Social media channels today are like the chips aisle in a grocery store: a gazillion brands to choose from, no idea how each one tastes. But who wants to spend your money on Cheezit knock-offs when you know the real Cheezits are delicious?! Unless you’re the size of Coca-Cola with an in-house marketing team target than most marketing agencies, you have to pick and choose which social media networks are actually going to make an impact on your bottom line by reaching your target consumer at the right time in the right place.

A great rule of thumb is that 1 digital marketing manager on your team can handle 1-2 social channels. If you are lucky enough to have budget for a dedicated Social Media Specialist, you can stay on top of 2-3 channels.

Here is how to pick which social media channels are best for you

You Can’t Be Everywhere on Social. Accept it.

Most businesses can’t be everywhere. They need to pick one and be awesome on it. Pinterest is great for targeting women with beauty, crafts, fashion, and home furnishings. Facebook is great for promoting events, activities, and lifestyle. Instagram does the same but hones in on a younger demographic. LinkedIn is perfect for attracting top talent, advertising recruiting services and B2B software like new CRM tools. SnapChat puts you in touch with an even younger audience than Instagram (think teeny-boppers and college-age kids) to share news and flash deals.

Where is the Social Media Channel in Your Customer Journey? You’re Wasting Time if You Don’t Nail This

Where businesses are still falling short is understanding the role each social media channel may play in their company’s unique customer journey. Pinterest may easily lead to a direct transaction for a discount fashion retailer, but a local architect firm is going to have a hard time attributing revenue directly back to their Pinterest activity. That’s because a fashion shopper may search on Pinterest when they’re ready to pull the trigger on a purchase. Deciding to buy or not to buy the latest new blouse is not a long, drawn-out decision for most consumers. However, the decision from a homeowner to hire an architect for their upcoming home improvement project may take weeks, or longer. They’ll research a variety of firms. They may have seen an architect brand on Pinterest, remember them, and visit the architect’s website directly without going through Pinterest. For the fashion retailer, Pinterest plays a direct lead gen role near the buying decision in the customer journey. For the architect, Pinterest’s role is to introduce the brand to a potential future client. In sales reports, the architect will rarely be able to attribute revenue on paper back to Pinterest. Yet it’s possible that a large percent of it’s new leads came in from the social media channel, albeit indirectly.

Ask These Questions to Decide What Social Media Channel(s) to Focus On Now

  • Who is your target audience? How old? Gender? Interests? Location? Tech savvy?
  • Social media role in your customer journey? For many, social media’s primary role may be to maintain relationships with existing customers rather than to bring in new customers. Knowing how and where social media fits in helps decide what channel to focus on and what type of posts are going to help you reach your business goals. Posting to your existing customer base on Facebook looks very different than attracting the attention of prospects.
  • Most companies can’t be everywhere. Pick 1-2 channels and be awesome on them.

What tips do you have to add to the list? Share your helpful tricks in the comments below or by sharing them on Twitter or Facebook.

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Lauren L Perfors. President of Lawton Digital Marketing, helping established small businesses grow through digital marketing consulting and campaign management. @LaurenLPerfors