Last Updated: Feb 24, 2016
You could have a presence on every social media site out there if you had unlimited time – but you don’t. Here’s how you can figure out which social media platforms are the best for your business.
Social media is big, right? There’s no denying that you could put a lot of time into trying to have a presence on all of the major networks but there’s a problem—you don’t have that kind of time. Instead of trying to have a presence on all of them, the better strategy is to pick one or two and concentrate your efforts there. The question becomes, which networks fit your business the best?
Facebook is, by far, the largest social network on the planet. With 1.04 billion daily active users, Facebook would be the third largest country in the world if it had a physical presence. According to the company, about 84% of its users are outside of the United States and Canada but even if you aren’t a multinational company, there’s still plenty of reasons to use Facebook.
You might have heard that Facebook has become the network for the older audience. Although it’s true that teens are flocking toward other networks like Instagram and Snapchat, Facebook still has as its largest audience the 18-29 crowd.
If you can only pick one social network, it would be Facebook. Because Facebook has a strong user base of adults, the ones that have money to spend, spending time on Facebook is a no-brainer if you’re looking for an all-purpose social network. Even if your business caters largely to the teenage crowd, you still want to reach their parents.
Don’t listen to the people who say that Facebook is dying. The network continues to grow and shows no signs of letting up.
First, let’s set some context. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, there are a lot of similarities between the platforms although loyal users say that they’re on Instagram because they dislike Facebook. In fact, if you use Facebook advertising, you now have the option to advertise on Instagram as well.
With 300 million users and still growing, Instagram is worth your time, especially if your business caters to the younger audience. 32% of teens identify Instagram as their most important social network but the platform is gaining popularity with adults as well.
Because Instagram doesn’t allow links, business pages, or other features specifically catered to businesses, your presence will feel very personal, even if you advertise. If you use Instagram, you’ll want somebody with an eye for photography because the platform is designed to be highly visual. If you’re an accounting firm, for example, Instagram probably isn’t going to be the network of choice for you. On the flipside, if you’re a clothing retailer, it’s perfect.
Twitter is widely known as an influencer’s network. You’ll find high profile people on Twitter. People with celebrity status, yes, but more important, well-respected people in their fields. If you’re an architect, you’re likely to find the leaders in the architecture industry on Twitter.
You probably don’t need to use it to advertise your retail store but as a well-known consultant in your field, you’ll probably find it worth your time.
Recently, Twitter’s COO, Adam Bain said that the company’s focus is largely on the live experience. Periscope is how the company will do that. Periscope allows you to create live broadcasts from your phone or tablet and broadcast them to all of your followers. Periscope is an up-and-comer in the social space but is rapidly gaining traction.
Don’t forget that statistics show that people like text but they love video and pictures. Any business can benefit from using Periscope. Broadcast from your factory, broadcast a weekly podcast-style session as a thought leader in your field, or just have some fun and give your business a human side.
If you’re over 30, you probably don’t use Snapchat. In fact, more than 70% of Snapchat’s users are between the ages of 18 and 34. If you don’t know about Snapchat, users can send pictures to a list of followers but the image only lasts for a few seconds. Some major brands now have Snapchat including the NBA, McDonalds, Taco Bell, and many more. Brands often use Snapchat to set up an air of secrecy taking their followers behind the scenes of their business. There are probably better ways to use to your social media time than Snapchat but if your business caters to younger people and it’s fun and media friendly, (you have something interesting to share) Snapchat might present some opportunities.
Yes, everything you have heard about Pinterest is true. It’s all about the ladies. Nearly 70% of its users are female and yes, you’ll find more about interior design than you will about fishing. If you run a bait and tackle business, Pinterest is probably a waste of your time but if you’re a fashion blog, or a graphic designer, Pinterest is a great way to establish authority in your market. If your business appeals to females, Pinterest is worth consideration especially since it’s users spend more time on it than Facebook.
You probably won’t use LinkedIn to advertise your next storewide sale but if you’re a consultant, content marketer, PR person, or own a business that is largely about connecting with others, you want to be on LinkedIn. Don’t think of LinkedIn as a way to advertise your business to customers; instead, use it to connect with other professionals in your industry and gain exposure.
For example, you might look for journalists who cover topics that fit your business. If you own a personal training business, you might look for sports journalists or if you’re a financial advisor, look for financial journalists. Or look for people who own businesses that would compliment yours. A personal trainer might look for people working in the sports equipment or apparel industry.
Networking is what often gives a small business the momentum to become larger. That’s the strength of LinkedIn.
Whatever you do, the modern social media landscape requires a go-big-or-go-home mentality. You can’t dip your toe in the water; you have to fully immerse yourself to make it worth your while. For that reason, find one or two networks that fit your customer and concentrate your efforts. That’s the best way to find the success you’re looking for.
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