Let’s Choose the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business
Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. As of 2021, 96% of small businesses say they use social media in their marketing strategy. It’s no longer a question of “Should I be using social media?” but rather “Which platforms should I spend my time on?” Honing in on a few select social platforms is important to make it worth the time you spend and to see the highest return on your investment.
So let’s break it down: How do you choose which social media channels to focus on?
Part 1: Create a Profile of Your Audience
Let’s start by identifying who your audience is. Try to be as specific as you can to make your decision easier.
Try answering these questions:
- How would you describe your typical customer?
- What genders do your customers identify as?
- How old is your average customer?
- What are your customers’ interests? (Besides your products of course.)
- Do you have an idea of their educational background? And their income level?
These questions should help give you a better understanding of your average customer.
Part 2: What's the Goal for Your Business?
Now that you know who your audience is, you need to define goals for that audience that support your business activities. The most common goal for a business owner is to drive sales by attracting customers. However, there are other goals for social media, such as creating a community with your potential customers or increasing brand recognition. Identifying your business goals will make it easier for you to find the platform that best suits them.
Part 3: Search for the Right Social Media Platforms
Now that you have a profile of your audience and a defined goal, meet your audience where they are. In order to do this, you need to figure out which social platform your audience is on by reviewing the demographics of the users on each platform.
Below is a breakdown of some of the major social media platforms to assist in finding your audience.
Best for Reaching Millennial Women and Creating Brand Awareness
With over one billion monthly active users, Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms. Instagram is incredibly popular with small businesses and freelancers because it is all about fast content, focusing on beautiful images and videos. And because the platform is owned by Facebook, you get access to Facebook’s ad network and strong targeting capabilities.
Instagram is the most popular social media platform for millennials, particularly millennial women. 60% of 25-34 year olds use Instagram and 43% of women in the US use Instagram, compared with 31% of men. Instagram data is limited to binary genders at this time.
Regardless of age and gender, people use Instagram to explore their interests. The top three interests on Instagram in the US include travel, music, and food and drink.
Quick Tip: Although it may be easier to just post photos on Instagram, it’s becoming more of a worthwhile investment to post video content if you want to see a higher ROI.
Best for Casting the Widest Net and Creating an Active Community
With over two billion active monthly users, Facebook continues to be one of the most popular social media platforms out there. While it’s unlikely your business will reach everyone on this channel, it does allow you to cast a wide net.
Some social media networks tend to be popular with specific age groups, but Facebook is fairly even across all ages though its senior population (65+) has been growing exponentially over the past few years. There is a higher population of men on Facebook than women, but women tend to be more active.
Facebook is a good channel to build a community with your existing customer base. The downside to Facebook is that it can be difficult to reach a new audience. Due to its large population, posts have a limited reach. Especially with recent algorithmic changes that try to put focus on posts from friends and family and less on public posts. If you’re trying to acquire new business, Facebook might not be your best option, but if you’ve built a dedicated following and you need a way to keep in touch with them, Facebook will probably give you the most bang for your buck.
Best for creating brand awareness and connecting directly with customers (especially millennial men)
If your business relies on visuals or you don’t have a strong voice for your brand, you may want to skip Twitter. However, if you have a distinctive voice, it’s a great platform to create brand awareness. People won’t be shy about giving opinions, but if your product or service is good, this will help with engagement. Twitter can be a powerful tool for connecting directly with other customers.
The Twitter population is wealthier, younger, and more educated than the average American. Twitter is most popular with millennials, particularly millennial men. Twitter users also tend to have higher levels of household income and education in comparison to the general adult population.
Best for sharing long-form content but a steeper learning curve
Yes, video takes more time than your average social media post, but it’s worth it. YouTube is a great platform for sharing information via video. Try creating video tutorials to support your content. Many people are visual learners and seeing is believing. Create videos that show off your products, create a video press release, or share behind-the-scenes content.
74% of US adults use YouTube, which makes it the most popular online platform in the country. “YouTube is most popular with users 35 and under, but only slightly. 73% of Americans aged 36 to 45 use YouTube, along with 70% of those aged 46 to 55 and 67% of those 56 and older.” (Hootsuite data).
There is a steeper learning curve for businesses entering the YouTube world, but it is well worth the investment.
Best for making B2B connections
LinkedIn is the platform for professional social networking. People use LinkedIn to search for jobs and to network professionally. LinkedIn is a great platform to create B2B connections, network, and recruit new employees.
The audience for LinkedIn is older, with the majority of its users ranging from 36-55. Users tend to be college-educated, higher earners, and city-based.
Best for reaching the Gen-Z crowd
TikTok is a relatively new short-form video platform that has grown exponentially over the course of the pandemic. The best use of the platform is for visual-based businesses. Art, retail, beauty, design, and food have all thrived on TikTok. TikTok has the Gen-Z demographic locked-in, which means the platform is great for targeting younger age groups.
Other Platforms of Note:
Here are three more social media platforms that you may have heard of and wonder whether they’re worth your time.
Most people use Reddit for its personal forums, but it can also be used for businesses if you consider using it for market research. In other words, use Reddit to ask questions and gather feedback on different parts of your business (design, products, and more). Reddit is nothing if not aggressively truthful.
Style, DIY-crafting, recipes, photographs, design, beauty all dominate on Pinterest, which is basically a virtual bulletin board. It’s not the best fit for every business, but it can be used as a good marketing tool for businesses in the above categories. Since its user base is smaller than the other major visually-driven platform, Instagram, it’s best to use Pinterest as a supplemental platform only if you have the resources.
A fun option is you’re looking to put out more relaxed content. Since videos disappear after 24 hours, this could be an option to be creative with video without so much pressure. If you’re committed to viral video, you’re better off investing in TikTok.
The list of social media platforms is going to keep growing but that doesn’t mean that you have to use them all for your business. Social media is time-consuming so be thoughtful. Let your audience and goals guide your choices in social media channels. Who knows, you might even have some fun.
Want to learn more about how your business can use social media to reach your audience? Reach out to our Sales Manager, Andrea Aldin, at [email protected] to start the conversation!
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