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TikTok? Pinterest? How to choose the right social platform

TikTok? Pinterest? How to choose the right social platform
(Image credit: Unsplash)

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Social media is an essential marketing tool for all businesses today. Yet it can also be one of the most complex, in part because it is a bit of a moving target.

There are several ways to decide which social channels are the right fit, but regardless, there is no question that social media marketing is worth the investment. Datareportal reports about 4.5 billion of the world’s 4.9 billion internet users on social media.

But with new platforms emerging seemingly every year and the popularity of existing ones ebbing and flowing, marketers risk spreading themselves too thin. They run the risk of undermining the efficacy of their social campaigns unless they focus their efforts on the right outlets.

In fact, choosing which social media platforms are right for your brand is the biggest challenge marketers say they face in social marketing, a recent HubSpot survey found. Let’s dig into three ways to determine the best platform for your social campaign..

By the numbers

User base and demographic data can be useful in identifying the right social media outlets for your brand. Marketers want to consider not just the kinds of users on a social platform, but how and when they use the platforms. A B2B company may want to concentrate on LinkedIn to reach professionals when they are in “work mode.”

A furniture brand may prefer to focus on Pinterest to catch shoppers when they are seeking inspiration for their home. Pinterest users also demonstrate greater intent to purchase, with the largest percentage of people using the platform saying they do so to find information about products and brands, according to Global Web Index.

It’s not always about choosing the platform with the greatest reach. Facebook has the most global users, but the primary use cited by respondents to the Global Web Index survey was messaging friends and family. This may not be a time that these users are ready to engage with your brand. Facebook is also not the most popular among Generation Z. Brands focused on younger consumers may prefer instead to focus on Instagram or Snapchat.

Demographics can also shift quickly: TikTok, for example, is popular with young internet users. In June 2020, 62% of its users were below the age of 30, per Statista. But by March 2021, only 47% of its users were still under the age of 30 as the popularity of the app rose with older users.

Furthermore, social media users grow up. It may make sense to target Generation Z in brand awareness efforts if the goal is to develop lifelong customer loyalty.

Content alignment

Another approach that marketers should consider is a content-driven strategy. It’s a stretch to imagine that your ideal customer is only on one social media app. They are likely using multiple apps throughout the day for different purposes.

YouTube or LinkedIn are good options to share long-form video content, such as interviews with executives. Instagram requires strong visuals to be a part of your content strategy. Brands that want to weigh in on news or cultural moments would probably want to be on Twitter. Those that wish to build community around their customer and fan bases may prefer Facebook – where Messenger allows one-on-one connections and Groups and Pages allows people to come together around common tastes.

The National Basketball Association is a good example of how to create content to suit a social media app. It’s safe to assume NBA fans are a large enough base that they span social media apps. But, the NBA uses its Instagram presence to focus on games and highlights and TikTok to demonstrate a lighter side of the organization. This puts the NBA efforts in line with the kind of content users prefer on each app.

“[TikTok] is a hub for creativity and humor. Embracing a more personal tone or a behind-the-scenes approach could make your company appear more relatable or trustworthy to potential customers,” writes Pamela Bump on Hubspot.

Any content created must be published with regularity and predictability to produce results, but that effort can become time consuming and resource draining. You want to ensure your brand is able to remain committed to the content it creates. It makes sense to pick a few that fit the audience you hope to reach at the moment you’d like to reach them – and to decide which social media channel is the best place to share such content.   

Follow the buzz
A final approach is to simply go where the conversation about your brand and your competitors is already happening. Using social media platforms and searching for industry-related content and hashtags gives marketers a feel for whether a user base is interested in their products and services.

Such research helps marketers decide if the conversations and ways of gathering in a social app make sense for their brand. The opportunity to build community around content is one of the ways that TikTok is setting itself apart from predecessors, Morissa Schwartz notes on Entrepreneur.

“Much like other social-media platforms, brands looking to capitalize on TikTok’s potential should keep up with trending hashtags, songs and perhaps dances to increase their video’s reach,” Schwartz adds.

Creative dance videos not a good fit for your brand? This is a sign that you must look elsewhere for the right social media fit.