Social channels

A staple of my morning routine involves venturing into my kitchen, toasting two slices of bread and smothering them with an inch-thick layer of Sun-Pat Crunchy (other brands available).

Yes, I know, you’re wondering why I’m enlightening you with this fact. Well, I thought to myself yesterday morning, second slice in, that this delicious, peanut-laden toast is a great analogy for brands’ social media efforts. It’s tempting to lap-up as many channels as possible in an attempt to engage your audience, but spread yourself too thinly, and your social strategy might end up a tad lacklustre – it may miss that extra crunch.

So, fuelled by protein and inspired by a Digital Marketing Institute article, I jotted down five steps I believe are essential for any brand sussing out which channels to embrace. They are…

Step 1. Work out the why

First up is identifying what you want to get out of your social media strategy. What are your main objectives? To boost brand awareness? To generate more leads? To better your customer support? Every channel should align with one – or more – of your overall objectives. If you can’t figure how it fits within the larger strategy, it’s probably not worth your time or effort.

If you want to raise brand awareness, opt for tried-and-tested channels with large audiences – like Facebook, boasting a mammoth two billion monthly users. The social giant’s advertising platform is renowned for generating solid ROI, too, if you’ve got the budget to invest in paid promotion.

Meanwhile, LinkedIn is considered the go-to for lead generation; an Oktopost infographic showed that just over 80% of B2B social leads come through the platform, and that’s it’s responsible for directing 46% of social traffic to a company’s website.

Step 2. Find your audience

You’ve chosen channels that align with your goals, but you need to make sure that they’re popular with your target audience. For instance, with 68% of its users being female, says Omnicore, Instagram might not the best choice if your customers are largely male.

The top social strategies are sculpted by social media demographics, with these data-driven insights helping brands fine-tune their strategies to make them as targeted as possible. Thus, boosting the chance of conversion.

If you already have a social presence, tools like Sprout Social will allow you to analyse your followers and learn information on their age, gender and location. This will help you decide which channels to keep, and which to can.

If you’re yet to pick your platforms, the web is a bountiful resource for social data. Just take We are Flint research, finding that Facebook is the second most popular platform among 18-29 year-olds, behind YouTube. It also uncovered that LinkedIn is more popular with UK adults taking home £48k+ (63%), compared to those earning below that threshold (25%).

Step 3. Spy on competitors

Analysing your competitors’ social efforts will give you a great idea of what works and what doesn’t. It’ll provide you with valuable metrics to benchmark your performance against in future, too.

Scan the social sites of other brands in your industry. What type of content do they produce? What generates the highest levels of engagement? How often do they post? Rely on social listening tools – like BuzzSumo – to do the hard graft for you.

Step 4. Decide on your content

Content comes in all shapes and sizes and what works for another brand might not work for you or your audience. At the same time, you need to make sure you choose the right type of content for your selected platforms.

So, if you want to share short-form video content and your target audience are younger, Instagram or Snapchat are two great options. Longer-form videos are better suited to Facebook, Twitter and of course, the mighty YouTube.

If you want to establish yourself as an industry-leader, create editorial content to be published on the likes of LinkedIn, which is also great for sharing industry- and company-led news and updates.

Step 5. Reality check

Now, back to my peanut butter on toast. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to sufficiently showcase your brand with just one social channel. But on the other hand, spreading yourself too thinly will dilute your efforts and your impact.

The key to success lies in striking that golden balance. Focus on crafting a quality online presence on the platforms you believe are best for engaging your target audience. Social scheduling tools such as Buffer can help in this process, saving you time and maximising your resources by allowing you to prepare posts in advance for a number of channels.

If offered a few slices of toast with a measly spreading of peanut butter, or one hearty slice with a smothering of the stuff, I think you know which I’d go for. Social success is a similar case of quality over quantity; focus your efforts on a few channels and you’re sure to reap the benefits.

If all this social stuff is a lot to take in, why not get in touch with us to see how we can help?