Which Social Media Platforms Should You Use for Your Business?
BY BIG CAT CREATIVE
It’s officially the future, and the amount of Social Media platforms available to us can be, well, very overwhelming. There’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Youtube… and those are just the really popular ones.
Not only is there too many platforms to comprehend, but it takes A LOT more than just joining them to make any sort of significant impact, or to get any sort of return from them. You have to invest time, a lot of time.
But let’s just get positive for a moment. While Social Media takes up a lot of time, remember that it is in fact free advertising. Which when you think about it, is pretty incredible. So instead of freaking out about it, let’s learn how to utilise Social Media so we can get the most out of it.
I strongly believe that it’s best to give your time to only a couple of platforms and master these, rather than giving less energy to all of the Social Media platforms, and not getting the benefits that you could be.
Now, if you have a few staff, this is a different conversation. But I’m talking about small business owners, solopreneurs kickin’ it on their own and trying to juggle everything else that involves running a business. People who don’t have time or resources to delegate these tasks and are doing everything by themselves (that’s me!). If you have the resources to do them all well, by all means, go for it!
So with that said, how do you choose what platforms to be on? There’s a few questions that you should ask yourself (hint: a lot of it has to do with target audience)
1 | Where are your target audience hanging out?
If you’re thinking “I don’t really know”, then you haven’t defined your target audience yet. This should be one of the main questions when thinking about your ideal customer, “what Social Media do they spend the most time on?”.
To me this is obvious. For example, if you’re targeting an older generation of professionals, there’s a good chance they’re using LinkedIn and Facebook, rather than Instagram and Pinterest.
If you spend your time investing in Instagram and Pinterest, and none of your customers are there, who are you advertising to? You might get some leads, but they won’t be the leads you wanted.
So go back to the drawing board and ask yourself, who’s my ideal customer? What do they want? What do they need? Where are they hanging out?
More on demographics at the bottom of this post.
2 | Where is your competition hanging out?
Think about an established professional who is in the same industry as you, and has the same target audience as you. What Social Media platforms are they on?
If they’re on every platform, dig a little deeper and do some more research. What Social Media platforms do they get the most engagement on? If their Facebook is blowing up, but their Instagram is stagnant, then you get an idea of where their target audience is hanging out (see how this came back to where our target audience is again?).
3 | What social media suits your and your business?
This is a double edged question. It’s definitely worth thinking about this in terms of the content you want to share, and how you want to share it. But we always need to fall back on where are target audience is.
For example, if your business was about current events and news, you have no real desire to post anything visual, you see yourself posting updates multiple times a day, Twitter would be a good fit.
If you are a designer and you’re all about the visuals and showing off your work, Instagram would be right up your alley.
But remember, if you’re this person who works with current events and news, and through your research you’ve figured out that your target audience is actually hanging out on Instagram, suck it up, and figure out an Instagram strategy.
Or if you’re designing for corporates and your target audience is over the age of 50 and all over LinkedIn, suck it up, and figure out a LinkedIn strategy.
So what I’m saying is, get involved in Social Media that suits your style and that you’d enjoy working with. If your target audience isn’t hanging out there, don’t give it all of your attention. If your target audience is hanging out there, you’ve hit the jackpot!
So my advice is to pick 2 platforms, and do them well. Research proven strategies in depth, and implement these for your business.
I’m not saying don’t sign up to all of the other social media platforms, I’m just saying that you should spend more time and energy really mastering a couple of them.
Once you have these down, you can always expand and try different areas (or maybe, when you have the ability to hire staff to do it for you!)
A brief overview of POPULAR Social Media Platforms
Facebook covers the largest range of demographics, gender and age, so there’s a good chance you should be using Facebook for your business. But, because it’s so busy, Facebook does make it hard for your posts to be seen.
You need to be posting on Facebook at least once per day to get any sort of traction. Facebook also prefers videos over images, which means if you post a video, more people will see it, that if you posted an image. You can also utilise Facebook Groups and Facebook Paid Advertising. Though, if you’re going to try paid advertising, make sure you have a strategy in place, or there’s a good chance it won’t work for you.
Instagram covers a younger demographic and is slightly has slightly more women users than men. It is a very visual platform. If you think you are going to get into Instagram, make sure you have enough high quality content. If your ‘feed’ is not attractive and polished, you’re not going to gain traction (yes, it’s a very superficial platform). You need to be posting on Instagram at least once per day. Each of these posts needs to have a great image and a well thought out caption.
The Instagram stories are a different story (for use of a better word), and these are less polished and more raw. People like to see real the person behind the beautifully polished feed. If you’re using Instagram, definitely make sure you utilize the stories to promote things you’d otherwise not clutter your feed with!
Related Post > How to get Clients Through Instagram (my complete strategy)
Pinterest is largely a female oriented platform with a pretty wide age range. Another very visual platform that takes a lot of effort to run, but if you do it right, has a very large return. With Pinterest, all Pins link back to their sources (aka, your website) so it drives traffic directly to your website. And because it’s technically a Search Engine, you need to think about what people would be searching for. It’s a great platform to promote your blog posts where you are answering questions for your target audience.
You need to Pinning as much original content as possible on Pinterest, and then Repinning other people's content, multiple times a day.
Related Post > My Complete Pinterest Strategy
Twitter is an even split between men and women, and covers a younger to middle age audience. People often go to Twitter to look for answers to their questions, so it’s a great platform for promoting helpful information (like a blog or articles).
Twitter is so active, that you need to be posting multiple times a day to get any sort of traction. Similar to Pinterest, you need to be posting original Tweets and Retweeting other people’s content too, at least 5-10 times per day.
If you want to find out specific demographics and more information on these platforms so you can nail your target audience, SproutSocial and Hubspot have great articles breaking it down which will be really useful to you (note: these are 2017 stats).
I definitely recommend getting involved in Social Media for you business. If you’re not on Social Media, you’re behind the times and you’re really limiting yourself. But don’t bite off more than you can chew, just choose a couple to focus on and really nail those.
And always remember, it’s all about your target audience!
What Social Media platforms are you currently on? What’s working and not working for you? I’d love to know in the comments!
Good luck and thanks for reading!