Social media is incredible for business owners, but choosing the right social channel can be complicated. Do you need an Instagram profile? Should you get in on Snapchat and Periscope before they get too big? Should you have Facebook and Twitter, or should you just choose one? How do you know where to direct your time and resources for the greatest ROI?

I have written this guide to help businesses choose the correct social channels. If you have the resources to run several social media channels, feel free. But if you’re getting started, I suggest you start with one social media channel.

Once you have chosen you social channel of choice, you must be active, engaged and consistently put out quality content. Without giving it your best, you won’t succeed.

A lot of business I speak with forget that every social media network is different. This means each channel requires different content, different engagement, and different activity. Once you start to gain momentum, use that channel to learn more about the content your audience loves.

Start with Facebook

Facebook has more active users than any other social media network by a landslide. Plus the data Facebook provides on it’s users is more sophisticated than any other social channel. Facebook is making it easier to gain insights about your audience (age, location, interests and much more). As well as the ability to use those insights to reach users with targeted ads.

Hang out at the same places as your customers

In order to do this, you must know exactly who your target audience is and what they care about. If you’re not sure, create a competitor/peer report. Look at your top competitors or even non-competitors who share the same target audience as you. Then look at where they invest their resources online. What social channels are they on? Are they active on multiple social media channels? and Where are they getting the most engagement?

Ask yourself, “What is my real goal?”

While the end goal of every business is to generate revenue, different brands have different goals for their social media strategy. For example, your goal may be conversion-based. Determining your purpose will help you choose the channel that works best for you.

Choose a platform which you enjoy using

It can take time to gain momentum on social media, no matter what network you choose. When you’re choosing a social media platform in which to invest time and resources, you’re looking for something to use for the long haul. That’s why it’s best to pick one that you enjoying using.

Do what you’re good at

There’s not much point using YouTube if you produce low quality videos. No point in using Instagram if you can hardly take a decent image. Make sure your social media channel is a good fit for your audience and your industry, and a good fit for you.

Do what’s working now

A common gripe I hear from business owners is that reach is being limited on channels such as Facebook. This is true, and it’s frustrating. But instead of continuing to invest time and money in a strategy that isn’t providing ROI, stop using what’s not working and start doing what’s working now. It may not work as well next year. But in the meantime, you’ll keep growing your online presence and getting results. If things change down the line, you can adapt when the need arises.

Another way to capitalise on what’s working now is to adopt any new social media channels. They need users and engagement which is great at they won’t limit your reach. In fact, they’ll do everything they can to help you. There is also less competition on these platforms, so it’s easier to gain a following.

Choose a channel which you can create content for with ease

Once you choose a social media channel, you will be spending a lot of time creating content. So, choose one that you’ll be able to do easily, consistently and joyfully. Low-friction is key: if it isn’t easy for you to create the kind of content that the social media network calls for, you may find yourself in trouble.

Consider doing what you can delegate and scale

Before you stake your claim in a particular social media strategy, think about the future. If you’re a small business, you’re working on your personal brand or you’re developing a new startup, you are most likely the one to operate social media. But you have to consider how your process will allow for scale and delegation in the future. Hopefully, you wont always be the one to operate your social media channel so think about who will take over your work and how they’ll do it.

Ultimately you need to consider where your brand will invest time and energy with social media. With daily changes and updates to each network, it’s important to stay focused and build something that bolsters your brand.

Start by identifying your goal and make sure you understand your audience. Then consider what fits with your personality and brand strategy.

If you use the tips in this article you will be well on your way to social media success, no matter which network you decide to pursue. Let me know how you get on!

For more information on the social media services I provide visit Social Media Marketing for Hampshire Businesses here..