Diving Deep, Not Wide, Into Social Media

Social media has provided a lot of opportunities for businesses to promote themselves. Maybe too many opportunities. Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube . . . how does one choose which platforms to jump into and which ones to leave alone?

Often the inclination is to dip your toes into as many social media pools as possible. However, after a few weeks or months of this, it can become exhausting, overwhelming and inevitably certain platforms will become abandoned, leaving users there to wonder if you're still around at all.

When it comes to our social media clients, we always give the advice to "go deep, not wide." What do we mean by this? We mean choose the platforms that are most critical for your business, preferably two to three, and then go all-in. 

The first step to figure out which platforms to commit to is to consider the audience for each. 
This kind of information has become so important for businesses that the Pew Research Center reports on user statistics by social platform. This research even breaks down users by age range, income level, and race. When looking at this information, consider both your existing clients as well as your perfect, potential customer. Speaking only to your current audience will never get you new business. Do you need to be speaking to a younger customer, a higher income customer or a more diverse audience? Consider those factors when researching user statistics. 

Another thing to consider when choosing platforms is figuring out where your competition is crushing it. If your direct competition has thousands of Facebook followers but no Twitter page, take note. Are they doing this for good reason or are they missing out on a wealth of potential followers that you can now speak to with less competition?

The ideal amount of platforms for a small business managing their own social media is two to three. A few minutes a day on each platform will really have a huge impact. However, if you have a full time marketing person or if you're outsourcing your social media management, you may consider expanding to four or five platforms, but five is really plenty for most companies. 

Once you've determined the platforms that make the most sense for you, the next step is knowing when to post. 
Posting the same post at the same time on every platform is not the most efficient way to share your content. Different platforms peak at different times and days. This post on coschedule.com breaks this down beautifully, compiling research from at least ten different sources. Don't want to worry about being online and posting at all of those specific times? Consider using a social media scheduling tool such as hootsuite

Finally, analyze your results.
You did your research on the front end, but if you don't analyze your real-life results, you're missing out on critical information. Platforms like Facebook give you tons of analytics for free that you should definitely dive deep into. Check your insights there often and take a hard look at the demographics of your followers. Are you reaching the people you were hoping to reach? How can you shift or change to make sure you're talking to your ideal customer. 

Other social platforms do not give you as in-depth analysis tools (at least for free) but there are third party websites and software you can use to get better information. Each platform will give you basic information such as how many likes, views, retweet or pins a post gets, so take a hard look at that information and keep track of it in some way, either with a spreadsheet or monthly report. Not seeing the retweets you'd like to? Experiment. Try posting at a different time or on a different day. Just because statistics say your audience should be online at a certain time doesn't necessarily mean they will be. It's worth playing around with until you find your customer niche. 

No matter what platforms you use and when you use them - remember to go dive deep into the ones that matter, rather than just dipping your toes into too many places you don't need to be.