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How to decide the best platforms for marketing your business

You’ve got a business and you need to market it. People need to know you exist and how they can find you. Sounds easy enough, especially when we live in the era of Social Media, right? Just throw some posts up and you’re good, no?  Maybe ten years ago, but not now. 

There are reportedly over 500 social networks and counting.  While some channels come and go (RIP, Google+), there are six top channels that are likely in it for the long haul. And as it’s not physically possible to be active on all of them (nor would you want to, but more about that later) those companies just starting out may feel like they need to try. A new brand needs as much exposure and awareness as possible – understandably, they want to be everywhere to achieve maximum reach.  What you’ll find is that a more targeted strategy will yield better and long-lasting results as opposed to a blanket, one-size-fits-all methodology.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed trying to keep running on the hamster wheel of posting, it’s time to take a step back and figure out your social media sweet spot.

Repeat after me: I do not need to be on every social media network. 

It’s much more important to have an active and engaged audience on one or two networks than to have a bunch of people across every platform who never read your posts or respond to them.  

Daily posting isn’t necessary either.  Two to three well thought out valued-filled posts a week are much more effective than a hurried and panicked “I don’t know what to post today, so I’ll just post this …” mentality. 

When trying to find out the best channel for your business, it’s important to answer a couple of questions first:

  1. Who is my ideal customer?
  2. Do they have kids? A truck? A koi pond?
  3. Where do they live? What do they do for a living?
  4. Which platform(s) do they spend time on?
  5. How old are they? 

Answering these questions will give you insight into which platform aligns best with your existing and future customers. Some of this information may be available through your CRM, but if you don’t know the answers to these questions – ask! Make a few interactive quiz or poll posts on your existing social pages or website for quick and easy market research.

For this blog post we’ll focus on the top 6 networks:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn

These six are the most well-known and used world-wide, applicable to most industries/niches,  and so are generally where people choose to market their businesses.  

Let’s review each one to help determine which fits best for your business.

  1. Facebook 

The big granddaddy of them all. Used by 180+ million businesses for advertising and 2.7 billion monthly active users, this one goes to the top of the class. It’s been around for long enough that an older audience is comfortable with using it, while younger generations tend to spend their social media hours elsewhere.  If your company has customers who average 35 and older, definitely include this platform in your strategy.

  1. Twitter 

This channel continues to grow;  at last check with 152 million monetizable daily active users. Of these, Americans comprise 15% of Twitters total monthly users worldwide – putting them at the top of the platform’s user base. A quick-moving hashtag-driven search haven for those who want to get bite-sized pieces of information at the push of button. With a 280 character limit this is great for users who move quick and enjoy these microblogs as their preferred method of information intake.

  1. Instagram

The images and graphics grab your attention, but the captions are where the stories are found. Crafting a caption has become an artform, drawing users in to inspire, educate, and inform.  The app has been busy rolling out new features to keep users on the app more engaged and for longer – Stories, Reels, Guides, IGTV, lives and I’m sure, more in the works. This is a great place to tell a story and grow a community.  With a reach of 140 million users in the U.S. and a nearly even gender ratio (51F/49M) it’s one to consider. And if that doesn’t convince you – 200 million users visit at least one business profile per day.  

  1. Pinterest

Not just for moms craft projects anymore! Male users are on the rise (more than 20%) here, and everyone uses it as a research portal. A large majority of female users head to Pinterest to help with planning ‘life events’ so you’ll definitely want your business to have a presence here if you serve that niche.  The site is used to find inspiration and ideas for big purchases and share ‘pins’ they’ve liked and tried with other users. And the biggest benefit to using Pinterest? The lifespan of a pin can be close to two months! When you compare it with other social media channels, where posts are gone in hours (or minutes) from your newsfeed, Pinterest leaves them all in the dust!

  1. YouTube

People may not realize this, but YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. With 2 billion users and growing, if you cater to 18-34 year olds you should work on including this into your marketing strategy. As video content can sometimes require a bit more experience in compiling and producing compared to other channels, YouTube might be a good step for more medium-sized businesses who are ready to add it to their social media strategy and have the resources to outsource the production of videos rather than doing it in-house. 

  1. LinkedIn

If you provide SaaS or primarily a B2C organization, then get on #TeamLinkedIn right away.  It’s no longer just a place to search for jobs. With 700 million active users you can connect with other professionals, and follow industry thought-leaders. They also offer “LinkedIn Learning” where you can take courses on several business topics and programs (from video editing to Microsoft Excel and everything in between). Live streams have spiked 158% in use, especially during the pandemic. LinkedIn users skew slightly more males than females (57%/43%) and it is by far the best site for lead generation.

“When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.” 

Meredith Hill

As stated earlier, you don’t need to be on every social network. If your customer base is parents-to-be and grandparents ready to spoil their grandkids, you can probably put LinkedIn on the backburner.  Narrow down your audience and wherever they are, that’s where you need to be.

Are you comfortable with Facebook from personal use? Then start there. Start a page for your business, post relevant and helpful content related to your industry.  Grow a community – remember it’s called social media for a reason.  Interact with your followers, start discussions, ask questions of them and they’ll give back to you.

As your community grows in engagement and you feel confident in one channel, then think of adding a second one to compliment your offering and expand your reach. A health social media strategy is one that includes an engaged and happy audience.

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