How to Select the Best Social Media Platform For You

I never really understood social media when I was younger. I was born in the first year of the generation now know known as millennials. And I spent most of my young life as something you could describe as enthusiastically awkward. It didn’t take me long to discover that technology was one of the safer (seriously) ways for me to meet new people and make friends.

I was getting into traditional marketing about the time Facebook came on the scene and I avoided it fiercely for years, mainly because thought it absurd that a website would demand that you register as your offline self. Anonymity was safer and much more fun. I know how absurd that sounds now, but my experience being online in the 2000s was much less intense and extreme than it is now.

Even once I was in, I was largely inactive. Just posting every few days for a month, then only every few weeks for the next three months. But, it did allow me the freedom to study it as an object outside of myself. I was fascinated by how people started to augment their businesses until ultimately they began to build entire businesses on Facebook alone.

Around this time I started being asked by friends and associates how to get into social media marketing, and while I had never had practice, I had a good library of bookmarked studies, guides, and books. Slowly, I started working with social media from a strategic perspective. It was some of the most exciting work I have ever done. Those experiments cemented in me a passion for connecting ideas with people through consistent and authentic conversation and content. What’s great about social media is how fun and enlightening and empowering it is, and what sucks is that it rewards negativity and outrage, sells our attention to advertisers, and makes us less happy the more we use it.

But there is not a near term solution on the horizon, so we are faced with the question of how can we use Social Media in a way that is optimized for the message we want to share and the audience we want to reach. We will continue to share information and ideas in these forums of the mind the same way we have in town squares, pubs, church and coffee shops for the last several centuries, at least until we come up with something better.

For those of you who cut your teeth on old-school SEO, you may be tempted to dismiss this article as another millennial droning on about how “everything” happens on social media today. Rather than try to change your mind, I want to reframe all of this amazing work you do as an SEO or marketer as a unique opportunity.

How Social Media Works (A Sarcastic Guide)

If you look around social media, a few things become very obvious very quickly.

The social media landscape is a shallow, shitty fireswamp where nearly a over 3 billion people post close to a billion times per day. Posting, that’s all held together by a dozen billionaires deeply invested in stealing people’s attention for as little as possible and selling it to advertisers for as much as possible.

Almost everyone knows this, hates it, and slogs through it because it’s the new normal world we have created for ourselves.

As a result, it is a unique and exciting day when real, valuable, content crosses their feed.

We scroll through social media feeds looking for something that is going to break our brains, and this desire is the unique opportunity I mentioned before. Creating compelling and consistent social media content can serve to increase your business success in at least two ways.

  1. It increases your visibility (exposure in marketing terms) so that when someone comes across you in future (seven exposures per conversion is a good rule of thumb here) they recognize you and remember the good things. (your brain breaking content)
  2. Your badass content is a life preserver. It gives them a brief opportunity to stop drowning in “the scroll” long enough to get real, measurable, and memorable value out of your posts.

And you might be saying: “Screw that! I’m not here to save people from themselves, I just want to run a smart business and retire happy!” First off, Dear Reader, don’t be an asshole. Geez… Why? Because you want to work with companies that treat you like a valuable human being and your clients want the same things you do.

Second, you don’t have to get sucked down the hole of social media marketing for social sharing to have a profound and demonstrable effect on your business. In this article, we are going to go through the process selecting your best social media platform. In later articles we will discuss posting strategies, optimizing your pages, and finally, automating the process so that your awesome content is shaping opinions and attracting customers to you while you sleep.

The One Social Thing

When my partner and founder Ray Blakney and I first discussed working together on this extraordinary framework, I charged in with a decade of social media management and research experience. I was firing away with a hundred and one questions about which social media channels he wanted to use and how to exploit them for greatest benefit. And Ray (bless his crazy face) shut me down hard. He insisted to me that it was simply unfeasible to cross train his team effectively on six different platforms in any reasonable amount of time.

At the time I’ll admit to being quite disappointed and I’m not sure I totally believed Ray, but looking back I see how right he was.

In some organizations, you may already have a team of social media experts ready to create a managed and structured deployment plan that you can track, analyze and optimize in less than a few weeks. But for most of you reading this article, I would bet my right foot that you could count your entire marketing team on one hand. You might still be able to count them if you tragically lost that hand in an unforeseen encounter with a woodchipper accidentally imbued with artificial intelligence.

And it’s because we run these organizations lean that experience and momentum is such an important part of the Infinite Upcycle. It’s a million times easier to add twitter into your mix after you have three to six months of mastering Facebook or Instagram or Tik-Tok. Part of what makes this system so successful, is the measurable and dependable fact that mastering the process produces better outcomes than focusing on micro-metrics.

So as we go through these next sections on selecting the social media platforms best suited for your business, I want you to do one seemingly simply hard thing.

Pick One Focus Platform

One of the biggest objectives in our search is to maximize social conversions while protecting you from attention traps that don’t deliver adequate returns for your business. Focusing on one platform will teach you how to engage your social media audience without falling victim to noise. You will still post on 3-5 other networks (yeah automation), but not with the same attention to detail that you will spend optimizing for your focus platform. If this feels weird to you, just go with it, and be comforted knowing that every major platform has hundreds of millions of avid fans. Focusing on one group of hundreds of millions can support your efforts just fine for now.

Selecting a Focus Platform

Power to the people! There is just something magical about spending your effort to improve the lives of others. It doesn’t matter if you sell luxury cars or lawn care, there is something special about creating something of value for your fellow man. Previously, we discussed the importance of knowing who you are talking to when writing your content and creating your posts. These same questions are going to be your starting place for selecting your ideal social media platform.

There are over 3.7 billion people on over two hundred social media platforms. That amounts to a worldwide adoption rate of over forty-five percent. The adoption rate in the US alone is over seventy percent and we aren’t even close to the highest adoption rate.

With the average social media user having eight social media accounts, it’s vital that their experience with your brand is consistent wherever they find you. This is why you spent that time designing post templates for all of your social media platforms that incorporated your company information, colors and fonts. But to save your sanity and maybe even the world, you are going to need to pick the best one for you.

Which channels does your target audience use?

This is definitely the most important question to answer about social media use. Successful marketing is all about delivering value where your ideal prospect is already spending their time. That’s why the Infinite Upcycle focuses on SERPs (search engine result pages) because ninety-five percent of people spend time on the front page of google.

Social media, on the other hand, is much more diverse. Catering to distinct segments of the population and designed to maximize different types of media sharing, discovering your audience’s favorite online home will make all the difference in your efforts.

In this step, you should reference your target audience worksheet on page (XXX) and use it as a guide. You can find an excellent guide to platform demographics at khoros.com

But you can find out the statistics for almost any platform by searching on Google for: {Social Platform Name}+ Usage Demographics

I walked a prospective Upcycler though this phase of the process. For Delilah, her research questions come out looking something like this.

“What channels is does your target audience use?”

  • My audience is 30-55 and interested in clear, soft skin that glows naturally without the use of harsh chemicals.
  • More than 80% of these women hangout on Facebook. She first suspected Instagram and YouTube, which are both powerhouses but tend to cater to younger women demographically.
  • They spend more than twenty minutes a day scrolling their feed, and over two-thirds do so from their smartphone.

What kind of content do you plan to create?

Will it be more of image-based content, blog post links, audio snippets, or video content?

Many social media experts would recommend a mixture of these posts, and they are right. But the in the Infinite Upcycle, social shares serve the content, not the other way around. So while a mix may be ideal, you still should look at what media your producing and use that to inform your research for a single focus platform.

This is the second most important question you’ll answer today. Because once you know the places your audience hangs out, the next question becomes: Do they go to that platform to purposefully engage with content like yours?

Here is a brief list of popular platforms and the content most consumed on them. This is aggregated from several social analytics studies. Please links for further reading.

Blog articles: https://www.quicksprout.com/social-media-marketing-for-bloggers/

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Medium
  • reddit

Image rich content/Infographics: https://buffer.com/library/social-media-sites

  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • tumblr
  • Imgur
  • Slideshare
  • Reddit

Audio Snippets: https://buffer.com/library/promote-a-podcast

  • Tiktok
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Video: https://www.freemake.com/blog/top-7-free-video-sharing-sites/

  • Youtube
  • Tiktok
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Vimeo
  • Daily Motion
  • reddit
  • metacafe

How are my competitors using this platform?

Before you lock down your choice for social media platform, do a little bit of competitive research. It’s highly unlikely you are the first person in your industry to invest in this platform. So who else is there now? Who is doing well? Who is just going through the motions? Does it cater to small businesses or just big brands? Take your time, take notes, repurpose their strengths into your superpower and their weaknesses into your strengths.

What is unique about this platform?

While direct sharing to these sites should be largely automated, each one has unique quirks of operation that can empower your efforts if you pay attention. You will share differently on Facebook vs Pinterest, and it’s important that you know why. In related articles, we will discuss the unique features for several of the major platforms, but a quick google search of “why is {platform} unique/ so popular?” will help you get some insight for more niche pursuits.

How much time is needed to have an impact on this platform?

This is the hardest question to answer here, because if it was easy, everyone would already be a social media influencer. Rather than give you numbers that may be dramatically out of date by the time you read this, I will simply share our observed results.

Between Ray, Myself and our team of cyclenauts, we saw a social media comments/following growth rate of between three and five percent every time we ran through the Infinite Upcycle. Your results may be faster or slower depending on the platform and your current number of followers, But if you have a hundred engaged Facebook followers, you should be aiming for one hundred and five after your first cycle and one hundred and eleven after the next.

These linear gains are often compounded drastically when one of your content cycles hits the jackpot and “Goes Viral.” After that, the cumulative gains tend to progress along a hockey stick style curve even though the amount of effort you spend to find and keep those followers hasn’t changed at all!

💥Note: There are thousands of ways to increase engagement and following on social media. But for the same reasons we aren’t recommending you mastering multiple platforms simultaneously, we want to encourage you to leave the follower race alone. While there are significant benefits to large followings, followers are not a substitute for sales and likes will never fill your email funnel. Stay focused on providing value and building authority, it’s worth it.

Special Considerations for B2B

I love shopping (Ray hates it), I love just browsing through the web, looking at all the cool things people create to add value to my life and their own. Because I am aware of this shopper’s personality, I am also the kind of person who does what my accountant says, because otherwise the impulses would fill my house with crazy shit I never used but that had looked so shiny on my screen.

However, that personality comes to a screeching halt when somebody begins PAYING me to do the shopping. All of a sudden, I care about every cent, I am on the phone with sales reps, engineers, and other team members working my ass off to make sure that this moment of trust is rewarded with my absolute best research, expertise and decision making.

And my story is not uncommon. This is actually one of the fundamental shifts between marketing to consumers (B2C) and marketing to businesses (B2B). If you target businesses, your target audience is paid to be skeptical, to ask hard questions, to research their butts off so that they minimize the possibility of buyers remorse. Of course there are those executives and managers who are imprudent or even wasteful. However, most employees burdened with the responsibility of business purchases are seeking to maximise value and tend to build longer relationships than consumers. They think this way because it’s much harder to undo a year of integration with a six-figure automation platform than it is to return some crappy face cream.

In B2B marketing there are several platforms that promote the kind of critical thinking, curiosity and peer review that make up the global corporate audience. The list that follows is a prioritized list of social media platforms based on their share of B2B clientele. Use the list to find B2B answers for the questions posed above. (I.e. find where your corporate audience is, and if they consume your content here etc.)

  • Linkedin
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Facebook
  • Slideshare
  • Quora
  • Medium
  • Reddit

Conclusion

When you are developing your marketing cycles, it’s tempting to blast as wide as possible. While you have lots of ways to do that, it’s also important to spend some time investing in the best social media platform for you. This means asking questions about who you want to reach and what kind of content you intend to reach them with.

If you want to shortcut your research, we compiled a detailed dossier on the major social media networks, shoot us an email and we will give you a copy of ours to assist in your efforts.

I’m curious though, what is Your Favorite platform to market on? Why do you like it? And what’s missing from the experience?

Live Wise and Prosper