Choosing Your Social Media Platform:


Choosing Your Social Media Platform:

The adage says it all: “A man is known by the company he keeps.” It’s true that the company you keep can make all the difference, even when it comes to social media. It is essential to select the best platforms for your content-marketing efforts for maximum effect.
Most of us, be it companies or individuals, can’t be amazing on every platform. That would take a huge amount of resources and bandwidth. Instead of having a sub-par representation on hundreds of sites, be awesome on a few of them. 
So pick and choose which networks to use. It may very well be a waste of resources to try to use dozens of major platforms, not to mention the hundreds of niche networks that are out there. 
Over time, as you engage in social media, you’ll discover the nuances of your own niche. It will be different for every industry, business, region and target audience. 
To start out though, most experts suggest that instead of blindly following the “in-crowd” to the social site du jour, pick what makes sense for you and your business. Start by answering three simple questions.
1. Know Your Cause: 
What are my social media objectives?
For most companies, the benefits of social media marketing include brand awareness, building your overall profile and presence with specific audiences, connecting with a broader conversation in your niche, and driving traffic and exposure to your website and key content.
The platforms you choose should be best suited to meet your social media objectives. 
For example, if you are looking to connect with your customers online and send them quick company updates, then Twitter and Facebook are ideal, as they have the ability to push messages to your community instantly. If you are looking to educate your customers by sharing or posting useful information, then publishing a blog or sharing updates on LinkedIn may be most effective. And if you are trying to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings, use video content on a platform such as YouTube. 
2. Know Your Customers: 
Where do my customers or prospective customers ‘hang out’? 
All professionals these days should have an understanding of their prospective and existing customers. From the outlets they use to how your services can solve their “pain points,” knowing your customer makes all the difference. 
You want to select those platforms that offer the best potential for reaching your ideal audience, broadcasting an effective message and facilitating the type of media that are best for your social media objectives.
Many experts suggest you use a platform’s demographic data to assess which platform is most likely to be your customer’s favorite hang-out. But in the niche parking industry, can generalized demographics such as age, sex, race or economic status really tell you where those parking industry players, companies and customers are? 
Unfortunately, the answer is not so simple. 
Generalized demographic information is more useful for parking companies trying to reach consumers versus businesses. So, before you pore over mountains of demographical data that may have little insight to your customer base, consider which platforms are best suited for your business type. 
B2B Usage of Social Media Platforms
For B2B companies in our industry where the social interactions and buyer relationships are more complex than in many B2C contexts, the demographic makeup of a user, such as age, gender and race, doesn’t provide the same level of useful insight when selecting a social media platform.
B2B companies are better off reviewing the major platforms themselves to see where their customers are currently active. Certain networks have an inherent bias toward B2B or B2C. Compared with many B2C customer-oriented social platforms, LinkedIn focuses almost solely on cultivating B2B relationships. While Facebook and Twitter may be stereotyped as best for reaching consumers, they also are favorites of small and medium-sized B2B business owners. 
These three platforms have the greatest volume of users per month, allowing you to build a following and showcase new products and services, as well as to act as an arm of customer service.
B2C Usage of Social Media Platforms
Social media use by B2C companies is a more obvious fit for platforms. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, B2C companies can find usage of Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and YouTube to be most effective for their objectives. 
3. Know Your Content: 
Which platform best suits the type of content I share?
Both B2B and B2C companies should also consider in their selection of platforms the type of content to be shared. Pictures, videos, blogs and links are best featured on different social media platforms. To state the obvious, Instagram is best for sharing pictures, YouTube works best for video, Facebook and Twitter for customer interaction, and LinkedIn for sharing links to blogs, articles or your own posts on its publishing platform.
Figuring it all out
The social media scene can be bewildering. But if you carefully consider your objectives, target audience, and customers, as well as the information and type of content you will share, you are more likely to see a return on your investment. 
Whether you have jumped into social media with both feet and are on every platform you can think of or haven’t started at all, take the time to consider which platforms make the most sense for you. 
If there’s one message that you take away from this article, I hope it’s that a one-size-fits-all approach to social media marketing isn’t effective.
Kathleen Laney, President and Executive Search Consultant at Laney Solutions, is a Contributing Writer for Parking Today. Contact her at
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