What social media platform should I use for my business
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been focusing on Social Media and in particular tips and strategies for each of the big social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
All this is well and good, but the truth is you can’t (and shouldn’t) try to be an expert at them all. As I mentioned in the first post in the series “10 Discoveries in Social Media for Real Small Businesses“, you should Focus on just ONE first. Yes, just one!
That doesn’t mean you can’t have an account on the others, or that you can’t post to them. It just means you should focus on giving your absolute best to one platform and make sure you are getting the results you desire from it.
Once you have mastered one, go ahead and try to build the next. Over time you will see which one works best for your business.
So how do you pick? Well there are 3 quick questions you need to ask.
I have also compiled a Worksheet package summarising the “Get Social Media Savvy” blog post series. Make sure you get that here.
Q1: Where does your Target Market Hang Out?
There is no point being on a social media platform if your target market simply isn’t there, no matter how much you love it!
One way to do this is by looking at the demographic’s of each of the social platforms and match this to your niche. A great article summarising these demographics can be found over at Sprout Social .
While this can be useful for eliminating certain platforms (for example, you likely wouldn’t use Pinterest if your main target market was men), it doesn’t necessarily help with choosing the best of the rest. For example, you will see that the 18-29 age bracket are the highest adopters of every platform, with the exception of LinkedIn. Additionally, Facebook dominates almost every area. Which may mean that you need to have a presence on there, but whether it is your primary focus or not is another question.
So instead of just focusing on the demographics, think about your target markets wants and needs, their stage in life and how they are likely to use social media. Put yourself in their shoes.
And while you are at it, think about the times they are likely to be online. Depending on your target audience they will be there at different times of days. If you are focusing on the professional world, you’ll likely want to be posting during business hours at the beginning of the day but if you targeting mums then you would be better served posting during average nap times and after kids are in bed.
Side Note: If you want more guidance on profiling your Target Market, check out this post & accompanying worksheet.
Q2: Where do your Competition and your Potential Collaborators hang out?
Taking a slightly different slant on the above but perhaps the biggest hint of all.
You can learn a lot about where your competitors are active and putting in the most effort. This could give you and idea of where you need to be also. OR it could help you identify a gap you could fill.
Similarly, where do your potential collaborators hang out? Businesses that offer similar products or services to yours. Not only are they likely to have the same target market as yours, they are also the ones that you could potentially work with to help build awareness of each other’s businesses.
Q3: What Platform Suits your Style?
Are you a more visual person or a words person? Does the idea of video excite you or scare you? Do you prefer a more authentic behind the scenes vibe or a polished, professional look?
What platform just appeals you the most? Which gives off the right vibe and cultural fit?
I’m being careful not to talk about which platform you are “comfortable” with. This is because comfort often comes with familiarity. And while being familiar with a certain platform is a plus, I don’t want you to eliminate one just because you haven’t had a good look into it yet.
PLUS one question I didn’t ask (on Purpose): What suits your business type?
I didn’t ask this question because in this modern era it actually can suit better to think outside of the box of business types. Yes, “product” businesses suit visual platforms really well but that doesn’t exclude informational platforms as you can still create great content to help promote your business. Similarly, services or information based businesses might traditionally suit information based platforms but there is nothing stopping them from creating great visuals or videos.
The main thing is to be where your audience is and to be there in a way that can suit your style. Then you can use a little creativity and find the best way to adapt to that platform.
So Which One?
Once you have answered each of the above questions, you should have a fair idea of where you need to be. But if you are still unsure here’s a little bit of an overview of the main platforms and where you might want to consider being.
But if all else fails, just try one!! Focus on it for a month, ensuring you are doing it to the best of your ability, adapting to the culture of the platform, are posting regularly enough and at the right times and are interacting.
The biggest platform by far, and the one that covers the most demographics. This can make it difficult to be seen though unless you work with the platform which means utilising video, using ads or participating in groups. All in addition to maintaining your page. The vibe on Facebook is more casual and they put a strong emphasis on family and friends, so while it is a great way for businesses to find the right audience, the interaction needs to be entertaining, casual and informative – not just a sales pitch.
Recommended Posting Frequency: 2 Times a Day
For some Facebook Tips, click here.
Highly visual and polished, Instagram has a much more positive feel that other platforms. However, the expectation is to meet a certain visual standard, especially in some fields. This “perfectionism” vibe, however, could be changing with the introduction of stories. It also appeals to a younger audience with 53% of 18-29 year olds on it but only 25% of 30-49 year olds.
While historically it has been seen as more valuable to those of us producing products, service and information based businesses can also get in on the action with tips, content promotions and behind the scenes information. The key is to show your uniqueness and to have a consistent brand look & feel.
Recommended Posting Frequency: 2-3 times a day
For some Instagram Tips, click here.
Twitter’s big strength is its ability to share expertise, so it can be a highly useful platform to anyone offering services and information products. If you have content to promote, like a blog, Twitter provides a great way to do this.
The culture of twitter is also one of retweeting and sharing others content so it can be useful for getting your information out to other people’s audiences.
However, to be effective on Twitter, you need to be posting often as the news feed moves so quickly.
Recommended Posting Frequency: 5-10 Tweets per Day (combination of others content & yours)
For some Twitter Tips, click here.
While also a visual medium, unlike Instagram, Pinterest encourages action to be taken on the images. This could mean clicking through to your website to read an article or even buying directly from the Pinterest screen. It is also somewhere between a search engine and a social media platform. People go on there to look for inspiration or for a certain topic, not just to see what the people they follow are doing. This makes it a great way for new businesses to begin to see some exposure.
Dominated by a female audience, its adoption by age range is fairly even from 18 through to 64. Suitable for products and services and surprisingly a great vehicle for promoting blogs.
To be truly effective, Pinterest does require some solid time investment in creating great Pin Images and also repinning others content. But don’t let that stop you as the payoff can be huge.
Recommended Posting Frequency: A lot! More is better with Pinterest but you need to spread out pinning your own pins to different group boards and at different times of day. Then repin alot more of others pins than you own.
For a Guide on Getting Started with Pinterest, click here.
If you are selling to businesses or corporate, LinkedIn is the place to be. One of they key reasons for this is that unlike the other social media platforms above, LinkedIn is not frowned upon to be looking at when you are the workplace. So decision makers within those organisations can be browsing when they are at work and in the correct frame of mind.
Additionally, LinkedIn provides it’s own content platform which enables you to reach a much wider audience with a professional image.
LinkedIn users are slightly older, averaging between 30 – 64 and tend to be higher income earners.
Recommended Posting Frequency: Once a day
Social Media is one of the best methods of getting your marketing messages out, especially at the beginning of your business. However, it can quickly become overwhelming and too often we spread ourselves too thin across all of them and don’t end up doing anything as effectively as we should. So please I encourage you to choose a platform, commit to it for a period of time and perhaps most importantly, measure your results!
Make sure to keep track of not only how many followers you have or likes you get but more importantly how many people are clicking through to your website and converting to email subscribers and/or customers.
Finally, if you haven’t done so already make sure you get the 12 Page Get Social Media Savvy Workbook here.