posts can be quick to spread (so can bad ones, mind you).
TikTok’s mission is “to inspire creativity and bring joy”. The platform is heavily based on trending themes and ideas, with each creator offering their unique spin on a concept. It leans heavily towards collaboration with the community using its “duet feature” for people to interact and respond to each other's content. At the same time the platform gives users the tools to create through special filters and video editing options. Content on TikTok is short and digestible, but extremely engaging, however it can be hard to stand out in the endless scrolling. So, If you’re trying to succeed on TikTok it is important you understand trends, youth culture, and have the ability to add a creative spin which can help you stand out.
There are several other interesting platforms worth investigating too. These often be targeted at more niche audiences, which can also be useful to your business. Platforms like pinterest, ravelry, or flixster are aimed at individuals who are interested in specific hobbies or fields, however these can sometimes be hard to find. Another option is to use a platform specifically designed for hosting your own community. Mighty Networks is one that we use for Mum's Garage. I suggest you take the same approach as I have in this article to assess these platforms, by understanding the mission of the platform and the features that you must play to, to achieve reach and engagement.
Choosing your #1 platform
When deciding about the medium you want to focus on, consider the value you are providing to your target market, and where they go to get this type of value (which platform).
Here are some questions to help you do this:
- What are you trying to achieve through your social media efforts? The answer to this is most likely to build an audience.
- Who is your target audience? How old are they? Are they male or female? What are they interested in?
- What platforms are they actively engaged on and for what purpose?
- What is the uniquely valuable content that you can share with your audience?
- What type of content best suits your product or service? E.g. are you able to generate good imagery through your product (e.g. food, beauty, pets, babies)? Or is it something that requires more in depth explanation? Are people looking for connection and peer support on the topic you are an expert in? Is it highly relevant and topical at the moment?
- What type of content suits your skill set, or are you most interested in creating? Videos, blogs, imagery etc?
Often the challenge with helping founders and business owners to create and share content through social media is overcoming the resistance that exists when it comes to putting content out there. Another challenge is deciding on the content that will be most useful for the audience. It can be disheartening to see low engagement, and put in consistent effort, however, by not spreading yourself too thin it can be easier to stay on the ball. By utilising a more natural process, the better it can feel for the person creating the content. When creating content becomes effortless, and it is well received from the audience, this is the sweet spot. Choosing the right medium for creating content and distributing content is the first step towards this. Hopefully this article has given you some direction!