With so many social networks out there, have you ever wondered which social media channels you should focus on? I mean there’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Periscope, SnapChat, etc.
So how do you figure out which one is the best for your business? What’s the next big thing you should focus on?
In this article, I will help you answer that question by guiding you through my four step guide because it’s DIFFERENT for every business and industry.
What’s the Next Big Social Network?
I didn’t write a blog post last week because I was attending the Traffic and Conversion Conference in San Diego. My friend, Gary Vaynerchuk, delivered an amazing keynote about social media and building a brand.
If you took it literally, then the entire keynote was about how much Gary loves Snapchat and why it’s the next big thing.
However if you extract the message, it was about finding ways to leverage newer platforms such as Snapchat before everyone else gets there.
Which is something you should definitely do if you have the resources, but as a small business owner you usually don’t. That’s why you need to be smart about your time and resources.
So, do I agree Snapchat is the next big thing? It probably is, but you really shouldn’t care right now unless you’re a social media agency or someone who’s targeting millennials.
In my opinion, you should focus on what’s working right now to grow your business, so you can invest in what will be the next big thing later.
Which Social Network Should You Focus On?
While I believe there are several different indicators that you can use to choose your social networks, I believe the following four steps will definitely help you find out where your target audience is.
1. Define Your Target Audience
If your audience is everyone, then it’s likely that you don’t have an audience.
You need to define your target audience by breaking them down into different interest groups also known as customer avatars or buyer personas.
Once you know exactly who your target audience is, then you need to find where do they hang out.
For example, if you’re targeting teenagers, then the best place for you to be right now is Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine.
If you’re looking to target professionals, then you should be on LinkedIn and Facebook.
2. Ask Your Existing Customers
One of the easiest ways to find out where your customers are hanging out is by simply asking them.
You can do this when you meet them in person or through an anonymous survey. You can use a tool like SurveyMonkey or PollDaddy.
I did a recent survey on WPBeginner and 77% of the readers said they use Facebook at least once a week, out of which 46% use it daily and 14% use it hourly.
Whereas only 45% use Twitter at least once a week and 25% said they never use Twitter at all (WOW).
What was really cool to see was that 53% of my audience uses YouTube at least once a week which gives me even more reasons to produce video tutorials on YouTube. We’ve already passed 3.2 million video views on the WPBeginner YouTube Channel.
Doing an audience census survey annually gives you an idea of what you should be focusing on. I’ll definitely be doubling down my efforts on Facebook.
3. Use Social Share Data
Another clear indicator of the social network you should be focusing on is your social share counts.
You’ll very likely see certain networks will generate more shares and engagement than others.
Instead of trying to improve the others, you should really double down your efforts on the ones that are performing the best.
4. Competitor and Industry Research
If you are new in your industry, then it’s very likely that you don’t have enough social share data or the customers to ask.
Regardless of whether you’re new or not, doing industry research is a great way to finding which social networks perform the best.
One of the tools that I absolutely love using is BuzzSumo.
You can simply type any keyword or domain in there, and it will show you the top articles in the past month or six months with the share counts breakdown of each network.
The cool part about BuzzSumo is that it also lets you see the top influencers sharing that particular article, so you can engage with them directly.
Which Social Network Will I Be Focusing on in 2016?
My primary focus in 2016 will be Facebook. Because over a billion people hang out there, and the Facebook advertising platform is well-established.
I’ll continue to build up my YouTube presence and invest more in videos because it’ll be silly for anyone to ignore the second largest search engine in the world which is owned by the first largest search engine.
I feel that Snapchat will add an advertising platform later in the year, but until that time I’m really not going to be focusing there because there’s just so much value that can be extracted from the others platforms I mentioned above.
My advice to you is: don’t just chase after every new platform that you hear about. Instead, do proper market research because it’ll save you from wasting time and money.
I hope this article helped you determine which social media network you should be focusing on.
This post originally appeared on SyedBalkhi.com, and is re-published with permission.
Featured Image: Image by Syed Balkhi
Screenshot by Syed Balkhi. Taken February 2016.