Deciding which social media platform is best for your business can be a challenge. One of the most common questions we hear is, “do I need I need to be on all of them?” The short answer is “no,” especially when you consider the vast number and variety of social media platforms available.
You don’t want to spread yourself too thin, especially when considering your marketing budget. Effectively maintaining multiple social channels is time-consuming, especially when allocating resources to produce a steady stream of content. So how do you decide which platforms are best for your company and your customers?
Three steps to determine which social media platform is best for your business
You don't necessarily have to complete these steps in order. But, if you're looking to gain some meaningful ROI out of your social media marketing efforts, these are a great start.
Step One: Understand the needs and preferences of your audience
The first step in shaping your online presence is understanding your audience. Make sure you’re acutely aware of their likes, tastes, language, and culture. Learn how they like to receive information, and most importantly, know where they are. Developing audience personas based on research and real data is key to obtaining this kind of information.
Each social channel has its own unique way of connecting to an audience. An understanding of the tone and frequency plays a major role in shaping your content, and the voice you use to communicate your message. A common misconception is that one social media platform skews to a vastly different demographic than others. This isn’t always the case.
While Tik Tok appeals most to those between the ages of 10 and 19, its userbase is quickly aging up. One of the most popular company accounts is Flex Seal, the company that makes liquid rubber products for leak prevention. With 1.9 million followers, it’s hardly a product aimed solely at young adults.
Flex Seal’s videos show the product in action and demonstrate unique applications in DIY projects. They're fun and might be considered a little bit cheesy, but they work wonders.
Video is a great way to promote a business, providing you have the time and budget to do so. It allows you to tell your stories concisely and catch the viewers’ interest quickly. With a typical user spending an average of 52 minutes a day watching videos, having a Tik Tok account is worth considering.
Know which platforms your audience uses most
Of course, whether you believe TikTok or Instagram's visual nature works better for your audience, or the long-form written content found more frequently on LinkedIn, none of it matters if you're putting time and effort into communicating to an audience that isn't there. A business selling a product geared toward teens of purchasing age is unlikely to find success by putting a high priority on LinkedIn, while a SaaS company specializing in project management software likely will.
Which social media platform is best for your business comes down to communicating to your audience in the right way, on the platforms your audience frequents most.
Step Two: Get familiar with the best approach to each platform
We’ve already discussed Tik Tok, but let’s quickly review a few of the other most popular channels to see the advantages of each.
Despite its share of bad press, Facebook is still king of the metaverse with 2.89 billion monthly active users. Facebook is very user-friendly and gives customers easy access to two-way communication (Messenger, etc.) for extra support. Facebook allows for the creation of business pages, which enables users to find important information about your business. The platform’s paid ads are cost-effective and easy to use and can connect you with customers not only on Facebook but on Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger as well.
With one billion monthly active users, Instagram is the second most accessed social network behind Facebook. 83% of users have discovered a new product or service on the platform. Like Tik Tok, Instagram is all about visuals. Instagram is best for showcasing products and company culture. Everything on Instagram should either have a distinct visual appeal, include a human element, or be geared towards engagement.
For those with limited time, getting meaningful ROI on Instagram can be difficult. Running a successful Instagram account requires a big commitment. A good start is to create an editorial calendar and post frequently (at least once per day), depending on your specific goals with the platform.
With 774 million+ members, LinkedIn is a social platform with a solid focus on business. Members are motivated to keep up on the latest news and trends, and 40% of them scroll through their feeds every day. LinkedIn particularly has advantages for B2B companies and can drive 80% of their social media leads.
When users follow business accounts on LinkedIn, they're typically looking for informational, valuable content that will provide some insight into something they're interested in or something that will help them do their jobs better or more efficiently. A good LinkedIn strategy is one where learning is at the center, with in-depth, thought-provoking content centred on the world of work.
Twitter is all about real-time communication. It's best for content that is meant to spark conversation and requires a dedicated focus on high-frequency, high-value content. With 300+ million active users, there is a huge opportunity to build a substantial brand community on Twitter.
Like Instagram, Twitter can be a difficult platform for those with time constraints, as posting engaging content multiple times per day is one of the keys to success.
A note on paid vs. organic social campaigns
One aspect of social media not bound by platform is the conversation around paid vs. organic campaigns. Both have a place in a well-rounded social media marketing strategy, but they have different requirements and best practices for success. Content that is solely promotional and content that could be described as a digital advertisement should be reserved for paid campaigns. Why? For one, paid campaigns reach beyond your followers. You're able to target specific audiences for your content and increase the likelihood that you're going to see a return on your investment.
Organic social, on the other hand, should be geared towards the purpose and value of the platform itself. Think of it this way: you don't read a newspaper for the advertisements. They're part of the experience, but it's not why you read it in the first place. The same goes for Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, or any other social platform. Users do not use the platform to be advertised to. So, if they follow you, they're doing so for content that is valuable to them, in line with the spirit of the platform. They accept they may see advertisements from you. But, they want more. If there's nothing but self-promotional, advertisement-esque content on your organic feeds, you're likely to be ignored.
Treat users with respect and respect the reason they're on any given platform in the first place. It will go a long way toward ensuring success in social media marketing.
Step Three: Identify specific business goals and create a marketing strategy to achieve them
It’s critical to identify your business goals first, as your marketing strategy will flow directly from them. Social media marketing can be an effective tool in your marketing strategy, but not all business goals will benefit from it. Your marketing strategy is also where you'll probably build your audience personas. Though, there are times when it makes sense to build audience personas for specific, targeted campaigns.
Before you include social media marketing in your strategy, decide what you're trying to accomplish. Identify who your steady clients or customers are and which new groups you want to reach. What are the dangers, opportunities, and strengths for your business?
Is social media marketing right for your business? It can be. If done right.
Social media can go a long way towards supporting your business goals. It can drive traffic to your website and help you evolve your brand. The key is to use the right platforms, create the right content for your audience, and know when to pull the paid level vs. the organic one (and how to do each the best way possible). Often, knowing what's "right" requires trial and error. So don't be afraid to test, learn, and apply.
There’s nothing wrong with starting small and increasing your social media presence over time. You might even decide that social media marketing, whether paid or organic, isn't going to provide the type of ROI you need. That's ok. A great presence on social media takes a focused effort and is something to admire. Sometimes, from a business and brand perspective, it can be hard to tell the difference between a presence without a concentrated effort behind it and no presence at all.
But if you put in the effort toward understanding your audience and all the nuances of social media itself, the returns can be more than worth the effort.