This quick guide will help you decide how to select the best social media channels for your business to get the most from your investment.
In today’s frantic online world, a social media presence is a necessary tool for every business that wants to remain relevant and continue to grow going forward. Having at least one social media account gives your business legitimacy, as oftentimes consumers will search their socials to see which business looks the best.
When you realize that over half the world’s population has at least one form of social media, its importance skyrockets. Getting started can be a daunting task for those unfamiliar, however, it is totally worth it. There are many different social media platforms, but only a few are necessary. Certain platforms’ audiences work better for certain businesses, and I’m here to help you make that decision.
Just to get an idea of how popular each social media platform is, here is a list of the monthly active users (in millions) as of July 2020 (Statista). As you can see, Facebook leads the way with over 2.6 billion monthly users.
What do you want your social media to offer?
Different businesses aim to achieve different goals with their socials. Some of the most popular benefits include:
- CUSTOMER SERVICE: Adding another customer service offering by allowing customers to direct message your account with any questions or concerns they may have.
- BRAND AWARENESS: As the previous graphic displayed, over half the world is on social media. There is a high chance your business will be discovered by new customers due to the sheer value of users.
- HUMANIZE YOUR BRAND: Many people will not trust a brand until they’ve seen them working with real people. Share the content of past work you’ve done for others, good reviews, etc. to show that your business is not only helpful but real.
- GENERATE LEADS: Social media is an easy way for potential customers to engage and express interest in your business. The best platforms for lead generation are Facebook, then LinkedIn, followed by Instagram.
- PROMOTE CONTENT: If you’re already making content for a website, why not promote it. This is a great way to display your expertise while hopefully growing your audience.
- LEARN ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS: Whatever social platforms you choose to use will likely offer analytical data about your customers. This information can be used to gain knowledge of your consumer base and make more effective decisions going forward.
While this list provides many benefits, it is not exhaustive, there are many more reasons hopping on the social media bandwagon is worth it.
Which platform is best for your target?
As I mentioned, certain platforms’ audiences work better for certain businesses, and I’m here to help you make that decision. For example, if your target market is retired workers, you probably want to avoid a youth-driven app such as TikTok.
While finding the perfect platform may require more in-depth personalized research such as asking your actual customers which platforms they are on; it is much easier to look at the predetermined demographics of each platform, and try to match it up with your target market.
Here is a summary that provides various demographic variables such as age, income, location, education, and more. All of the major social platforms’ demographics are provided, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Youtube.
Here is an example of Instagram’s demographics:
What type of media will you be posting?
The last thing you should consider before choosing the perfect social media platform is what type of content you will be creating. Various media types include video, blogs, news, photographs, webinars, live streams, testimonials, research, podcasts, etc.
Whichever you decide will be most prominent on your page should impact your decision on which platform to use.
Which social media platform to choose for your business?
After taking into account the pre-discussed variables, it’s time to make the final decision. Here is a summary of each social media platform you should be considering:
Facebook: The most popular social media by a landslide. Facebook is popular among most age groups but majorly ages 18-64. It has an advertising platform that is highly customizable and allows the user the ability to target specific audiences. This correlates to the ample lead generation possibilities within the platform. Check out our beginners guide to Facebook ads. Facebook is excellent for reaching mass numbers of people. It also allows users to message each other, leave comments, create groups, and more. Thus, it is great for not only maintaining relationships but creating them too. If choosing this platform, try and share content that your followers will find useful, inspiring, and unique. You don’t want your Facebook page to be a second website, so don’t treat it as such. Facebook is a hub for various types of content, limitations are narrow.
If you’re interested in using Facebook, great news, here’s a guide on how to get your first 500 Facebook fans.
Instagram: Instagram is a majorly visual platform, wherein users can share images or videos with text captions. The Instagram age demographic is dominated by users aged 13-29, and to a lesser extent, ages 30-49. Users majorly access the platform from their phones, so if your content is mobile-friendly, that’s a big plus. The number one thing you should be considering before creating your Instagram account is whether or not you sell visual products. Pictures are undoubtedly the number one source of user connection, thus you will need to have engaging visual content. However, if done right, any product or service can be manipulated to look good, therefore bolstering your business’s image. If you hoped to garner clicks through to your website or other media, Instagram is not the place. You cannot post links on your Instagram posts. As a result of this, it is mainly used for reputation management, promotion, and customer relations. You can also search through several hashtags to find other pages in your target. Check our article on how to find the best hashtags for your industry.
Luckily for you, I have an in-depth beginner’s guide to Instagram.
Twitter: Twitter is a platform that promotes immediacy. Whether through announcements, breaking news, or any other real-time information, you want to be on your toes. The age demographic of Twitter is pretty consistent throughout the age group of 13-49. Twitter is good for monitoring competition, engaging with customers, and creating business networks. If you’re looking to maintain relevance for trending topics around the world, this platform is great. The ability to search for any hashtag to find posts surrounding it is a good tool. The best type of content to post on this platform is textual content. Things such as news updates, how-to-guides, tips, quotes, etc. While you can also post images and videos, short and sweet text-based content is notoriously the most successful.
If you require assistance, read my Twitter for business guide.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is by far the most business-savvy social platform. The majority of its audience are working people between the ages of 30 and 49. If you want to establish your business professionally, LinkedIn is the place to go. LinkedIn allows users to connect, creating a huge opportunity for lead generation. It’s easy to have positive conversations with mutuals or even strangers about the topics your company strives in. The main content type used is editorial content, workplace news, motivational media, and new to LinkedIn, stories.
These are the main social media platforms we recommend businesses adopt. However, other platforms can also be beneficial if they suit your industry. Other platforms you should consider include:
Pinterest: Pinterest is a visually focused platform. Dominated in use by women, this social form is great for businesses that want to showcase products or unique content surrounding areas such as art, decorations, food, fashion, anything home-made, inspiration, and more.
Youtube: Youtube is huge. Nearly everybody uses the video-sharing platform. Thus, if you plan on creating video-based media, look no further. As video’s prominence expands throughout socials, garnering a Youtube presence should be a priority.
TikTok: TikTok is the rising sensation of social platforms. Like Youtube, TikTok is a video-based platform that allows users to create clips up to a minute long, content often features lip-syncing, filters, and a lot of trend following. TikTok has a charming rawness to it that allows brands to express themselves in untraditional methods. Over 50% of TikTok’s fan base is under the age of 34. Great for businesses targeting a young demographic.
Snapchat: If your business is catered towards a young audience, Snapchat is a major asset. A survey found that Snapchat is the most important social network for 41% of teens (Statista). If you want to attract a younger audience, take advantage of the youth craze for this platform.
Still indecisive? Check-in on competition
While it may not be the proudest option, it is always smart to keep an eye on the competition. Do some market research and identify what factors might be giving others a leg-up on you. If you have a list of competitors, review what they’re doing on social media. If not, I strongly recommend making a list of other companies to keep your eye on. Go deeper than just glancing at which social platforms they have a presence on, monitor the type of content they are publishing. Some questions you should be asking yourself is whether they’re using paid media, organic content, the frequency of posts, the engagement levels or any other variety.
Another thing you can do is check the “Page Transparency” of the competition on Facebook. This will show you if they’re running ads or not. Below is what it looks like for my agency’s Facebook page. You can click on the “Ads” section to view any ads the page is running.
As described previously, this ever-changing world is hastily moving towards digital dominance. Therefore, a social media presence is a necessary tool for every business that wants to remain relevant and continue to grow going forward. If you’re not started yet, it’s never too late. However, it’s crucial to get your business online as soon as possible. The key to choosing the right social media platform for your business is identifying your goals, what content you want to offer, and the target market you want to infiltrate. Good luck!