(This article is part 1 of a 3-part series on social media marketing for beginners.)

Social media is a great tool for reaching your audience quickly and easily. Though it takes creativity and time to develop content and build an audience, strategic marketing through social media can widen your reach, increase visits to your website, and improve sales.

So you want to learn how to effectively use social media for your business, but you don’t know where to start? The first step is determining your audience, your goals, and your creative abilities. Then, you’ll be able to select the right social media platforms to reach the right people and create effective content.

Know Your Target Audience

When selecting a social media platform, think about the demographic you want to target. How old are they? Where do they live? Where do they work? What do they do for fun?

Every platform attracts a different audience. For example, you’ll find 30 to 49-year-old business professionals on LinkedIn and 18 to 35-year-old women on Pinterest. That’s why it’s important to know who you want to reach before selecting a platform.

Know Your Goals

What do you want to achieve with your social media platforms? Do you want to widen your reach, build a community, or improve brand awareness? Do you want to engage with individuals or connect with other companies? Is your goal to increase website traffic or customer revenue?

Choose one to two objectives and set attainable goals for how and when you will achieve them through your marketing strategy.

Know Your Creative Abilities

Before deciding on a social media platform, think about the time you and your team can spend creating content each week. How many people will develop the content? Are you interested in creating unique messaging such as graphics and videos, or do you want to share industry articles and tips published by others? How often do you want to post?

It’s important to know what your team can do before deciding on a platform. For example, Facebook and Twitter are great for sharing quick tips, links to articles or blogs, and photos. YouTube and Instagram, however, are highly visual and may require more energy and money to create original photos and videos.

Once you understand your audience and know what type of content you want to share, check out this helpful chart to identify which social media platforms are best for you.

Businesses of any size and budget can incorporate social media into their marketing strategies. With a little research and creativity, you’ll reach new people and grow your audience.

Selecting the right platform for your organization is just the first step to mastering social media marketing. The next article in our series will focus on tools to create and schedule content, so you can effectively implement your new strategy.

Creative Spot is a full-service marketing and advertising agency in Columbus, Ohio. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your organization with social media marketing, contact us.