At this point we all know how important having a strong presence on social media is to any business, but the most common social strategy mistake comes when you stop there. It’s easy to understand the importance of social media platforms without being able to navigate making them work for your specific business.
One of the biggest hurdles companies face on social media is knowing which platforms to prioritize. Unless you’re a huge company with a dedicated team of social media strategists, you simply can’t have a strong presence on every platform. What this means is, you have to choose a few (very few) platforms to go all in on.
Choosing Social Media Platforms for Your Business
Social media is always changing, and staying up to date on every change is not easy. But all of this keeping up will seem much less overwhelming when you’re focusing on a few platforms that are tailored to your business. When choosing these platforms, there are three main things you need to consider.
#1: Are you B2C, B2B, or both?
In 2019, we aren’t quite to the point where people go to social media strictly to buy things. There are always exceptions, but generally speaking, people on social media are at the very top of the sales funnel. So consider your social ads and whether or not they’re targeting the right buyer’s stage—if they aren’t, you’re just wasting your time and money. The likelihood of someone traveling all the way down the sales funnel after seeing your ad is extremely slim, so keep this in mind when writing your ads.
The best B2B social strategies aim to gather leads and generate interest in your company, your products, and your services. The most effective ways to do this are by blogging regularly, creating “lead magnets,” like case studies and e-books, and promoting your company on B2B-specific platforms like LinkedIn.
#2: Who is in your target audience?
There are thousands of social media ads floating around out there that are laughably ill-targeted. Blanket ads like those not only waste your money but make you look like you aren’t doing your research! Ask yourself the following questions to better round out your target audience.
- Where does your audience live?
- What is your target buyer’s average age and gender?
- What’s their average income?
- Do they own homes?
- Do they have kids?
- What industries do they work in?
- What do they do for fun?
- What challenges do they face?
- What problems do they need solved?
- And lastly—which of all of the above are your top-paying and most loyal customers?
Answer these questions in the most detail possible, and at the end you should have your average buyer. Remember, showing your ads to the wrong people is a waste of your money—period. So do your research, and get your message to the right people!
#3: What’s your overall goal?
This is an area of social media strategy that seems incredibly simple, but can ruin your plans before they begin. You have to be as specific as humanly possible about your goals. Saying that you want more success or you want more money and expecting to be satisfied with the end result is a surefire way to get frustrated and quit, chalking it up to social not being as important as everyone thinks. Social media is a “see” platform, meaning that people go there to see things, not to do things. This can make it very difficult for businesses with a long sales cycle to see social media success measured in dollar amounts.
Work with your team to set realistic and applicable goals for your social strategy, and with discipline and research, you’ll be satisfied with the end results!
Once you answer these three big questions, it’s actually pretty easy to pare down your options to a solid two or three platforms to dedicate your time to. That’s right, two or three. You shouldn’t be focusing on more than that unless you have a team to manage them all, or you’re working with a social media marketing company.
The Best Social Media Platforms for Marketing
So you’ve answered some tough, in-depth questions about your company goals and your target audience—now what? It’s time to choose your social media platforms! Here’s a list of the most popular platforms (in order of popularity!) for marketing, and some information that will help you match up the best platforms for your target audience.
Facebook is best for B2C companies, but can work for B2B in some cases. The top industries on this platform include fashion, auto, e-commerce, retail, entertainment, real estate, marketing, sports, health and wellness, news and information. Its users are anywhere from 25 to 55+ years old, and a pretty balanced mixture of men and women.
At the end of Q3 2018, Facebook had over 2.27 billion monthly active users. What does that mean? It means one of your platforms has to be Facebook, regardless of your business type. Not to mention, Facebook is considered a necessity in local SEO—search engines look at your business’ Facebook profile as a strong indicator when they generate local search results.
Twitter is much like Facebook in the sense that it’s best for B2C, but can work well for B2B in rare cases. Its top industries include news and information, retail, e-commerce, health and wellness, travel and hospitality, telecom, finance, fashion, retail, and sports. Twitter serves a much younger crowd than Facebook, with the average age range being 18-29 years old. Twitter also has a healthy balance of both men and women.
Twitter is widely considered a hub for trends, news, and yes, political rants! This is a great platform for customer service—it’s not uncommon for people to tweet major companies like they’re people themselves. You can clearly see companies’ responses to their customer complaints, which shows that they’re active and on top of things. This is a great platform to show off your expertise, products, and your creativity.
Instagram, unlike Twitter and Facebook, is strictly for B2C. Its top industries include travel and hospitality, fashion, health and wellness, arts and crafts, food and beverage, e-commerce, beauty, photography, auto, and event planning. The average age range is 18-35, which makes it a little more inclusive than Twitter, but in terms of gender it is mostly women (although that’s changing rapidly).
The most important question to ask yourself when considering Instagram is “do I have a visual product?” If the answer is yes, then you need Instagram. This is a photo sharing app, first and foremost. Instagrammers expect very high-quality imagery that tells a story—stock images simply won’t cut it. 80% of Instagram accounts follow a business, and 72% of users say they’ve purchased a product they saw on the app. Instagram is powerful and packs a punch, specifically with millennials. Also keep in mind that Facebook owns Instagram, which means they share a lot of the same features and targeting options.
This one is also best for B2C, and its top industries include retail, health and wellness, travel and hospitality, fashion, e-commerce, arts and crafts, food and beverage, beauty, home and garden, and even planning. Pinterest sees an age range of 18-45 and, unlike most of the other platforms, is almost all women. To put it simply, Pinterest is a DIY and hobby paradise. If you have a visual product, or even a service that has to do with visual planning, like home remodeling, landscaping, event planning etc., this is a great platform. Not to mention that a staggering 87% of pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest!
B2B-ers, it’s your time to shine—LinkedIn is perfect for you, and also a great platform for B2C employment. Its top industries include financial, employment, science and technology, legal, manufacturing, marketing, education, professional services, health and wellness, and IT. Like Facebook, LinkedIn has a pretty wide age range of 25-45, both men and women. Again, if you’re B2B, this should be your main platform.
4 out of 5 members drive business decisions, and LinkedIn’s audience has two times the buying power of the average web audience. Not to mention its growing popularity among millennials and the gen-z generation!
Once you’ve carefully analyzed your company’s wants, needs, and target audiences, you should be primed and ready to choose a few platforms! Remember—only choose a few, and go all in! Tailor your social media strategy to each platform, set applicable goals, and watch the likes roll in.