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How to Choose the Best Social Network for Your Audience

I hear it all the time.

“What should we post on Snapchat?”

“Should I be on Pinterest?”

“How about Periscope?”

There are plenty of social media platforms to choose from, and I need to stress the word “choose” here.

Just because a social network exists does not mean that your brand needs to be on it. In fact, spreading yourself too thin can actually hurt your brand.

So how should you decide which network is for you, and which ones are just going to keep you bogged down in the social media jungle?

Social Media Jungle

The answer lies in the demographics, and the need to be authentic.

Let me paint you a scenario.

We recently had a real estate agent reach out to us, explaining that he felt the urge to promote his brand on Periscope. Of course, to find out a bit more about the demographics, we asked which networks he was already participating on, how things were going, and who his target audience was. His response held all the answers (I’m paraphrasing here):

I’m focused on selling to mostly baby-boomers and middle-aged families. Currently, I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with most of my engagement coming from Facebook.

Now that we’ve defined his target demographic, it should be evident that not all social networks should be invested in equally. Periscope, for example, holds a young, content-hungry audience. Three of every four Periscope users are under the age of 35 — not ideal for someone looking to get in front of Baby Boomers. Just 9% of the app’s total users are over age 45.

Periscope Users

With numbers like this, it would be hard to make the case that Periscope is a good option for this particular agent. Facebook would be a much better option. In addition, Facebook Live now offers pages the chance to use its own live-streaming video feature. There are plenty of good options when it comes to choosing a video platform for reaching any demographic — boosting a Facebook Live video to your target demographic comes quickly to mind.

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While Periscope may not work successfully for everyone, there are certain industries that the platform fits better with. The health and fitness, or food industry, for example, would make a much better fit with Periscope. Content that is highly visual, educational, or inspirational will have the best chance of performing well. If you have a Twitter following, your target audience is under 45, and you are in one of these industries, I’d suggest you give it a shot.

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When it comes to Facebook Live, you have more options. Any business can shoot live video easily with Facebook, and no matter what your industry, it’s probably worth your time. Showing behind-the-scenes looks at your office and your products, or simply introducing your employees to your fan base are great ways to make a personal connection with your audience. As mentioned above, the demographics on Facebook are much wider-spread than on Periscope, so feel free to post a video (and jump the algorithm!).

What’s equally important when choosing networks is the amount of time you can devote to each network you choose to participate on.

Potential buyers are using social media as an extension of customer service like never before. Research from JD Power found that roughly 67% of consumers use networks like Facebook and Twitter for customer service. That number has serious implications.

Customer Service Social

If you don’t have the time to use a network for your business, don’t open a profile. Of course you need a presence online, but too many businesses open accounts on each and every platform and then fail to post or respond to customer inquiries. This leaves consumers with the impression that (i.) you’re not savvy online and (ii.) you don’t care about their inquiries. Take the safe road and only open profiles on networks that you update regularly and check in on daily.

It’s vitally important that all businesses in all industries use social media properly, and choosing the right network for both your demographics and your customer service channels is the first step to winning on social media.

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Justin Kerby

Justin Kerby is a Founder and Managing Partner at Cave Social, a digital marketing agency with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Vancouver, and Toronto.

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