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The Business Northumberland blog

There are social media platforms out there for everything and everyone, including those to connect people with shared hobbies, business interests, aspirations, and much more.

Essentially (unless you have an extensive team and budget to match!), there are far too many to maintain a decent presence on them all! It will be better to spend your time focusing on those platforms that are most likely to help you meet your marketing objectives; the ones that will give you the exposure you're looking for with the right audiences.

Before you can decide which platforms to opt for, take time to review why you have chosen to use social media marketing in the first place and what you want to achieve from your activity.

Once you’ve gone through this process, you can make an informed choice of where to post and engage, matching your business’s needs, and make social media more fruitful for your business.

Start by setting your social media goals
There are many benefits to using social media, but it’s essential to have specific goals in place that support your business. It will help determine not only the social media platform you choose, but also the audience you target, and the type of content you need to create. Perhaps your goal is around improving your customer service by providing an easy route for customers to reach out to you with questions, feedback, complaints and concerns.
Other goals could be around identifying new leads and prospects and reaching out to them to increase awareness of your brand and exposing your business to new people.
Once your goals are identified, it provides you with a measurable metric to achieve. Your goals are entirely your choice.

Determine where your audience is
The purpose of social media for business is to put you in front of your target audience. Therefore, it stands to reason that you need to find out where they hang out, so you don’t waste time and resources in the wrong places.
While no method is 100% fail-safe, there are a few things you can do to identify the social media platforms your audience prefer and already use.
One of the most straightforward ways is a simple customer survey. Ask questions like: which social media platforms they prefer and their reasons; where they gather their information online, and which influencers they like to follow. Once your customers have told you where they like to hang out, you need to be there!
Another is to research your competitors, identify which platforms they use and analyse how they manage them and whether you perceive them to be successful (are their posts being shared and engaged with?).

Figure out the type of content you want to use
Different types of content work better on specific social media platforms, so it’s integral that you consider the kind of content you like (and are able) to create and that resonates with your audience and reflects your brand well. Instagram, for instance, is all about pictures and videos now too, so it’s probably not the best place to be if your content is text-focussed.
The type of content you create will depend on various factors, including your industry, your target audience, and your business. The types of content you may wish to focus on could include: news and blog posts; testimonials and case studies; webinars and live streams; ebooks and whitepapers; videos and photographs.
Knowing the content, you are likely to create and will resonate with your audience; you’ll have a better understanding of how each social media platform can work for you.

Then choose your social media platform
Once you’re happy with your chosen goals, have determined where your audience is already hanging out, and have a good grasp on the type of content that works best for your business, you can then compare the different social media platforms to determine which one will best meet your business needs.
Of all the social media platforms available, the main ones used for business include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and Twitter.
A word of caution - just because you don’t like social media and choose not to use it personally does not mean that your business shouldn’t use social media. Don’t let your personal feelings cloud your judgement on social media for your business.

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