Having worked in social media for a number of years, I’ve seen a ton of different questions raised about the various strategies and best practices. But one of the most popular questions I see is, “Which social media networks should I spend my time establishing a presence on?”
It’s an extremely important question to ask before you start devising a social media marketing strategy because there’s really no use in spending a ton of time and energy establishing a strong presence on a site that isn’t going to yield any positive returns.
One way to figure out exactly which networks make sense for your brand is to use data, such as demographic information, to provide some insights into networks relevant to you. You can do this by following a simple two-step process that I’ll lay out in the rest of this article. But at a very high level, the idea is to figure out who your perfect target audience is, then to use an infographic we’ve created to figure out exactly where to reach these people.
Figure out your perfect social audience
Very few companies out there will have the same exact target audience. For example, two car companies may both target the same 18-through-22 age group, but one of those brands could be a pickup company that sees much more sales coming from rural regions. The point is that you should spend the time figuring out exactly who the main consumer of your product is before choosing which networks to utilize.
And there are a few ways out there that allow you to do that.
Chat with your sales and marketing teams: Your sales and marketing teams are some of the most qualified people within your organization to tell you who your typical customers and users are. The marketing people are the ones who have to create ads catered to an audience, so they’re likely to know which groups of people are likely to respond to various forms of content. And the sales teams are the ones who actually get on the phone with your customers, giving them intimate knowledge of who exactly purchases your products.
Social media tools: A great way to see exactly who you should target on social is to look at who is already following your pages and aiming for networks that tend to see that same audience drawn in. One way to figure out exactly who is already following your pages is to use a social media tool like Sprout Social.
Most social media tools will begin to gather your follower demographics from both Twitter and Facebook–the networks that you likely already have some sort of presence on. Once you get a good idea of the type of people engaging with you on social networks, you can use the data in the infographic below to figure out on which networks you’ll typically find these users.
Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a website analytics tool that provides a plethora of information on your site statistics. There are a ton of different things you can look at: where your website visitors come from, how much time they spend on specific pages and what causes them to leave. But for these purposes, we’ll use Google Analytics to find out what kind of people our customers are. If you don’t have it already, you’ll have to set up Google Analytics and wait for it to start accumulating data on your visitors.
If you do have the tool set up on your site, go to the sidebar and, under the audience section, start looking through the demographics and geo data. These sections will give you information on your visitors’ age, gender, language, location and much more.
You can also add an additional layer of information that sorts visitors by whether or not they made a purchase. This makes it possible to figure out which genders, ages, languages and locations are more likely to purchase your goods, and then you’ll know that they’re some of your best targets.
Social networks: If you have enough followers on the popular networks like Facebook and Twitter, you can start to use their own tools to pull information on your current social followers, which could then dictate the customers you want to find and the networks you employ.
Facebook, for example, has an insights tool for business pages that shows the demographics of the people who engaged with your post. If you have enough followers, this report will appear at the top of your brand’s page.
Twitter also has an analytics feature that shows you the data on your followers. This can be found by clicking on your profile icon and navigating to analytics.
Pair your data with network data
Once you have a good understanding of who your perfect social media targets are based on age, gender, location, language, income and education, you can start to pair that data with the information we’ve compiled here based on each social network.
Some examples of pairing that data would be:
- Women are more likely to be on Pinterest.
- College graduates are more likely to be on LinkedIn.
- Younger users are more likely to be on Instagram.
- Suburban users are more likely to be on Facebook.
The key is to find out what type of users you want and figure out which networks they’re likely to use. Then once you establish your presence on those sites, you can use a social media management tool to build up your presence.