Do you find yourself using some social platforms because you think you “have” to? Or jumping between them because you’re not sure which ones work best? Or trying to be on all of them because you’re scared if you’re not, you could miss crucial opportunities?
You’re not alone! Each social media platform has its own pros and cons, different demographics and of course a different format for sharing your content. And choosing the right ones to suit both you AND your audience is important. Which is why in this episode we’re diving into each of the main social media platforms that are currently working for brand and business building, identifying the positives and negatives, then talking about the questions you need to ask to figure out which ones are going to work best for you.
Today we’re specifically talking about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube (sure, it’s a search engine but it’s also social!) — and stick around to the end because I have an important reminder for you about why social media isn’t the end game.
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READ THE TRANSCRIPT
You’re listening to episode 10: how to choose the best social media platforms for your brand. If you are getting way too up in your head about whether you’re using the right platforms, if you’re trying to use all of the platforms or none at all, and wondering why you’re not seeing results with your social media, then this is definitely the episode for you.
Welcome to The Personal Branding Project. I’m your host, Kat Elizabeth, an actor and personal branding coach who is obsessed with helping creative entrepreneurs like you build personal brands that change your life for good, from attracting bigger opportunities, more joy and freedom in your life and the ability to get paid to do the things that you love most. Each week I’m bringing you inspiration, practical advice, and the occasional dose of tough love so you can stop dreaming and start doing what it takes to make those dreams a reality.
So I thought it was time to have a conversation about social media platforms because I think a lot of the conversations happening these days are around the kinds of content that you’re actually creating, but we seem to forget that making sure you’re on the right platforms is equally important. I think by choosing the right platforms, you’re going to make sure that you’re in the place that your audience is – your ideal audience. You’re going to make sure that the kinds of content you’re creating are actually in the right format for those platforms and you’re more likely to just be consistent and show up if it’s a platform that you enjoy and that makes sense for you. So I wanted to just dig into the different platforms today and sort of talk about some, some stuff that’s probably a little bit more obvious, but then maybe some points that you haven’t actually thought of as to why you should be on those platforms or why you should be off them or trying to narrow down your focus.
First, let’s just talk about a few mistakes that we have probably all made at some stage around social media so that we can just put them to rest and then get on with the good stuff. So mistake number one is trying to be on all of the platforms. It’s just, it’s too much. You are one person, maybe you have a team, but even then, I don’t believe it’s necessary to be everywhere to be all things to all people. I believe that by focusing in on one or two like, I mean it’s up to you how many it’s going to be, but like really nailing what you’re doing on your chosen platforms, you’re going to see much better results than if you’re spreading yourself too thin across all of the platforms. And to continue on from that mistake… Another one that’s sort of related is being on all the platforms just so that you’ve got profiles there, but they’re not actually posting on those profiles. Because obviously some people are going to find you on a profile, be all excited cause they’re like, Oh, she’s over here or he’s over here and then find out you’re not even technically there.
It’s like a ghost profile and trust me, I’ve done this. I keep going to delete my Twitter account because I post so rarely. So do what I say, not what I do. But I’m telling you right now that it’s just a waste of effort because you really get out what you put in with social media. So if you’re going to be on any platform, you need to make a commitment to really show up consistently. You need to be strategic about your content. You need to be there and present so that you can be responding in real time to any of you know, any engagement. So once and for all, can we just say that if there are any platforms that you just know that you are never going to use ’cause you don’t get it, you don’t like it, it’s just too much. Just get off them now. Just delete the profile altogether and you’re just gonna make your life so much easier for yourself.
Mistake number two is sharing the same content to all of the platforms. No matter what they are. You’re just sharing the same thing, regurgitating it, not even changing the format and look first like there’s so many reasons why this is wrong. First of all, it’s really lazy. And again, it’s that, you know, getting out what you put in. Like, if you are just going to have us this thing, then don’t expect people to respond and be like celebrating your content and thanking you for it and doing something with it ’cause they’re going to sense that you weren’t really trying. But also keep in mind that if you have followers that are following you on more than one platform, they’re going to be a bit annoyed because they’re going to see the same thing in multiple places.
So think of them, be generous and even if you want to post on the same theme across platforms, how can you tweak it in a way that it works on those different platforms a little bit differently, is a little bit fresh and exciting so that if someone was to see it in more than one place, they would still get something different out of it. And finally, keep in mind that each platform has an ideal kind of content that really suits it. Some platforms just work better with certain, you know, dimensions of content. Some look better when you’ve got more texts. Some of them are better with video versus graphics. So by just sharing the same thing across all platforms, you are really missing out on an opportunity to optimize your content for that particular platform to make sure it is as great to consume for the, for the user, for the, you know, your audience as possible.
So can we just now put an end to both of these mistakes? So you agree that you’re not going to try and be on all the platforms and half arsing it and you’re also going to stop sharing the same content across all of your platforms because it’s not — it might feel great ’cause you’re like “I posted on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook today”, but if it was one post you did not post on all those places, like you created one post and happened to share to those other places. So now that’s all out of the way. I’ve had my rant. Thanks for bearing with me. Let’s now talk about the different social media platforms and things you might want to think about. So I’m going to start with Twitter just because me and Twitter, we’re not good friends, but there are people on Twitter absolutely killing it and doing so well and growing their business and growing their brand.
So of course I’m going to give Twitter some, some airtime. Now Twitter is amazing for real time conversations. If you’re someone that wants to really be like back’n’forthing with your audience getting involved in discussions, like providing real time commentary on something or on the flip side, customer service that can happen in real time. Twitter is where it’s at. And I mean obviously you can share more than just tweets. You know, like back in the day it was all about just like written tweets. Now we can be sharing photos and videos – you’re not super limited on the platform except for character count. But basically I feel like with Twitter, unless you are prepared to be involved in conversations in real time on the regular, you’re going to really struggle to grow a following there and you’re going to struggle to see the benefits. You have to be very active. So just keep that in mind. If that’s a platform you considering.
Pinterest. I mean, it’s almost not social media because we’re not technically super social with it, but it’s included in those platforms because it still involves sharing content and then generating traffic to other places. I personally have had Pinterest on my to do list for so long because I keep seeing people that are generating tons of incredible website traffic from their pins. And it’s not gonna work for every single industry. You’ll notice that once we talk a little bit more about demographics and things, Pinterest does attract a certain audience. Not everyone is using Pinterest. So already, if you don’t have the right audience who’d be using Pinterest, then it’s not going to be super helpful for you. But if you do have the right audience there, Pinterest is an amazing platform for sharing really kind of saveable content.
And while this one doesn’t have to happen so much in real time the way Twitter does, you do have to do a bit of groundwork in setting up automations and using tools to help you kind of keep re-pinning and “stay active” on the platform even if you’re not physically there. There is definitely a way to work this system and again, like so you’re not gonna just get onto Pinterest and start pinning a few things and see results. But if you want to really dominate on Pinterest, you know, your audience is there, then I would say it’s worth doing a course. There are plenty of amazing courses out there that are quite affordable that are going to teach you how to set up the entire system of Pinterest for yourself so that it start becoming a lead generating machine.
Next up, let’s talk about LinkedIn, which is — I’m sure you’ve noticed more and more people talking about LinkedIn these days because more and more people are finding success there. Basically LinkedIn is where most professionals are hanging out and they are probably — you’re going to find that there’s a lot of people hanging out there that aren’t actively using other social media platforms, so this is something to keep in mind if you feel like you’re really struggling to reach your people on you know, Instagram or Facebook, have you thought that maybe they’re over on LinkedIn because they’re professionals and not into being like super social? Maybe they’re in the corporate world or they’re very entrepreneurial and they’re more about just like doing deals and staying focused on work instead of socializing throughout the day. Although you know LinkedIn can be quite social as well.
There’s definitely a different mindset and different energy there and what I’ve seen right now, at least at the time of this being recorded, things changed so much with social media as you know, is that it is a very welcoming platform where if you are prepared to show up very regularly and create valuable content for your audience, especially in the form of video, you get a huge amount of reach there compared to platforms like Instagram and Facebook quit. The algorithm is just like cracking down. It’s getting tougher and tougher each year to get that organic reach because they of course want to make sure that you are paying for some sort of advertising and they’re also trying to filter out low quality content so they’re kind of making you fight for it. Whereas LinkedIn is a little bit easier right now. I’m sure it’s going to get more difficult as time goes on. But if you are keen to give LinkedIn and go in 2020, I would say now is an amazing time to get started. I personally am keen to do a bit of a LinkedIn challenge in the new year. So I might even do an episode around that where we can all gather together and give LinkedIn a good old crack. That sounded so Aussie didn’t it? I’m not sure if I’m sorry or not…
But anyways, don’t discount LinkedIn if your target audience is a professional basically. And I know that sounds very generic, but I’m saying like not you know young moms that are shopping for babywear or you know that again, like I’m generalizing here, but like think about your audience and who you’re trying to reach and whether you know, and it works for B2B and B2C. So there’s like plenty of people on LinkedIn, like it’s a huge platform, but it’s just one of those ones where I know it was about to say it’s one of those ones where unless you show up and you consistent, it’s not going to work. Guess what? It’s the same for all social media unless you’re prepared to show up, putting a lot of effort and be really consistent. None of these is going to work. So if you’re listening to this right now in that mindset of just like, why isn’t social media working for me?
You have to kind of call BS on yourself sometimes like take a long hard look at yourself and what you’ve been doing up until this point and go, am I really giving it 100% I kind of give yourself a score card for quality of content, how thoughtful and strategic it is, how often you’re there engaging, how much you’re doing outreach… How consistent you are, how often you’re posting, how much you’re tracking your analytics. Like this is a lot of things and it’s very easy to drop the ball every now and then like when you’re trying to juggle all these different things. But I’m just saying before you get frustrated with social media for not working for you look in the mirror first and I’m talking to myself to trust me. I’ve had a really full on year of, you know, creating courses and creating content for some platforms and I’ve definitely dropped the ball on my social media platforms.
And you know, at one stage I was about to get really frustrated and throw in the towel and I was like hold on, how you kind of get angry at Instagram for not working for you if you’re not working for it. So that’s just an aside to say let’s just stay focused, focus on our mindset and and do all the work first before we get frustrated. Okay. That was another rant. But moving on, I’ve already talked about YouTube before. You know I love YouTube and it’s not just a social media platform, it’s also a search engine. So it is an incredible way to get found. I do believe the buy in is a little bit higher as in you have to be committed to creating very high quality content that can take a bit more work to put together. I mean for instance, like for one video, there’s a good chance I’ve probably put in three hours work at least, maybe four hours work.
Whereas for an Instagram post, maybe it’s a half an hour of work, 20 minutes of work, 10 minutes if I’m feeling lazy. So YouTube is not something you can just phone in and it’s also not going to show you immediate results. I mean, not that anything does, but talking about that search engine optimization and building your following, it’s a bit of a slow burn. But the good thing is that like based on the content you create, you can really make sure you’re attracting the right people so that it’s less about subscriber numbers and more about just getting the right eyes on your content. So, you know, I love it because I’m a YouTuber myself and if you ever have any questions about it and getting started, I mean you can always ask me but also check out my own YouTube channel because I’m going to be sharing a lot more on how to get started on that in the new year. So I think that’s enough on that ’cause you know, I love YouTube.
Facebook now… Facebook. Poor old Facebook. No, not poor old Facebook, it asked for it. But I know that Facebook kind of just gets people rolling their eyes these days. It is a frustrating platform. I’m not going to lie. And the organic reach is just shocking like you, it is a pay to play platform that said Facebook groups still work. They are still going strong. And I know so many people running very profitable groups. Not necessarily. Yes you can make a direct profit from groups. You could have it as part of your offering, like when people pay and they get things. And one of those is you know, access to your private group or you can have a free group and use that to promote what you’re doing to share content and whatnot. So before you pooh pooh Facebook, I highly recommend having a think about whether a Facebook group is something that might help grow your business and could support your marketing and content creation efforts.
And finally, last but not least is Instagram, which probably gets talked about the most lately and for good reason, like it is just a platform that keeps going from strength to strength. And while unfortunately thanks to the Facebook buyout of it, it’s acting a bit more like Facebook than it used to as in with the algorithm and things like that. But Instagram is just such a beautiful platform for sharing content, because it really works like a mini blog. And so people used to think it was just about, you know, photo sharing. But I heard someone, I can’t remember who said this, but they kind of said that Instagram is a story telling platform, a story sharing platform.
And it’s so true because we’re not just sharing pretty photos like that. You know, you can share photos anywhere. We’re really sharing the story of our lives, of our businesses. And you can do that with photos, with videos, with graphic images, with short posts, long posts, stories, lives like it is this incredible all encompassing platform. And if you can make it work as in, if you, I’ve heard some people say they don’t really like Instagram and that’s fine, although I want you to really get to the bottom of that. Like, why is it that you don’t actually like it? Is it to do with the lack of results that you’ve seen? Is that you’re just not giving it enough of a chance, were you following the wrong people? I don’t know — I don’t ever want you to go, “Oh, I just don’t like it”.
Like you need to understand why you don’t like it because if you can make it work, I do believe such a huge, huge portion of your audience is on Instagram right now and they are loving being there. People that used to follow me a lot more actively on Facebook and used to watch my Facebook lives. You know, they’re over on Instagram now and they’re more likely to consume Instagram TV – IGTV. So I’ve been trying to keep tabs on my own audience and what’s working for them. And I can see that it, even though it took a little while, ’cause I feel like a few years ago this was different. I had way more people that were still loving Facebook, but slowly but surely Facebook pages and becoming a bit of a ghost town and everyone’s moved over to Instagram. So if you can give it a chance, I think you will see some results there. But just like everything, it still requires a strategy and it requires you to show up consistently.
So I just want to give you now a few guidelines to help you narrow down on what is the right platform or platforms for you. If you’re still feeling like you’re just not really sure where you should be. So the first thing to do is to look at demographics, like look at your own analytics of the social media that you do have, but also read the studies, like go online and Google it and figure out what kind of people aware because it’s really fascinating to find out that like, okay, so like the majority of people from this age group to this age group are using this platform. People that earn this kind of money are on this platform. Like for instance, YouTube has quite a young audience and that’s one of the reasons why I decided to also create a podcast as well because I realized that there was a huge chunk of my audience who told me that they just don’t really like YouTube, they’re not over there.
So I want you to really get a bit nerdy and you know, get a bit Sherlock Holmes-y and actually find out like the facts and figures about where your audience are probably hiding or hanging out. And that can be factor number one. The next factor is to have a look at other influencers that are serving an audience similar to yours so that either they offer something really similar or something complementary and you see them doing really well. I want you to go and find out where they are really active. Are they big on Instagram? Are they over on LinkedIn? Are they on Facebook? Maybe they’re everywhere. Maybe they were only on one place. And really take a look at where their audience is most engaged because that is going to give you a clue like just because they’re on four different platforms doesn’t mean all platforms are performing equally for them.
So if you can sort of be a bit of a detective, you can kind of take advantage of the fact that they’ve already done the work and they’re already on these platforms and you can go, Oh sweet, okay, well I can see right now that even though they’re on Twitter, it’s a ghost town over there. And you know on Instagram they’re showing up just as regularly and yet they’re blowing up over there. So factor number two is looking at what other people are doing. Factor number three is to ask your audience. And now, I don’t care if you only have a tiny following right now, sometimes that’s better because they’re more likely to respond to you. You know, if you’ve got a really big audience and you’re probably gonna do something like send them out a little survey or do questions, Instagram stories.
But if you’ve got a small but loyal following of people that are often replying to stuff and sharing your content, just DM them and go, “I’m trying to decide where to put my efforts for social media in the new year. I’d love to know where your favorite places are to hang out and why”. And you’ll probably find a lot of them respond to you. And if you wanted to do it on a slightly larger scale, you could, you know, incentivize some sort of survey. Like give them a thank you prize – thank you present for filling it out and I’ve done this before and it was just so insightful. Like it gave me so much insight into my audience’s brains and habits. And it helped me make some decisions about where I should be sharing content, how often I should be sharing it as well, and things like that.
So make sure that you make this one of your factors when making these decisions. And finally, I want you to look at your own habits for a couple of reasons. So number one, I want you to think about where you seem to enjoy sharing the most because I think it’s really important to make sure that whatever you’re committing to you’re going to be able to enjoy it. You’re going to make it fun. It shouldn’t feel too much like work like yes, this strategy and there is work involved, but if it’s really like pushing mud up Hill or it feels really uncomfortable and unnatural, inauthentic, then it’s probably the wrong place for you to share or you need to do some mindset work. Like you need to reframe it. Maybe you had a negative experience in the past and you need to get over that before you’re going to start enjoying this again.
But also — often we resonate, like there is something that we have in common with our ideal audience. Often we are our audience, but a few steps ahead, you know, down the journey to them. This isn’t always the case so really be thinking about this more if you feel like you are like one of those people where like attracts like, you know, the more you, you become, the more of your ideal clients seem to be attracted to you. So where are you actually hanging out? Where do you go to interact and engage with people that you look up to? Like who are you following and where and where do you like consuming content and why and what time of day? All of these kinds of things like we can learn so much just from our own habits. If you can get into your own head it’s going to be easier to get into other people’s heads as well. So that is factor number four.
So before we wrap up, there was just a couple of extra things I wanted to flag with you. So first of all, I want to remind you that with online business and the way things work today, nothing is permanent. So don’t feel like if you make a commitment to going all in on Instagram this year and then decide to switch more to LinkedIn the year after you’ve made some huge mistake, you’re gonna learn from it anyway. As long as you can adapt. If you notice that something’s not working, then great. Like there was, there was no loss, there was no failure there. So don’t get too attached to feeling like if you commit to something now you’ve got to commit to it. You know, ’til the end of time.
And this is something, it’s a bit more of a side note, but I just want to remind you that social media isn’t the end game. So the whole point of social media is to create a bridge between like when you know the customer finds you first discovers you and getting them somewhere else. Usually it’s going to be onto your email list and then nurturing them to become a customer. So I want you to actually kind of begin with the end in mind here and go, okay, so what is my plan? I’m going to choose this platform. But then how am I going to use this platform, leverage it to get my customer to continue the transformation with me off social media? So I know that’s only partly related to what I was just talking about, but I just didn’t want you to forget that because it’s very easy to think that all these metrics like aiming for lots of followers, getting your engagement up is, is like the actual goal, but really it’s just a tool that we’re using to try and create the, the results, the metrics that we actually need, which is customers or clients or job opportunities – because that is why we’re doing this entire personal branding thing.
So I really hope you found this helpful today. If you did, please just share a screenshot of the episode and let me know what your biggest takeaway was. I’d love to know what your favorite social media platform is and why, and of course make sure you’re subscribed so that you don’t miss out on any upcoming weekly episodes. I’ve got so much in store for you guys – very excited. And I would love it if you could leave the podcast a review on Apple podcasts. It makes such a difference and I will be eternally grateful to you, so thank you so much for listening and I really look forward to chatting to you on the next one. Bye for now.
Kat is an actor and personal branding coach as well as the host of The Personal Branding Project Podcast and her self-titled YouTube channel. She started her career off by playing Marilyn at Warner Bros Movie World, went on to perform in the original Australian casts of Jersey Boys & Hairspray and eventually found herself writing/producing her own work before becoming a self-employed copywriter and marketing strategist. She now offers 1:1 Coaching and Online Courses for entrepreneurs, freelancers + multi-passionate creatives.