How to Choose Your Social Media Platforms by Your Audience
Why Be on Social Media?
Why would you consider being on social media anyway? Some consider it frivolous and a waste of time. Others are concerned about privacy issues.
An obvious reason to consider being on social media is, that’s where the people are (Facebook has 1.9 billion active users). Many of your friends, acquaintances, and associates are active on different social media sites. If you aren’t already, you’ll want to be on social media to make new friends, to minister to others professionally and/or spiritually, and to let your financial partners know you (and your family and ministry) better. I’ve found platforms helpful to keep up with what my financial partners are sharing and to reach them more easily. I’ll write more about that later, but briefly, I’ve learned of unemployment, weddings, loss of parents, and even of a runaway child. (For that last one, I actually saw the post go up so I was able to phone immediately.)
Whether or not you have any interest in social media, allow me to encourage you to consider others when you choose your social media platforms. I recommend you keep in mind who you want to connect with and where you’ll find them. Every person has their preferences: gal-friend Gail may be hanging out on Pinterest; long-lost-cousin Curt is on Facebook; acquaintance Arthur from a partner organization is on LinkedIn. So, you might sign up for an account to minister to some folks, not necessarily because you want to be on it for yourself.
How to Choose Your Social Media Platforms Based on The Audience You Which to Reach
Think of social media as ongoing meetings or parties that you could walk in and out of. So, which “party” should you join? Personally, you’ll enjoy some social media sites more than others. Focus on one and optionally consider one or two additional social platforms as well. Use the coffee infographic and the following bullet points to have a feel for the different platforms and where you might be able to build an online ministry. (The bullet points are in number-of-users order from Facebook at 1.9 billion to LinkedIn at 106 million.)
In this first list, each of the platforms are compared across three areas: visual versus text; conversational or not; and relational or informational.
- Facebook – visual and text; engagement; very relational
- Instagram – visual (share your life); some conversation; relational
- Pinterest – visual; low conversation; informational (personal)
- Twitter – written: news and trends; some conversation; informational (personal and professional)
- Snapchat – visual; low conversation; relational
- LinkedIn – text; low conversation; informational (professional)
As for spiritual conversations:
- Facebook – minister, encourage, and have open, positive conversations
- Instagram – spiritual content welcome; post visuals & memes and use hashtags
- Pinterest – spiritual content okay; inform and inspire with good visuals
- Twitter – you’ll find lots of thought leaders and Christians
- Snapchat – spiritual content okay; try behind-the-scenes content
- LinkedIn – less spiritual content, try offline conversations after building the connection
(Thanks to my friend, Steve Raquel of IOV Media, for these two sets of comparisons.)
Very generally, you’ll find different types of people on these platforms:
- Facebook – you’ll find most anyone; predominantly female and ages 18 – 49
- Instagram – largest percentages for users are either urban, women, or under 35
- Pinterest -mostly women users, ages 18 – 64
- Twitter – predominantly male and ages 18 – 29
- Snapchat – users, ages 18 – 34
- LinkedIn – 45% make $75K / year or more and are probably not on other social networks
- Goodreads, YouTube, Foursquare, and many others
For me, my main account is Facebook and I also come and go on Twitter and Instagram. Additionally, I check my LinkedIn account maybe three times a year for information; I planned my daughter’s wedding with her through Pinterest. Now, I use Pinterest regularly for SEO for my blog (but more on that in an upcoming post).
What kind of ministry would you have on social media? … over-the-backyard-fence tips or professional how-tos and motivation?
Don’t forget to develop a regular habit of checking in to your social media platforms.