To make the most of social media marketing for a business, it's important to focus on a few channels that are important to your audience. You'll find that being active and really engaging on all social media platforms is not realistic. So it's crucial to select the ones where you can have the most impact. How do you do that? In this video, I will walk you through four steps you can take to make your selection. Start with your marketing goal, and evaluate what outcomes you hope to achieve through your social media activity. These typically fall into the following categories. First, could be brand building, generating awareness and interest for your brand. Second, generating sales or sales leads. Third, providing customer service, and finally, building community and customer loyalty. Different social media platforms focus on different things. Remember how we discussed the social media categorization from Fred Cavazza? This categorization can help guide you when you evaluate which platform may be best suited for your goal. When you're focused on brand building, publishing or sharing platforms can help. Showcasing your product on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest, for instance, can help you raise awareness and interest. When your focus is on generating sales or sales leads through social media marketing efforts, your interest may slightly shift to platforms that offer immediate shopping integrations for instance. Sharing platforms like Pinterest and Instagram do that. If you're focused on providing customer service, you may decide you need to be active on messaging platforms so your customers can easily communicate with you. WhatsApp or Messenger can help you in one-to-one communication, and Twitter is also often used for customer service purposes. If your focus is on building community, you may want to look at discussion, or collaboration, or networking platforms where communities interested in your industry hangout. Or you may want to rely on Facebook, a platform where community is central. Understanding the nuances of different platforms will help guide your decision. But it's key that you keep in mind what your goal is. The next consideration, of course, is the audience you're targeting. We saw that the demographic profiles of the users of different networks vary, and you want to make sure that the platforms you choose are the ones where your audience is active. If you're going after younger audiences, you may want to take a look at platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or Snapchat, for instance. If you're focused on reaching professionals, LinkedIn or Facebook may be a better choice. Here is our overview of the reach of the largest platforms among different demographics. But I suggest that if you get a chance, you ask your target audience which social media platforms they use most. While it is very important that you focus your attention on platforms your audience uses, it is also important to think about the typical content format in those platforms. YouTube is all about video, Instagram is about images, etc. Ask yourself, what kind of content can I share? Is it easy for me to create videos, images, and what type of content will best feature by product? Say you're a fashion brand, Instagram or Pinterest, maybe interesting platforms for you. But if you're selling software, it may be a bit harder to imagine a Pinterest board that works well for your product. If you are a DIY brand, it may be very easy for you to create how-to videos, a type of content that performs really well on YouTube. If you sell a complex product that's rooted in research, you may opt for sharing white papers and explainer videos on LinkedIn, for instance. You get the picture. Use your understanding of the different social media channels to decide on where your content would best fit. After taking your goal, your target audience, and the content you plan to share into account, you will probably have narrowed down the set of social media platforms that could work for you. As a final step, it's worth taking a look at what your competitors are doing. Where are they interacting with customers and what are they sharing? Check out their Facebook page, their Twitter, and Instagram account, and so on. Evaluate where the conversation is happening. You probably want to be part of the conversation in those places. Let's go back to James, at DCB cleaning. James is selecting the social media platforms he'll use to talk about SnackWell. Let's see how our four steps could help James make his decision. Remember James' goal. He wants to see 25 percent of the current DCB cleaning service clients subscribe to the new SnackWell service within six months. To do that, he needs to create awareness. Since James' company is already active on Facebook, it seems like a natural place to start. James knows that his target audience is typically active on Facebook. They are professionals between the ages of 35 and 55. But James is interested in adding another channel. He believes there is opportunity for his team to expand their activities. James believes that SnackWell offers some interesting opportunities to create image-based content. He believes that funny office life pictures featuring the snacks could grab attention. So he's thinking about adding Instagram to the mix. He knows that Staples is quite active on Instagram and he likes their approach. He's also seen another few accounts of competitors on Instagram, so he decides to give that a shot. Why not LinkedIn? You might ask. After all, James is going after a professional audience. Well, James decided that with the image rich content he has in mind, it's better to go to a platform where images are key and where people are browsing through content to be inspired. While LinkedIn indeed focuses on professionals, James knows that the professional crowd he's after is also a user of Instagram in their personal lives. So that's what led him to focus on Instagram instead. As you can see from this example, the four steps we walked through can help you choose the best social media platforms for your marketing activity. In some cases, several platforms could work for you, but limited time and resources may require that you focus your energy on the platforms that you feel are the best fit for your audience and your product or brand. Once you've selected the social channels you'll be active in, there's one more thing you should think about. Who will manage them in your company or in your team, and what policies do you need to put in place to manage them well? In the next lesson, you'll learn how to put those policies in place.