How do you choose the right social media platform for your business?
You don’t want spend your valuable time feeding the social media beast by making post after post after post, not sure if you’re making a real impact.
Good news: I have a smart way to compare your options so you can choose the right social media platform for your business goals.
I like to put social media platforms into two main categories: stream-based and search-based. Here’s what that means.
Stream-based social platforms
Stream-based social media platforms work like this: You post something on a platform and it moves down a stream that is always flowing. These platforms are designed to hook users into logging in frequently to see what’s new on the platform.
A positive aspect of a stream-based platform is that people see it as truly social. There’s an ongoing flow of new content, that often feels like a real-life conversation.
Stream-based social media platforms come with one big negative — your content quickly disappears from people’s consciousness.
Stream-based platforms include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok.
Since it’s a moving stream of content, your goal on these platforms is to make your content stand out and grab attention fast.
Search-based social platforms
Search-based social media platforms are primarily places where people go to find a solution to a challenge.
Search-based platforms have aspects of the stream-based platforms, with the ability to add comments and have a conversation, but the primary interaction most often starts with a search.
Search based-social platforms include YouTube and Pinterest.
The major advantage of a search-based platform is that your content can continue to be surfaced for years to come.
I have videos on my YouTube channel that I made 11 years ago —and they still get views! I can’t say that about anything that I ever posted on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel to see all my videos, hot off the digital press!
Lots of folks would say that YouTube and Pinterest aren’t true social platforms, and I agree. That’s because they lead with search. But I’m including them because each has social aspects.
Neither of these types of platforms — stream-based or search-based — is better than the other. But if you’re trying to choose the right social media platform for your business, it’s important to understand the difference.
Once you have your content marketing strategy in place, it’s smart to consider having one stream-based and one search-based social platform working for your business.
Related: Content Marketing Strategy: How to Share Your Valuable Expertise
Decision time — choose the right social media platform for your business
You may have chosen a social platform already, but if you haven’t yet, I recommend that you choose one platform to start.
As you’re making your decision, remember: choose the right social media platform for your business according to your goals. Large follower numbers don’t necessarily equal revenue!
There are lots of online business owners that have healthy audiences — but they haven’t figured out how to turn those followers and subscribers into paying customers.
Every social media strategy should keep your business goals in mind.
How to choose the right social media platform for your business
Think about where your audience might be spending time. Do some research, and then pick the platform where you think you can best connect with them.
Before you dive in, do a little research about the kind of content that works on the platform you want to try. Every social platform has its own set of rules, and it takes time to understand what’s going to work on each platform.
Learning how a social media platform works is difficult if you’re juggling more than one at a time. So I recommend that you stick to one to start and master it. Then consider adding another platform.
Once you’ve chosen a platform, it’s time to create content that will help to grow your business.
The “intellectual” way to create content for social
The social media marketing tips I’m about to share might be a little different than what you’ve heard in the past.
Think of your social content as intellectual property.
You can create a core piece of content on your chosen social platform. Then you can increase your reach by repurposing your content across channels.
Here’s an example: I write detailed social posts and put them on Facebook, on my personal profile. Based on the thinking that goes into those social posts, I often create a video to share the concepts on my YouTube channel.
Based on those YouTube videos, we generate blog posts that are published here on my site.
And based on the same concept, I often create an email for my list — and when you do this, remember email best practices still apply!
So you can see how one piece of core content can be turned into multiple pieces of content and used across many platforms.
Taking your social content seriously and thinking about it like intellectual property — where you do some of your best thinking — will help you to create social content that is genuinely useful to your followers.
Related: Repurposing Content: 5 Simple Ways to Get Remarkable Reach
Choose the right social media platform for your business by conducting an experiment
Want to be sure you know how to choose the right social media platform for your business? I recommend that you run an experiment.
Pick a social platform and put a beginning and an end date on your experiment. Then go all in.
Let’s say your experiment will last two months. The time frame is up to you, but two months is a pretty good test.
Going all in means you don’t just post once a week. (That’s a half-hearted attempt!) Consider posting several times a week at least.
Then watch your engagement carefully. If you see engagement going up, and you notice that people who engage become your customers, keep it up.
At the end of your experiment, you can make a decision about whether you’ll continue on that platform or you’ll look for one that’s a better fit.
Social media isn’t just for “the kids”
Finally, I want to say a word to my fellow midlife, mid-career readers who are asking, “How can I make money online?”. It can be tough to show up on social media when you feel like 90% of the people there are dramatically younger than you.
I get it.
Here’s some encouragement, based on firsthand experience:
Show up on social media as who you are. Recognize that you have valuable expertise to share.
All those younger people want to grow up to be as smart as you. Use your social platform to show them how it’s done!
And of course, choose the right social media platform for your business to reach your ideal customers.
If I can fire up my YouTube channel at 57 and start making weekly videos, you can show up on social media too.
You’ve got this!
Now that you know how to choose the right social media platform for your business, you might be wondering how to create all that content.
Check out my article: How to Make Content Marketing Fun (and Much Easier)