The process of picking the right social channel to represent your brand is a tricky project. You can't just jump on the bandwagon and pick all the most popular channels: that's a poor idea, especially for a B2B company with specialized needs. So, how do you pick the right channels? You start with these questions.
1. What Do I Want to Do?
We know – we always start out with this question! But it's a very important one, especially when determing the correct social channel for your B2B. If your goal is, "Connect with younger clients and employees," then your social channel needs will be very different from a goal such as, "Increase our international business contacts." Know what you want to use social media for – not just in a vague, mission statement way, but down to the details of what audience you want, what conversions you need, and what sort of sales you'd ultimately like to see from using the channel.
2. Who Uses This Channel?
When looking at a social media channel, this needs to be one of your first questions. Nothing else matters if you can't reach your target audience. So, who uses which channels? Where are you going to find the most leads and engagement? Study demographic information and see what channels match up. This Pew Research study is a good place to start, but we suggest looking at other data – as well as jumping into a social channel and seeing for yourself who the active users are.
3. What Types of Content Does the Social Channel Favor?
A glance through the various social channels you are considering, and you will probably notice that they tend to favor one type of content over another. LinkedIn is great for news, requests, and discussions – but doesn't really deal much with images. Pinterest is all images and image descriptions, but doesn't do much else (at the moment). Even sites like Facebook are currently favoring images and videos a bit more than text because of the way they engage the Facebook audience. Know what type of content is most popular in a channel, and compare that to your own targeted audience and content marketing plans.
4. Do People Respond on This Channel?
This is particularly important if you want to make new contacts. For example, Snapchat may be great at spreading information or brand awareness among your followers, but you can't really hold a conversation with it (close friends can make it work, business associates not so much). Twitter is good for holding very basic call-and-response talks, but cannot host an in-depth conversation. Facebook encourages comments, but rarely goes into back and forth talks, while online forums are great for dialogue but may be more time consuming. Look at how many people respond, and the nature of their responses: Does it look like something you want a part of?
5. What Sort of Social Circles Do I Need to Join or Create?
Facebook lets you start groups and events, LinkedIn encourages discussion and articles among business contacts, StumbleUpon supports article-sharing groups. Take a look at these features, and see how well they fit with your goals.
6. What Are My Competitors Doing?
Are your competitors monopolizing certain channels? Maybe it's time to give them…some competition. On the other hand, maybe there are certain channels where your target audience is waiting but you see no sign of competitors – it's time to take advantage of that!
7. How Much Work Can We Handle?
Take a look at your resources and time management before you make your final channel decisions. You don't want to adopt too many high-maintenance channels and find yourself overworked – that's how content quality and engagement drop.
8. Is This Channel Fun for Me and My Brand?
Don't put "fun" off the list entirely. The more fun it is to interact on a channel, the better your content, engagement and conversions will be: It's a more important metric than you might think!