How to choose the right social media mix for your business is something small business owners often ask. The most common misconception is that for a small business to thrive and grow, it needs to have a presence on ALL social media platforms, all the time.  As you can imagine, this way of thinking can be a source of great pressure for many new business owners!  

We asked Lauren Hamilton, Founder of Sydney Agency Digital Narrative, to share her thoughts on how small businesses can choose the right social media mix for their marketing strategy. Read on to hear Lauren’s insights.

How hard can it be?  It’s just Social Media…

Many hours of skilled work per week are necessary to create enough quality content to fill multiple social channels.  This is without accounting for the hours spent on community management – responding to messages and comments – or on engagement tasks.  In short, it’s unfortunately not something you can really do in 15 minutes on the sofa at the end of a long day, with a glass of wine in hand.

Many small business owners choose to outsource their social media management as a result, however this comes with a steep, often prohibitive price tag.  Others try to do everything themselves, ending up with poor quality content duplicated across all platforms, and poor engagement metrics which damage their account ratings. 

There is, however, a third path.  One which I recommend in most instances to my small business clients.  And, it takes us right back to Marketing 101…

The Who & The What

Not to get on my (well-worn) soapbox here, but Digital Marketing has two words in it – digital, and of course, marketing.  Many people these days forget the marketing part, and go with the theory that if you throw enough mud at digital targets – mainly social media platforms – it will stick.  And sure, some of the mud will stick, but without a solid marketing strategy behind your efforts, a great deal of that mud will miss the mark, hit someone who hates mud, or go unnoticed all together.

The key to getting your digital marketing – and by extension, your social media mix – right, is a deep, nuanced understanding of your target audience.

Who are you looking to reach?  You’ll be able to mount a more effective campaign if you know who is most likely to buy from you, and what their life looks like.  Once you’ve determined the Who, you need to work out the WhatWhat is their problem, their need, their ‘lack’ which your product or service solves or soothes better than ANY other brand can?  Insight into your target audience’s pain-point and how you can make it go away is the backbone of consumer insight, which in itself is a core tenet of marketing.  Finally, Where are these people?  Where are they in the real world, and of course… Where are they online?

The Where (and Which Channels are the Most Popular)

Contrary to popular belief, Facebook remains at the top of the social media pile with 2.91 billion users.  YouTube follows closely with 2.29 billion, with Instagram at 1.28 billion and TikTok with 732 million.  To see where other channels rank, this list is handy.

For a small business, however, it’s more important to know Where your target audience is than where the whole world is.  This is the key to choosing your social media mix.  If they’re heavy Facebook users (typically women 35-65), then focus your attention there. In 2021, this doesn’t mean simply pumping out the feed posts – it means operating across posts, stories, ads, groups and all different facets of Facebook.  You may choose to duplicate content across additional, complimentary platforms (for e.g. Instagram or Pinterest) but ensure most of your effort goes into your primary social channel.  

If your target audience is young, look at emerging and trending platforms such as TikTok.  This platform is especially excellent for brands which have good video content, a strong personal branding component (i.e. a ‘face’ of the brand) and owners with a good amount of courage!  Again, this doesn’t mean you don’t use other channels, but prioritise your core channel and create content with it in mind.

And finally, the How.

Once you’ve got a solid grip on the Who, What and Where, it’s time to move onto the How.  By this, I mean How do you speak to them on social media in a way they’ll not just be receptive to, but LOVE and look out for?  It’s no mean feat, but it comes back (again) to consumer insight.  Put yourself in your audience’s shoes.  What would float their boats?  Why did they follow you in the first place?  What will they want to share with their friends?  Reproduce the type of content which earned you likes and comments in the past.  Ensure plenty of video is included – it is proven to be the strongest performer across all platforms.

And, always remember this:

Don’t post what you want your audience to know.  Post what they want to see.  

By flipping your way of thinking on its head like this and choosing the right social media mix for your business, you’ll improve the efficiency of your digital marketing and create a strong, loyal community to support your business as it grows. However, if the reality is that it is just all too daunting and you have more important things to do in your business, then outsource social media management to someone that has the time, expertise and most importantly, the passion for it.

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