Tips on how to choose the right social media channel for your small business

No matter the size or success of your business, implementing social media marketing is a necessary tool in this day and age. With over 4.62 billion social media users worldwide, and over 76% of consumers using social media as a means for brand research, it is imperative that your business engage with audiences online, and increase brand awareness. Consumers are choosing to spend more of their time on social media platforms versus traditional channels. If you aren’t using social media to market your business, you’re missing out on one of the most valuable marketing resources: peoples attention. 

It may seem overwhelming to think about building your online presence, with so many options available. Since you are going to be spending time and resources on your social media efforts, you want to extract maximum value. While having any social media presence is a starting point – your business will need to choose the right platform and discover how to use it effectively. 

What Are My Options?

Most social media users use a range of 5 to 8 apps on their phone. Some of the most popular used apps are:  

  • Instagram 
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Linkedin 
  • Snapchat 
  • Youtube 
  • TikTok 
  • Pinterest 

While these platforms are vastly different, they can each be utilized to their own strengths, and used together for a cohesive social media presence. 

Let’s get started on how to decide what social media platforms are right for you.

What Is Your Company Selling?

What social media platform you should use varies depending on what product or service you are providing. A large department store and a local bike repair shop will likely use different social media platforms and different marketing strategies.  

Consider these questions:

  • What product/services are you selling?
  • Are you B2B or B2C?  
  • What industry are you in?
  • How are others in my industry advertising?
  • What social media channels am I currently using, if any?

Research, Research, Research!

If you are unfamiliar with social media platforms, now is the time to get acquainted with them, and how they are used. Familiarize yourself with what people are liking, posting, sharing, and what current trends are. Then you should start researching similar brands and competitors to see what content they are posting. By knowing what your competitors’ online presence is like, you will also get an understanding of how their audience engages with them. After you have a feel for what content is out there, you will start to have a better understanding of what your social media strategy can become. 

Who Is Your Audience?

One of the biggest factors when it comes to choosing what platform to use is knowing who your target audience is, and what their online behavior is like. This will dictate what social media platforms you should choose to use. Your messaging will not get across to your targeted audience if you choose a platform they do not use.

Customer Demographics

Most ages still use a variety of platforms, some groups have certain preferences. For example, Instagram ranked as the favorite social media platform for age groups 16-34, while Facebook ranked as the favorite for ages 35-54. If your target market is ages 16-24 then you will need to employ different social media and creative strategies, than if your target audience is in their 50’s. With age comes the differences in personalities, preferences and lifestyle. 

Some questions to ask about your target audience:

  • What is their age range?
  • What is their lifestyle like?
  • What region do they live in?
  • What trends are they participating in?
  • What products are they interested in? 
  • Who do they follow on social media platforms?

Follow Your Customer

If you discover through your research that your target audience is already engaged with a certain social media platform, then great! Go to the app where your target audience is spending the most time. This will be much easier than trying to cultivate a following from scratch on a certain app, when your target audience is all using a different one. 

What Are Your Goals?

When creating and sharing your content, you want to think about what you are trying to achieve. Is your goal to educate people on how to use a product? Is it to get to your customers better? Is it to announce the launch of a new service? What your goal is will influence the types of tools you should use.

For example, if you are trying to market your restaurant,  you’re going to want to post high quality visuals of the food on Instagram, because it is a platform for creative photos. If you want to directly address your followers and do a Q&A, you can employ instagram stories. 

Each platform will help you achieve a unique goal and engage with your audience in different ways. 

Utilize Your Resources

Many businesses do not have the resources to employ a large expensive marketing team. However it doesn’t take experience or a large team to start generating creative content. Chances are there is someone on your team that is well versed in at least a few social media platforms. Start by posting value driven content and focus on quality over quantity. There’s no need to be posting thoughtless content on 8 different platforms and seeing low engagement. Start with one platform, and be committed to tracking your progress over time. 

Give It Time

One thing to keep in mind about your social media presence is that it will take time to grow your audience and engagement.  You may not see the results or numbers that you want right away, and feel discouraged. Remember that there is no one size fits all approach or “perfect” way to approach a social media strategy. Many things you will learn through trial and error, feedback, and eventually analytics. The most important thing is to be consistent and take the time to form an authentic following. Followers notice consistent and creative content, and you have the power to make a small following feel like an involved community.  

We hope our tips were helpful and can’t wait to see your business on social media!