How to Choose the Right Social Media Channels

It’s been acknowledged in past posts that finding time for, and managing social media content can prove difficult without a standardized process. This led to the recent discussion on how to manage your social media content calendar and the power of content curation. With the content calendar process in place, the question now becomes, where should I post?

You Don’t Need to be Everywhere

As a small business, trying to post quality content to every social network will leave you feeling stretched thin and frustrated. Instead, focus your efforts where they will make the biggest impact and have the highest likelihood of engaging your audience. If that means starting with one network and moving on from there, that is perfect and scalable.

Let Your Customers Decide

The best way to decide where you should focus your efforts is to find where your customers already are. If they’re very active on Twitter or Instagram but you post everything to Facebook, your interesting content and valuable updates don’t stand much of a chance of being seen. It may seem logical, but uncovering the answer isn’t always easy. Here are few ideas to get started:

  1. Survey customers in an upcoming email. Be direct, asking, “On which of these social networks do you spend the most time?” or “Where would you like to see more updates from the shop?” After they submit their answer, display a page that provides links to your social media pages, or ideally the specific network(s) they selected to encourage a quick and easy follow.
  2. Ask customers during checkout. Choose one of the two questions outlined above and tell the customer about your ongoing efforts to keep them up to date with insider shop info. Just don’t forget to formally record the results after the sale in a spreadsheet or Google Doc for easy tallying after the sample set is reached.
  3. Ask your team or club members. Arguably your best (or most honest) relationships are between you and this crew. At an upcoming team event or in the parking lot before the shop ride rolls out, ask around. Again, don’t forget to record your results.

Encourage Follows by Following

Once you’ve chosen your network(s) to focus on, start to build your audience by first following the customers you are able to accurately identify on each. Doing so will let them know, if they don’t already, that you are active on their favorite social network. When they reciprocate the follow, thank them personally. If you are on Twitter, just remember to @mention them so the action is public and visible to members of their networks. Here’s a quick example:

The Takeaway

One of the main goals of social media for businesses is to reach clients on a personal level with content they find relevant, interesting or valuable. To do this, you don’t have to be everywhere online - you just need to be a part of the networks your customers love the most. Simply ask your customers where they are, and then thank them for letting you be a part of their social news feeds.

About The Author

Paul Haskell

Paul Haskell

Paul Haskell led social strategy at one of the country's largest gourmet food companies, and now offers independent social media consulting for small businesses.