Social Media Channel Definition
In this lesson, we'll discuss:
- The concept of "purpose before platforms"
- The factors to consider before choosing your social media channels
- Setting the record straight about social media myths
- Reach - the number of people who see your content on social media
- Engagement Rate - the percentage of people who perform a clickable action with your content, including views, likes, favorites, comments and shares, in relation to the total number of people who see your content
One of the first questions we usually get from prospective and existing clients is something along the lines of:
What social media platforms should we be using?
Our answer is always: Determine the purpose before you determine the platforms (based on your goals and objectives).
Once you've unearthed your goals and objectives, you can then begin to see how they'll best take form on the different social media channels available to us.
Choosing your social media channels
There are a few factors to consider when choosing the social media channels for your business or organization, including:
- The channels the majority of your prospective and existing customers use
- If you don't know, ask them.
- Answering the following questions:
- Do you have the time and resources to effectively and consistently use this channel?
- Do you have the time, patience and resources to learn the ins and outs of this new channel, and build a following on it?
- Are you able, willing and prepared to create content specifically for this channel, irrespective of the content you're creating on other channels?
If the answers to these questions are no, it's probably not a good idea to branch out to other social media channels at this time.
If you're a new business or organization, we recommend looking at the platforms your competitors are using, and then analyze their presence and performance on each channel in order to best understand the ones that will work for you.
Calling out certain myths
There are several myths associated with various social media channels, including:
- The best days and times to post content on each channel
- The amount of times you should post on each channel
- Saving time by automating your social media channels
- Cross-posting across multiple channels
Setting the record straight
In order of the bullet points above, here are the truths about these myths:
- There aren't any specific days and times to post content on each channel. Determining the days and times that work best for you comes down to (1) testing different days and times you're posting content, and then comparing and contrasting metrics like reach and engagement rate; and (2) common sense -- in other words, if you're a restaurant posting content about breakfast, it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to post that kind of content at 10 in the evening.
Certain channels give you metrics of when you're followers tend to be online (e.g. Facebook Insights), but beyond that, there isn't a quota or recommendation for how often you should post content on social media.
- We always recommend that our clients focus on quantity over quality, which means that you should first figure out how many pieces of quality content you can create per month, per channel. Once you know that number, divide it by 30 days, and that will tell you how often you should post throughout the course of a month. Certainly, you can aim to create content on a daily basis, but if that means compromising the quality of your content, we would recommend against that sort of thing.
- Social media is about developing relationships, and by and large, relationships (online or offline) cannot be automated. However, most businesses and organizations see automation as a way to save time. Our rule of thumb is: If you don't have time to use social media, or a specific channel, you shouldn't use it at all.
If you are electing to use social media, your business or organization should be present and active on each channel, as opposed to many businesses and organizations, which simply schedule a bunch of content, and then ignore the follow-up engagement and other opportunities for two-way communication between you and your followers. Automation also makes businesses and organizations seem robotic, which is the complete opposite effect you want to portray on social media.
- Many businesses and organizations use one piece of content and then share it across several channels in order to save time. However, people use different channels for different reasons and for different use cases, which means the same piece of content likely won't resonate with your followers across multiple channels. If you cannot create quality content that is specific to the reasons and use cases of each channel, we recommend not using those channels until you are ready, willing and able to do so.