You have an incredible opportunity to grow your business with social media. Using your website as a foundation, you can use it to amplify your other marketing efforts and drive your business into the digital era. After learning about the impact social media can have on your marketing, you’ve decided to jump in and start giving your wholesale business a voice. But where do you start? Whether you have already begun posting on your company Facebook account or you do not have a single social media platform attached to your business’ name, the first step to a successful social media marketing strategy is to focus your efforts on a single platform. Even if you already have a dozen business profiles set up on social media, now is a good time to reevaluate your strategy. Choosing the best social media platform for your unique business will ensure that you are reaching the right audience and that you can keep up with a regular posting schedule: the two most important things to consider when building your strategy.
There are many social media platforms to choose from (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.) and it can be tempting to try to join them all. However, the mere existence of a profile with your company’s name on it will not benefit your business. Each social media platform out there has its own set of audiences, and not all of them will be best suited for your needs. The four best social media platforms for wholesale distributors are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Instead of signing up for them all, strategically select one or two platforms that best suits the needs of your unique business.
That’s why we are going to take you through the 4 main points to consider when choosing the best social media platform for wholesale marketing:
- Target Audience
- Posting Schedule
- Content Library
- Pros and Cons of Social Media Platforms
1. Target Audience
Research your desired customers. What are they interested in? Many hobby or interest groups build communities online using hashtags or even private groups. If you know that your buyer personas are interested in automotive repair, find out where they are discussing this online. If you aren’t sure what hobbies or interests your desired customers have, you may need to back up and take a look at your buyer personas.
Researching hashtags is an important step in finding your audience as well as building your social media strategy. While you are doing this research, it is important to note which hashtags you don’t want your company to be associated with. Some hashtags can be overtly political or have negative connotations that will hurt your efforts, even if you find some desired customers using them.
You will find that people in the industries you serve hang out on a few different social media platforms. That’s why there are several other factors to consider when choosing a social media platform to market your business. Your posting schedule, or how often you are willing to post, may heavily dictate which platform you should use.
2. Posting Schedule
It’s easy to set up a company social media page. (That may be why you already have one.) The hard part is knowing when and what to post! (That may be why you haven’t posted on yours in a while.) If you want to create value from your social media business profile, you will have to commit to a consistent posting schedule. You don’t have to, and shouldn’t, post at the same time on the same day every week. But you should decide how often you are going to post on your chosen platforms and stick to it. The best times of day to post will depend on your audience and you will need frequent adjustments to ensure you are reaching as many people as possible. To get you started, we have outlined how often you should post on each social media platform previously recommended:
- Goal: Every day
- Minimum: 3-4 times a week
- Goal: Every day
- Minimum: 2 times per week
- Goal: 4 or more times a day
- Minimum: Every day
- Goal: 2 times per week
- Minimum: Every other week
Some of these numbers may seem intimidating, especially if you are unsure what to post. Start small! Building a regular posting schedule will allow you to gain loyal followers. The quality and consistency of your social media posts is much more important the quantity you post. That’s why before you select a social media platform to focus on, you need to decide what kind of content you are willing and able to schedule.
3. Content Library
There are three main types of content frequently shared on social media.
- Visual Content
- Shared Links
- Articles or blogs from your website
- Articles or blogs from external websites
- Videos uploaded elsewhere (such as YouTube)
- Native Text Content
- Status updates
- Tweets & replies
- LinkedIn Pulse articles
When deciding which social media platform to use to market your wholesale business, you must consider what types of content you have readily available, what you are willing to create, and what you can share from outside sources.
Sharing curated content from outside sources that align well with your business is an easy way to beef up your content library and position your business as a thought leader. Sometimes great industry-specific information comes from other sources and social media channels are collaborative environments.
A good social media marketing strategy has a mix of visual content, shared links, and native text content. However, time and resources can put limitations on many business’s ability to create original content and some types are necessary for success on specific platforms.
Instagram and LinkedIn can be most limiting without the right kinds of original content.
On Instagram, high-quality, aesthetically pleasing photos are absolutely necessary. The platform is almost entirely visual, and without producing new photos and videos regularly, you will see very limited success.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, requires high-quality written content. If one of your executives posts regular articles on LinkedIn Pulse or if your website regularly keeps a blog, this platform can be a great source for increasing your readership. By committing to one or two new pieces of writing a week, you can showcase your company’s industry knowledge online and use this platform to draw in new customers. It is not impossible to be successful on LinkedIn without writing regularly, but you must be willing to curate content.
At this point, you should have a good idea of which platform will allow you to create a high-quality, regular posting schedule to market your wholesale business. But before signing up for your business profile, there are several pros and cons of each social media platform you should consider.
4. Pros and Cons of Social Media Platforms
- Reach: Over 500 million active monthly users.
- Pros: Instagram users are 58 times more likely to engage with a brand’s post than Facebook users and 120 times more likely than Twitter users.
- Cons: Instagram’s user base consists of a few very specific demographics: the majority of users are under age 29.
- Reach: Twitter has 328 million active monthly users and the percentage of Twitter users on mobile is 80%.
- Pros: Google indexes Tweets which can increase the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your website. Additionally, tight-knit communities and high engagement make it easy to interact and have conversations with potential customers.
- Cons: The lifespan of a tweet is 18 minutes, meaning if you want to see real results you must prepare to post multiple times a day.
- Reach: Although LinkedIn has the smallest percentage of active monthly users (106 million), it is by far the best platform for finding relevant prospects in the industries you serve.
- Pros: Professionally engaged user base who is ready to make work-related purchasing decisions.
- Cons: Most networking on LinkedIn is done with personal profiles, not company pages. Smaller companies without a large organic following may have a hard time connecting with LinkedIn’s user base via their company page.
Once you have chosen a platform and started building a posting schedule, you will be well on your way to using social media to market your wholesale business. By focusing your efforts, you can learn best practices for using social media to gain new leads. With proven success on one platform, it will be much easier to branch into new social media channels and take your wholesale marketing into the digital era.