It seems that a brand-new social media channel is launched whenever we go to the web. It’s tough to know where to turn when running a small business and where they should have a presence, given that some form of exposure on social media is recommended.


I _ Defining objectives

If company managers are to get a good return on their investment (in terms of time as much as anything else), they have to be very selective. They need to choose only the channels which will work for them, but how should they narrow down the field?

Decision-makers should start by defining their objectives. Do they want to generate leads, or are they aiming to improve search rankings? Do they want to increase the conversion rates or drive more traffic to their website?


II _ A channel fitting

It’s important to look closely at each social media channel and determine the objective. Some channels set out with one aim and don’t pretend to be “good” at anything else. They should align their channel’s objective with their marketing vision before considering going further.

LinkedIn is arguably the leading B2B social media site and is great for generating leads. The channel encourages users to join groups, participate in discussions and search for connections with advanced filters. LinkedIn also has dynamic advertising, where users can create ads and serve them to groups based on demographics.

Other social media channels are more in tune with a younger audience. If the business sells a product or service to Generation Z, they may be more likely to succeed on Instagram. This company may find LinkedIn a complete waste of time and money.

Facebook is undoubtedly the place to be if its audience includes baby boomers. This platform may be losing share regarding the younger audience, but they’re still far ahead of other candidates, such as YouTube. Given the nature of this demographic, however, it may be best to use Facebook as a nurturing tool (or Attraction and Interest in the AIDA triangle) rather than trying to sell directly.


III _ Learn from competitors

Companies shouldn’t be afraid to learn from their competitors to see what channels they use and to gauge their potential success. Check to see if they are spending money on advertising within those channels or just using them organically.

If a competitor is paying hard money and doing so often, they are reaching their audience.
Trying out new social media channels is often tempting, believing they may be the next big thing or could give an organisation a breakthrough. In this case, it’s probably better to let that channel gain some traction first, as many fall by the wayside. Just look at Clubhouse, which seemed to offer so much potential but is yet to break through.

Marketers can keep an eye on a new channel that looks promising. Still, they shouldn’t devote too much time and resources to that offering without good reason.

Companies should never spread their resources too thin by trying to make too many social media channels work for them. In doing so, they could miss opportunities or, even worse, confuse their prospects and customers. Instead, they should be clear about their target demographic, choose channels that match and keep a close watch to see how their competitors fare.