How To Know Which Social Network Will Work for You
It’s tough figuring out where to focus your time and effort on social media when you’re trying to reach parents and mums online.
Do you stick to Facebook because everyone is on Facebook?
Or are you more comfortable sharing content with your professional network on LinkedIn, because you know them and they’re looking for work related answers? Are you fed up trying to get people to engage generally, and find yourself whiling away the hours getting lost and wondering why anyone cares about Pinterest?
Maybe you’re a twitter lover – addicted to the short snacky news, chat and banter? Then there’s Instagram, where the cool kids hang out…. or is it? In 2016 Instagram is the fastest growing social network according to Smart Insights.
But according to the Social Media Examiner Industry Report 2016, Facebook leads the way by far. Instagram has grown the most in the last 12 months and G+ has declined the most.
Here’s which social networks are used by marketers today:
Source:Social Media Examiner Industry Report 2016
Can you believe Facebook now has 1.71billion active monthly users! And with live video and a highly sophisticated advertising platform, it’s the natural first choice for most small businesses.
But whilst Facebook tops the list for businesses targeting parents, they actually use a range of social networks including Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter:
If you’re trying to reach mums online, they could be on any one of these platforms. Or, more likely, on several of them simultaneously. So where do you start? Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+, Pinterest, Instagram or Snapchat, the choice is endless.
Which social network will work for you?
If you listen to all the internet marketing advice out there you’ll be thrown from pillar to post. Everyone has a ‘blueprint’ or a ‘system’ to help you find success, but do you know what’s missing?
They don’t know you and your business. Every one of us could be following the same ‘blueprint’, but we’ll all end up with different levels of success.
Every online business is unique. Run by unique people. Like you and me. We all need our own unique social media strategy!
Granted that can then be systemized, and grown and outsourced, but the essence of our businesses should be unique to our audience and us. Let me show you what I mean.
Here are two businesses with a very similar target market. BrilliantBusinessMoms and TheMogulMom. Both employ great online strategies to get them noticed. One is huge on Pinterest and Facebook, but the other focuses more on Twitter and Facebook.
Beth Anne at Brilliant Business Moms has grown her exposure on Pinterest and Facebook and gets such huge success from her 20k followers on Pinterest that she runs a course to help others with online shops replicate her success:
Whereas another brand in the same niche TheMogulMom has a stronger following and focus on Facebook and Twitter:
In another niche – beautiful and unique stationery, the established UK online retailer TheFoxandStar.co.uk gets most of its visits via Google search:
and has established a strong following on Pinterest :
Whereas the new kid on the block ‘Proper Post’ has blown up its Instagram account in under 6 months – with stunning visual and entertaining posts to promote its card and stationery subscription service.
Same niche – different social platforms.
The point is, that when you’re building your brand on social, pick the channel that you love and that your audience love to hang out on.
And when you find that sweet spot – that’s where you’ll find success:
So if you’re a food blogger who loves twitter, then find your tribe on twitter chats. If you’re a whizz with the camera and adore stunning images, try gaining traction on Instagram or Pinterest.
If you’re determined to help corporate mums get their next promotion, go check out the LinkedIn groups where they’re asking for tips on confidence and coping with babies and a career. And likewise if you love collaborating with others, focus on building your brand through collaborations on the platform that you feel most comfortable on.
Go figure out what your talent is.
Because when you love what you’re doing, you’re far more likely to stick with it and get really good.
This is vital for sustained success in social media.
Where to start?
# Find your market
You’ll need to dip your toe in the water with a couple of platforms first. When you’re starting out pick just one platform and spend time hanging out there.
Facebook Groups are always a great place to start. Because Facebook has such a huge number of active users, there is something for every niche possible.
Then look at where your competitors are having success. Don’t copy them, but look for where they are doing well. If you’re a parenting coach search on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter for other coaches focusing on parenting struggles – find where others are offering similar services and get curious about how they are making the platform work for them. (Or get an expert to guide you).
Here’s a great coffee analogy of each social platform to give you some direction on which to choose first:
# Find what gets people interacting
Once you’ve tried out a few platforms, then start looking at what’s working best.
Once you’ve started growing your follower numbers you’ll get to the point where these numbers no longer mean so much – More important are the engagements you get with your audience.
Where do you get most interactions with people? What do they comment on? what images do they repin? which posts do they share? These are the true metrics of success.
# Use free analytics tools
You should be able to get a good feel for what’s working and there are hundreds of free tools to help you analyse your accounts. Here are the ones I use:
Use Similarweb to spy on your competitors! Or to check out brands you want to collaborate with. You’ll find an idea of the amount of website traffic they get plus you can check out where their traffic came from. (The numbers are just a rough guide).
Facebook – has a pretty powerful tool called ‘insights’. Go to your business page and click on the gear icon and select ‘view insights’. I can see on my page for e.g. that the largest number of my audience is online at 21.00 therefore, a great time to post:
Twitter – has a good summary dashboard where you can clearly see your top tweets and mentions by month – which will help you find out what content is resonating best with your followers:
And another useful snapshot from Union Metrics to quickly find which tweets got the most engagement and identify influencers in your follower base.
Instagram: If you have a business account you’ll see some nice simple analysis of what’s done well or not on your mobile app. I also like the free Union Metrics checkup gives me a better idea of what hashtags have worked, and when the best time to post is:
Pinterest has its own analytics tools (in the top left hand corner) with tons of data there to show you how many repins you get, what traffic’s going to your website, and much more…And if you want to learn how to get your first 1k followers read how I did it on Pinterest here.
So if you’re overwhelmed and baffled about where to focus your time on social media do these 3 things right now:
- Find a competitor in your niche on each of the major social networks (look hard, they’re there).
- Spend a couple of weeks following each of them.
- Now figure out which social network you prefer.
You don’t need to be a fashion stylist to be on Instagram or a news reporter to be on Twitter, you can make it on Pinterest whilst not being an interior decorator. Photographers specialising in baby photos can be successful on Twitter – like @tamaralackey with 50k followers . Likewise if you’re a business coach selling services, you can make it big on Instagram like @hilaryrushford with an audience of almost 90k.
If you look hard enough you’ll find someone doing what you’re doing, on every single social platform.
And so all you need to do is find the ONE that’s right for you. Then get great at it.