It’s all well and good for me to preach to you about how important it is to properly manage and moderate your brand’s social media pages, to warn you of online risks and to explain which methods of moderation will be most effective, but the very first thing all brands must consider before going online is which social networks they should actually be using.
It can be daunting for businesses to first dip their toes in the gargantuan ocean of information that is the internet – and understandably so. Taking your company online for the whole world to see (and to judge) does pose risks and this is why it’s important to think carefully before taking the plunge.
It makes no sense to invest time and money in a social channel that simply doesn’t suit your business or your target market. So before you start thinking about how best to protect your social media pages, let’s take a look at which social network is best for your brand.
Don’t just dive in to social media; take the time to consider these three simple questions:
- Who are you?
What your business does and what industry you are in greatly affects which social platforms are best for your brand. While some companies may want to spread the message about a service they provide, others may have products to sell. Some industries have social networks specifically for certain sectors – perfect for niche markets – but are you the type of brand that aims to reach a particular audience or send your message global by shouting it from the social media rooftops? Working out who you are is the first step to figuring out what you need.
- Who are your customers?
Working out who your customers are is vital when choosing which social networks to focus your attention on. It’s pointless having a product for kids and teens and using a site aimed at older professionals because your target audience simply won’t see it, meaning they won’t know about you and as a result won’t buy your product. Looking at customer demographics will prove a huge help when making this important decision – see where your customers are and go there.
- What do you want?
It sounds simple enough, but what do you actually hope to get from using social media? You may just want increased exposure, and that’s fine, but it’s important to be aware that using social networks opens up new lines of communication with your customers. Brands who truly embrace the increased engagement they get from social media find it the most beneficial because they don’t just get their name out there; they build up such positive sentiment by interacting with their customers that they also create a fantastic brand image. Do you want customer feedback? A way of better communicating with and understanding your target market? If you work out what you want from social media it will be much easier to choose the sites that will deliver that to you. Don’t just do it because everyone else seems to be doing it – work out what your own individual reasons are so that you can harness the power of social networks to give you exactly what you want.
Now that you’ve asked yourself these questions you should be in a much better position to select or discount different social networks. Here’s a list of the main ones to help you on your way…
Most businesses use Facebook these days. It has more users by far than any other social network, with 71% of internet users using the site. The demographic of its users is also one of the widest, making it a good place to target just about any market.
Facebook tends to have a firm sense of community, with users joining groups to share common interests with people from all over the world. Facebook pages require regular updating in order to garner engagement and responses to customer queries require prompt responses if sentiment is not to suffer.Twitter
About 18% of internet users have Twitter accounts but the site continues to grow in popularity every day. At the moment Twitter is most popular with users under 50 years old and it works well on a larger scale, making it great for businesses looking to target a particularly broad audience.
It's worth bearing in mind that Twitter is by far the most instantaneous social platform out there. This means users expect almost immediate responses when they contact a company using Twitter. This, coupled with the fact that posts are very much 'in the moment' and therefore need updating regularly, makes Twitter perhaps the most high-maintenance social network from a brand's perspective.
Instagram has a younger demographic than Facebook and Twitter. This site has a strong focus on images and boasts particularly high levels of engagement from its younger users. The visual nature of Instagram makes it ideal for brands with tangible products to sell. Pictures can be posted to gather customer feedback, which can prove extremely valuable when launching a new product.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site and is therefore most popular with users in their late twenties and over. This is much less social and more career driven than other networks but adding your brand to the site and using it to make business contacts can prove extremely beneficial to companies looking to broaden their horizons.
Users don't tend to use LinedIn for queries so it's acceptable for response times to be slower than on Facebook and Twitter. Engagement here is more B2B than B2C but it can be a great way to run ideas past people in your profession or industry.
At the moment the main benefit of using Google+ is the boost to SEO it gives. I’m not going to beat around the bush, it doesn’t have many users compared to the other social media sites but it will undoubtedly continue to grow in popularity so it’d be beneficial to be a part of it and ensure your business already has an established Google+ presence when it does eventually take off.
Google+ hasn't yet developed a fast-paced interactive community so super speedy replies aren't a necessity. However, it's always impressive to users if they get a fast response from a company on any social network - it makes the brand look professional, slick and respectful of its customers.
Pinterest, like Instagram is ideal for brands with tangible products to sell. Its image-heavy approach to social media is great for posting eye-catching pictures of your products to get them maximum exposure. Just as with Instagram, posting images on Pinterest is a great way to get useful customer feedback.
These are just a few of the major social networks available to you but this will hopefully serve as a good starting point for you when thinking about taking your brand online. However, there is one more thing…
Don’t forget to be prepared!
Creating social media pages for your brand is a fantastic and exciting move that can open up a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities for your company, but you need to be ready to cope with all that comes with it.
It’s vital to your online success that your pages are properly moderated and managed, otherwise they could do more harm than good to your brand’s reputation. Make sure you have a moderation solution in place to create a positive online environment for your customers to use. The more users you attract, the more successful the pages will be, however, as your online presence grows so do the risks.
Make sure you have a scalable method of online brand protection for spam removal, eradication of trolls and the ability to give customers a top-notch social customer service experience. By doing this you will ensure that your protection will grow at the same rate as your brand and the online risks it faces, so that you're always fully protected. Moderation company Crisp Thinking supports all major social channels, 24/7 in more than 50 languages, so for more information and advice about 24/7 social media moderation services and social media management solutions, contact us for a chat and we can help you get the most out of whichever social media channels you choose to use.