As a business owner in 2020, you’ve no doubt heard that you should be using social media as part of your marketing strategy.
If you’ve ever tried to get started with social media marketing and have been left confused, overwhelmed or frustrated by how many options there are, you’re not alone. While social media has been part of most people’s daily lives for years now, doing it for a business is a whole other ball game.
Some of the first questions you’re probably asking are “How many social media accounts should I create?”, “What are the differences between social media platforms?” and “Which social media platforms are best for my business?”.
While we don’t have a magic answer to which social media platforms you should use (every business is different after all!) keep reading to learn more about the options available to you and information to help you choose the best social media platform for your business.
How many social media accounts should I create?
There’s a lot of advice out there saying that you should be on as many social media networks as possible to maximize your reach. We, however, prefer to recommend the quality over quantity approach.
It’s always better to run one really great social media account than multiple mediocre ones because you’ve spread yourself too thin.
While there’s no magic number we can share, you probably don’t need any more than three social media accounts. We’ll go into details below about how to choose the right one for your audience, but the number you choose should be ultimately be based on your budget, resources, marketing goals and your target audience’s behaviour.
Which are the differences between social media platforms?
Now that you know you don’t need to be on all of the social media websites, you’re probably wondering how to go about choosing the best ones for your goals. Here is a summary of each platform, who uses it and how it might work for you.
How It Works: Facebook is the swiss army knife of social media; both individual users and businesses can share messages, pictures, videos, links and more to their own personal page to be viewed by their friends and/or followers.
Facebook also features an ever-growing list of functionalities such as groups, Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Messenger and yes, even a dating section! For businesses, there are increasing options available such as tagging products in posts, allowing customers to purchase right through Facebook, lead generation forms, links to newsletter sign-ups and more.
Active Monthly Users: 2.45 billion
Who Uses It: Pretty much everyone, to be honest! Even if they’re not active users, the vast majority of adults have a Facebook account.
You’ll find people of all ages on Facebook from around the world. Young people, however, are less and less likely to be on Facebook. If you’re primarily focused on teenagers and young adults, Facebook may not be the one for you.
When to Use It: Facebook is a great starting point for businesses because it’s fairly easy to use, most people are on Facebook and it works for both B2B and B2C businesses. It’s also a great option if you’re looking to drive traffic to your website by sharing blogs and product or service pages. Generally speaking, there are not too many situations where it’s a bad idea to use Facebook.
How It Works: Instagram is a very visual platform; unlike other sites where you have the option to do posts that are exclusively text-based, every post on Instagram requires a photo or video. Hashtags are big on Instagram; including them in your posts is a great way to reach more people who are browsing for content on that topic.
Instagram also features stories, which are posts and videos that expire after 24 hours and have their own section outside of the news feed. Stories are an increasingly popular way to connect and engage with your followers.
Similar to Facebook, there are a growing number of options for e-commerce, by either tagging products and linking to your website or even doing sales within Instagram itself.
Active Users: 1 billion
Who Uses It: Previously the domain of young people, Instagram has been expanding its reach to older demographics. 63% of its users are aged 18 to 34, with an even split between genders.
When to Use It: Instagram is ideal for businesses with a lot of visual content to share, especially for showcasing products. While not impossible, it’s not as easy to link to your website on Instagram (especially when you’re just starting out) so it’s not the best choice if a primary goal is to generate website traffic. Demographic wise, while people of all ages are now using Instagram, it’s definitely a platform you want to be on if your primary target is the under 35 crowd.
How It Works: In a nutshell, LinkedIn is pretty similar to Facebook in terms of features, except that it’s for businesses and professionals. You can post as both an individual or a business and can also join groups to connect with like-minded individuals.
Despite what some people think, LinkedIn isn’t only for job-seekers. It’s truly become an all-around professional platform for job hunting, recruiting, learning and networking.
Active Monthly Users: 310 million
Who Uses It: LinkedIn is used by job hunters, students and industry professionals. More than 50% of Americans with a college degree can be found on LinkedIn.
When to Use It: LinkedIn is best for B2B businesses to reach new customers, find new employees and other business development opportunities.
How It Works: Pinterest revolves around the idea of creating and sharing pins to your boards. Pins consist of an image, description and can also include a link to a website. Similar to Instagram, it is a visually-driven platform and especially popular for content related to fashion, home decor, cooking, crafts, weddings and DIY.
Active Monthly Users: 322 million
Who Uses It: While Pinterest reaches a wide age group, 81% of its users are female.
When to Use It: Pinterest is a great choice for businesses selling products with a lot of visual appeal, especially for fashion and home decor. As the majority of its users are female, you should definitely consider Pinterest if women are your primary target audience.
How It Works: Twitter is a very conversational platform and popular for news, sports, entertainment and community engagement. Users and businesses share “tweets”, which are short messages with a limit of only 280 characters that typically include hashtags to help group together similar content.
Active Monthly Users: 330 million
Who Uses It: While the difference isn’t as dramatic as Pinterest, Twitter skews more towards men at 62% of all users. Users aged 25-34 make up the biggest age group and 80% of all users are under the age of 50.
When to Use It: Being successful on Twitter requires engagement, so you shouldn’t go this route unless you’re able to dedicate time to engaging with your followers and participating in related conversations. It’s a great choice for businesses related to sports, entertainment and digital industries such as marketing and web development.
How It Works: That’s right, TikTok is the one all the kids are using for their dances, lip-syncs and snappy messaging. TikTok is all about user-generated videos that are up to 60 seconds long. Users find videos by following their favourite users or browsing for content on hashtags of interest.
Active Users: 800 million
Who Uses It: While TikTok has seen enormous growth in 2020 and isn’t just for the kids anymore, it’s still dominated by young users, with 41% of users between the ages of 16 and 24.
When to Use It: TikTok is a great choice if you want to reach a younger audience. It’s best suited for content that is entertaining and/or educational as opposed to a focus on promoting your products/services or driving traffic to the website.
Which social media platforms are best for my business?
We can’t wave our magic wand to give you a perfect answer, but the information above should help you determine which platform(s) are best for your business. Even two businesses that are similar can have different goals, so always take these factors into account when deciding which social media channels to pursue:
- Your time, budget and resources
- What type of content you want to share
- The age, gender and interests of your target audience
- Whether you are a B2B or B2C business
When done correctly, social media can be a cost-effective way to increase your reach, engage with your audience online and increase your business’ revenue. By using the information above to use the right platforms for your unique needs, you’ll be setting off on the right road to social media marketing success in no time.
Are you still not sure which platforms are best for your business? Looking for someone to take the reins on your social media marketing so you can focus on other parts of running and growing your business? Give us a call and we’ll work with you to develop the right social media marketing plan for your business in Brantford or Hamilton.