How to choose the best social network for your content

Social media is the go-to venue for content marketing, but which platform delivers the best results for your needs? Here’s how to make that perfect match.


According to a recent report from the Content Marketing Institute, the average B2C marketer uses four social media networks to distribute content, whereas the average B2B marketer uses five—five networks, five distinct audiences.

As marketers, it’s important to be aware that not all social networks are equal. Each network has its own audience, and the content you share on one may not be as relevant as it is on another. To get the most bang for your buck, you must share the right content on the right channel.

How do you choose the best social network for your content?

Know network demographics

First and foremost, know who is using the network. So many of us hear about how other businesses are using Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter, and the list goes on. That doesn’t mean every network is right for you. You need to know who is actually active in each network.

A report recently put out by Pew Research showed that the majority of users on Pinterest are women and the top users of Facebook are under 50. When you’re sharing content according to network, you need to know the makeup of the various networks. This information should be a significant factor in choosing what to share.

Know fan and follower demographics

Along with the network as a whole, it’s important to get a sense of who your fans and followers are in each channel. The demographics of your Facebook fans may be very different from those of your LinkedIn connections. The content they consume should therefore be different.

When evaluating demographics by network, there are a few places to look:

LinkedIn Follower Insights

If you are the owner of your company’s LinkedIn page, you can get information on career levels, industries, job functions, and locations of your connections.

Facebook Insights

Similar to LinkedIn, if you are the owner of a business page on Facebook, the Insights tool will give you data on age, gender, location, new “likes,” “like” sources (mobile, timeline, on-page), and more.

Followerwonk

Since Twitter doesn’t provide follower information, Followerwonk is a free tool that will break down your Twitter followers by location, gender, social influence, and language, and will show the most frequently used terms in their profiles and tweets.

As you evaluate connection demographics, create a profile by network, identifying those more likely to retweet, “like,” or share your content. Once you have a profile for each network, you can gear your content to that particular type of person.

For example, if you know the majority of your connections on LinkedIn are at the C-level, it would make sense to share case studies and white papers there as opposed to doing so on Facebook, where the average age of your audience may be 25, and less likely to be at the C-level or interested in that type of content.

Use your analytics

In my last iMedia post, I mentioned using Google Analytics to determine which pieces of content do better on which networks. This can be done a couple of different ways:

Sort by social sources (Google Analytics)

Google Analytics lets you look at social referrals within the traffic tab, providing you a breakdown of the number of visits driven from each channel. As you click on each source, you can see the exact pieces of content that were shared through the channel and, more important, drove visits from the channel to your site.

Sort by content and referrals

If your analytics platform doesn’t have social media broken out into its own category, sort your content by visits and then drill down into referrers. For each piece of content, you’ll be able to see how many visits were driven from each social network.

As you take a look at the content being shared by network, look for particular themes:

  • Are they lists?
  • Are they resource pieces?
  • Are they infographics?
  • What topics are being shared more frequently?

Similar to creating demographic profiles by network, create content profiles by network as well.

Check out competitors

Competitors can be a valuable asset to any online marketing program. Though you certainly don’t want to copy everything your competitor is doing, you can get a sense for what’s working and what’s not working in your market before you even start.

Take a look at your competitors and ask:

  • Where are they spending most of their time?
  • What types of content are they promoting on each channel?
  • What are people responding to?
  • What types of content are people sharing of theirs?

Evaluating competitors is an easy way to learn more about each channel and find out what resonates with that audience.

As we continue to communicate more and more with our customers and potential customers through social networks, it’s important that we’re sending them the right messages and giving them the information they actually want.

Start evaluating your networks, creating profiles, and make sure you’re giving your content the best chance for success.

Casie Gillette is the director of online marketing at KoMarketing Associates. A version of this article first appeared on iMediaConnection.

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