Choosing the RIGHT Social Media Outlet for your Small Business
 
Posted on July 17, 2018

 

Running a small business can be very stressful and time consuming. Most small businesses face the same major challenges: limited cash flow and a shortage of manpower. With a lot of different responsibilities to juggle, it can be hard to find time to release business information to the public via social media. This is why small businesses should not worry about being active on ALL social media platforms. Instead, they should devote their limited time and resources to the ones that will be the most beneficial them.

Deciding which outlet is best for you means that you have to do your homework (that’s right, hit the books). Putting in your due diligence can save you time and money by avoiding projects that will not bring you any return. There are a number of factors that should be considered when mapping out your social media strategy.
The first step you should take is identifying your audience. Who are you trying to reach? You want to be as specific as possible with this because your findings here will lead you to the right platform to share your message. Who is your typical customer? What’s their age, gender, location, income level, education, etc. (otherwise known as demographics)? What are their interests and hobbies outside of your product or service? How do they consume media content? The answers to these questions will give you a profile of the members of your audience. Remember, you don’t just want to reach the most people, you want to reach the RIGHT people.
 
The second step is to define the goals and mission of your business. Of course, the main goal for every business is to drive sales by attracting customers, but you can create specific goals for your social media campaign. Do you want to generate brand awareness and grow your social following? Maybe you want to build meaningful relationships with your customer base? Do you want to showcase insights and expertise with videos? Are you seeking to connect with other businesses? What type of content will your business share? Collaborate with your staff to determine both the common and uncommon ways each social media platform could work for your business. Knowing what you want to accomplish will better filter the number of socials down to the ones that will be most valuable to your small business.
 
With steps one and two complete, it’s time to move on to finding where your potential customers are. With a better understanding of your target audience, you can examine each platform to determine if the average user fits your audience demographics. Find which platforms your audience is most active on. Consider frequency of activity. How often do they post or engage with content? Other than demographic category or engagement, you will also want to consider the way the platform is utilized. Is the content constrained to pictures or video (Instagram/YouTube)? Is there a character limit to posts (Twitter)? Is it used for business (LinkedIn)? Knowing where your audience lives and what type of content they are consuming will help you build your marketing plan.

FACEBOOK

Facebook is the kitchen sink of all social media platforms. This means it does everything and everyone is on it. Facebook boasts an impressive 2.19 billion (with a B) active monthly users in the first quarter of 2018 (Statista). That’s nearly double the population size of India! A whopping 61% of Facebook users are between the ages of 25-54 years old. Among this group, 44% check Facebook multiple times a day, giving your business a huge opportunity to be noticed by this demographic. The majority of people active in the economy fall into this age group, making Facebook a great platform for almost any small business. When getting started, remember to consider how people use Facebook; they want to build relationships and keep in contact with friends, relatives, and close associates, so be sure to post genuine, engaging content. The downside of Facebook is that it’s hard to attract a new audience on this platform and it may not be as effective if you are looking to reach a younger age group. If 25 is too old for you, consider using Instagram.

INSTAGRAM

For businesses targeting a younger demographic, Instagram is the way to go. Of internet users aged 18-29, 54% are active on Instagram. Of that number, around 60% log on daily. The user number has surpassed 500 million and shows no signs of slowing down. While both men and women turn to Instagram to share their photos and videos with friends, women tend to use it more often. Instagram targeting is also reliant on location, with a majority of users in urban or suburban areas and very few users in rural areas. It’s important to remember that Instagram is visually based, meaning it relies on content such as photo and video. As a result, it works tremendously well for visual-based businesses like ones in the food, art, retail, and real estate industries. Because Instagram is young and still growing, it’s a great tool for generating new leads and reaching a wide audience.

LINKEDIN

Let’s get down to business. (Business to business marketing, that is). If you are doing B2B work, LinkedIn is the best way to connect with other businesses. LinkedIn has the great distinction of being the social network for old people. It holds the largest group of users aged 30-49 amongst all other social platforms. LinkedIn has a uniquely narrow focus; most people use it to search for jobs, watch educational videos, and network professionally. Although its function isn’t the most interesting and exciting, it’s extremely useful for B2B lead generation, recruiting new employees, and general networking.

 

While these three are our top recommendations, you may find other channels best suit your needs (don’t let us tell you what to do). Consider asking other professionals in your field what has worked best for them. Most importantly, remember to do your research and put your best foot forward. Show the world what makes your business special.