I was having a conversation with a friend about social media. He commented on the food pictures I post to Facebook, and I asked him if he only saw the ones I post there or if he has seen my Instagram account which is where I post everything. He hadn’t seen them because anything outside of Facebook was beyond his comfort zone. He’s a little younger than me, so that surprised me somewhat.

Our discussion then fell into the functions of social platforms other than Facebook. He associated Instagram and Snapchat with kids (millennials) and didn’t see the point in using them. He had also decided that those particular platforms were very egocentric and were primarily used to shout out, “Look at me and how great my life is.” Yeah, of course, some people do use social media to project a magnified image of themselves in an attention seeking way. That comes down to basic human nature and people with that type of mentality are going show off in any way that they can, beyond the bounds of social media. That belief acknowledged then, what’s the point of social media?

We then evaluated the purposes of different social channels. For my usage, Facebook is more personal than Instagram. Most of my Facebook friends are people with whom I’ve personally interacted, whether they are family, close friends, acquaintances, community connections, or people with whom I share a hobby or common interest. I post tidbits about my daily life and pictures of my family, friends, and activities albeit limited content. I also choose to not post controversial or political issues because my family is conservative and my friends are left, left, and more left! Political views don’t define who a person is, and I have no interest in stirring negativity amidst people that I consider significant enough with which to stay connected. Instagram, on the other hand, is where I primarily post artsy pictures of my musings, a collection of moments of novelty. I have started sharing some personal images, but I don’t use Instagram

to share my life with people I know; rather, I use it to connect with foodies and those with similar interests (in hopes that one day someone will decide to send me all over the world to take pictures of amazing food – a girl can dream).

My friend uses Facebook a little differently than I do. He does share articles and information about social and political issues as well as information that is relevant to his studies and lifestyle along with some things that humor him. Occasionally, you’ll get a peek into his personal life (show me that burger with ooey gooey cheese please). He sees most social media as shallow and pointless, people showing off rather than developing genuine connections. Instagram doesn’t appeal to him and Snapchat doesn’t make sense to him.

So, how do you, as a business owner or organization representative, reach your target audience when the way people use social media is so varied? Although my friend and I are in the same age demographic and have similar interests, the platforms that we use and the purposes for which we use them is somewhat different.

Your brand’s personality should communicate who you are and what you’re about to followers while also connecting with them. It is about engaging in conversation after all. And, in all likelihood, people who have chosen to follow you are interested in what you share and products you may promote. But if some are using Facebook and some are using Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or LinkedIn, then how do you know on which platform to focus your marketing efforts? Find what works for you. Which one allows you to express your brand identity most effectively? Where are your followers active and how are they communicating – through imagery, informative articles, or content that encourages conversation?

Definitely, avoid spinning your wheels on every social outlet. Determine where you will gain more followers who are interested in your message and focus your content there. Is your brand most truly portrayed through pictures? Instagram is ideal for sharing your story through visual content, plus, the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Does your organization need to communicate information and news quickly? Twitter will get that task done. Men are also more active on Twitter, so if your audience includes a large percentage of males, then focusing on Twitter would be smart. Analytics show that 30% of these male Twitter users are college graduates who make $75K+. Are you primarily interested in connecting with professionals or recruiting? LinkedIn is the perfect place to network with people who are interested in your industry. What about Snapchat? That’s the platform that baffles a lot of people beyond 30, but if your primary audience is millennials you can reach 50% of them in one day! Facebook is still going to be the best channel to reach a broad range of people and the type of content you share there will determine who engages with your brand, so it’s a pretty sure shot to use Facebook for marketing yourself.

There are other platforms on which having a presence may be helpful. Utilizing YouTube for video content that can be shared on other social networks is going to be useful. Pinterest is another popular place to file and share information, so if your primary target is women, then

create a visually appealing page and pin quality content. Note that 2⁄3 of Pins now showcase a brand or product.

Do you have a little better understanding of how different social platforms function within the digital realm? Think you’re ready to establish your brand there? Or, do you still feel like you could use a bit of help? We gotcha covered at The High Road Agency! Give us a holla at info@thehighroadagency.com.