Is it really necessary for a company to be on all social media platforms? Probably not. Spreading internal resources too thinly across multiple channels, there is obviously a risk that none of the channels develop into a truly effective sales and marketing tool. And as social platforms are not the only channels to pursue, the trick is not to be everywhere but to make a smart selection.
Any company needs a digital media strategy taking both web site, social media, and other digital channels such as e-mail and newsletters into account. However, for most companies it’s not really necessary to be present in all of these channels. Quoting Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Evangelist and Founder of the Content Marketing Institute:
Pulizzi adds a few examples to clarify his point: ”The Wall Street Journal – print (newspaper), TED Talks – in person (events), The Huffington Post – online (magazine),” Etc.
Recognizing that it’s hard to be inspired and witty as a social media manager every day (see my last blog), it’s recommended to make some analysis before selecting which and how many channels to prioritize for active content/channel management. It will depend on the size of the market, the size and positioning of the company, the line of business, the capacity to keep content coming, Etc. I’d suggest to start looking at:
- Which channels will reach and attract your target audience?
- Which one will fit your content formats, or to what channel formats can your content be adapted?
- Which ones will allow you to control the content?
Starting with the target audience, a general approach to select the right channels is to look at the context in which your product/offering will be valuable to people. Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, for instance, tend to be platforms where people talk to their friends in a rather relaxed leisure mode, while people tend to use LinkedIn for professional purposes and Twitter to stay updated both on news in general and news related to one’s special interests. Hence, if you’re running a dinner restaurant you should probably glance towards the ‘leisure’ channels, while if you’re marketing heavy industrial machines you should probably first consider LinkedIn or Twitter.
That said, depending on your goals for your social media presence, you might want to do the exact opposite! A B2B company aiming to build a more personal brand might want to look at Facebook just because it could reach the clients in their spare time, using a relaxed tone of voice. Posting a Saturday snapshot of a truck could be just right for the client relation, so analyze the channel’s potential to add customer value before a decision is made.
Next is to consider your content – both in terms of tone of voice and in terms of format. As a rule of thumb, images and multimedia earn better engagement in social than pure text, but it’s also true that text articles with a relevant message, or a snappy headline linking to an interesting report, will grab attention when reaching the right audience.
Look at the channels again: Consider where your current content formats would work the best, and also evaluate if you could adapt current content to fit even better to an interesting channel’s characteristics. Going for Instagram, maybe today’s menu could be shown in colour photo rather than just as a link to your website? In a business-focused channel maybe a senior expert could be interviewed to tell the story via video or podcast*, as a complement to the pdf version? Based on this analysis – target group and content potential – you should have a pretty good idea of what social platforms would be cost-effective for your company. And these are the ones to prioritize. As simple as that.
But then there is the control….
“…but social is about losing control!” Yes it is – comments and likes are cornerstone features of social media and shareability of the posts is key to success. But as a company you don’t want to be entirely in the hands of 3rd-party platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube, as they could change the rules to your disadvantage at any time. A company’s main asset online is the follower base. Therefore, some channel(s) in the mix should be truly owned and controlled by the company itself. The obvious one is the company webpage, but as it might be hard to generate engagement on a company webpage, a blog or an e-mail newsletter is worth considering. On such platforms, the company keeps control over the content and can create a long-term relation to its clients e.g. through subscriptions.
Hence, a smart mix of channels is usually needed to get optimal effect, rather than an ”everywhere” approach. Company-controlled channels such as web page and newsletter give the desired control over the content, while social 3rd-party platforms both provide an opportunity to address new followers and to actively engage in the continuous flow of information and conversation related to the company’s business. Only make sure not to include more channels in the mix than your team can manage.
My point being: You don’t need to be everywhere. You need to be good.
*Extra info which I just couldn’t leave out: Currently only some 10% of marketeers are involved with podcasting, according to Social Media Examiner’s 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, so maybe you could take the lead by launching an industry-first podcast?