Choosing The Best Social-Media Platforms

When deciding which social media to use, organizations should choose platforms whose users most closely align with the demographics of their target audience. Establishing and maintaining an organization’s social-media presence takes time and resources, and most organizations don’t have the capacity to manage accounts on every social-media platform available today. Limiting social-media activity to two or three strategic platforms can be just as or more effective than spreading the organization’s resources thinly over many platforms.

Before an organization can choose the platform that best reaches its audience, it first must know who its audience is, define its goals for interacting with its audience online, and understand the demographic breakdown of various social-media platforms. Answering a few key questions can help home in on the ideal platforms.

Who Is The Target Audience?

Identify demographic information that may be relevant to pinpointing who the organization’s target audience is, such as:

  • Average age range
  • Gender
  • Education level
  • Average income level
  • Religious affiliation

Pew Research Center’s 2014 Social Media Update provides extensive data about social-media users that is useful when narrowing the search for the ideal platforms. Sprout Social has compiled some of that data into easy to understand infographics. Also, check out this infographic digital marketing firm Direct Online Marketing created detailing the use of advertising in nine different social-media platforms.

What Are The Organization’s Goals?

Clearly define what the organization hopes to achieve by interacting with social-media users. Some goals may include:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Driving website traffic
  • Cultivating brand advocates
  • Boosting sales

What Are The Strengths Of Each Platform?

After answering the above questions, an organization should examine the user demographics of each social-media platform in combination with the way it intends to interact with the audience to achieve its goals. For example, a company that wants to engage 18- to 29-year-old college graduates in real-time conversations in order foster a positive brand image should include Twitter in its strategy.

Social media is an evolving landscape, so it’s imperative that social marketers stay on top of trends. Adweek’s infographic on current user statistics for five top social-media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram) gives predictions for how the numbers will shift in 2016. Organizations using those platforms in their current online marketing strategies should consider the potential impact those shifts could have on the effectiveness of their campaigns.

It is important to continually re-examine these three questions — Who is your audience? How can you reach them? What are your goals? — and make adjustments as needed to ensure successful social-media strategies.