A rock solid social media strategy is a key factor in all businesses’ success. These days, the average US adult is spending over 2 hours and 30 minutes on social media each day, which makes it clear why this is such a huge opportunity for businesses to capture their audience’s attention. But with so many different social media platforms out there, it can be overwhelming and near impossible to keep up with them all. Thankfully, you’re not expected to be on every social platform.
Truly, you will have the best results if you focus your efforts on two or three platforms. Each business is different in how they should approach social media, which is largely dependent on their target audience and how that demographic responds to certain content. We know this can be tricky to determine, so here is breakdown of the most popular social media platforms and who should use them!
Facebook is the #1 social media platform for businesses. Honestly, there isn’t a business that shouldn’t be on it because it allows you to build out a full page all about your business, similar to a website that people can look to for more information about you. Facebook is the platform that we urge all of our clients to be present on and have found that even the smallest of businesses can find success here. On average, we recommend clients post 4-5 times a week. The content should be varied in about 6-9 different topic categories, therefore the content will never be fully promotional or too redundant. When businesses do this, they lose their audience by appearing too salesy and not genuine. Rather, all social networks are best used when businesses truly focus on adding value and interacting with other users. Facebook business pages offer many great ways to do so aside from regular posting, such as stories, live videos, and using the chat feature for great customer service.
Facebook also offers ads, which have become increasingly popular among businesses and have grown by 28% year-over-year. That is because they are a relatively inexpensive way to place your ads directly in front of your target audience. The average cost per click is $1.72, which is slightly lower than that of Google ads. But unlike Google ads where you target based on keywords, Facebook allows you to target based on demographics such as age, gender, region, occupation, other groups they are a part of, pages they follow, etc. This makes it even easier to target a highly specific person and reach a unique demographic!
There are over 1 billion people using Instagram each month, which is why it is becoming increasingly more popular for businesses to use. Instagram is a highly visual platform, so businesses must be able to use pictures and videos to capture the essence of their brand. That is why Instagram is perfect for businesses with a great visual appeal, like clothing stores, restaurants, or designers. This can be a difficult platform for businesses that aren’t as visual and perform an intangible service, such as financial advisors, bankers, or attorneys. In a sense, Instagram can be thought of as a person’s social portfolio, allowing businesses to share their work in a post format, but it then goes a step further since users can also interact with people in the comments and direct message section of the app.
Instagram stories are another huge component of the platform, which allows users to share live or pre-recorded content that appears for only 24 hours. Stories work well for businesses that are having a sale and want to get the word out or if they just want to showcase the day-to-day of their business without making it a full post on their profile. Similar to Facebook but not as common for small businesses, Instagram also allows for ads which are a great option for business in the industries listed above with attention-grabbing visuals of their work.
If you had asked anyone 5 years ago what their favorite social media platform was, chances are they would have said Twitter. Back in its prime, Twitter was the place to go for finding quick witted commentary from all of your friends and favorite celebrities. Unfortunately, Twitter has not changed much since then, as it is still a place for sending quick content with a 280 character limit. But times have changed and today’s marketing has proven that longer form, higher quality content resonates more with users. That is why we no longer recommend Twitter to most clients for business use. Also, due to the quick nature of the platform, businesses would have to tweet multiple times a day and keep up with all of the trending hashtags, which is a lot to maintain and not the best use of a business’ time.
However, Twitter still does have a noteworthy place in the world of social media marketing. It is still a must-have for the world’s biggest corporations (think: Coca Cola, H&M, Netflix, etc.) as well as top celebrities and world leaders. Because of this, Twitter can feel a bit exclusive. But if your business falls into this “big brand” category with a wide audience that reaches a national or even an international level, then Twitter is the way to go for you! Another group that highly benefits from Twitter is public speakers or any person in a leadership position who is quoteworthy and wants to make short statements and updates on a very frequent basis.
On a personal level, all professionals should be on LinkedIn. It is a great way to network and stay connected with other professionals in your area or industry. It is also a great place for staying informed and learning new things. On a business level, we recommend that all businesses at least have a presence on LinkedIn, as it is great for posting any new job openings and generating some basic brand awareness. It is also helpful for employees of yours to cross promote the company on their own pages.
But most small to medium sized businesses don’t need to be that active on LinkedIn unless they are in a competitive industry that has high barriers to entry, especially educational barriers. In that case, LinkedIn is a great way to position your brand as an innovative thought leader by sharing great content to a targeted group of professionals, which can be taken to the next level through LinkedIn’s ad capabilities. For people in education, business coaching, public speaking, technology, engineering or other related industries, we highly recommend focusing your efforts on LinkedIn to best reach your target audience and using LinkedIn ads to gain even more exposure.
Currently, TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform with over 500 million active users worldwide. It is primarily used amongst a younger demographic, as 41% of users are between the ages of 16-24. That is why TikTok is the best platform for businesses with the target demographic of younger Millennials and Gen Z, as this is where you’re most likely to resonate with them the best. TikTok is unique because the platform is solely for videos, similar to how Vine was but with greater editing capabilities. These videos are typically 15 seconds long but can be up to 60 seconds if videos are strung together and they are all attached to either a song or audio snippet. Some of the most popular TikToks are remakes of viral dance challenges, tutorial videos, and funny pet videos.
While still very new, TikTok offers a great opportunity for businesses with a young demographic who respond well to influencer marketing. An “influencer” doesn’t need to be an A-list celebrity that costs millions of dollars to promote your business. There are plenty of local micro and nano influencers with under 25,000 followers that would happily promote your brand in exchange for free product or services.
Navigating Today’s Social Media Landscape
As you can see, each of the social media platforms mentioned above have their own unique characteristics and offer businesses different benefits. Choosing the best platform for you is highly dependent on your industry and target market. We always recommend businesses be on Facebook and typically Instagram. But if you have a niche brand, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, or any of the others out there, like Snapchat or Pinterest, may present another great opportunity for you to put out targeted content and engage with your audience.
Social media has proven it is here to stay, which is why all businesses must have a good social media presence and strategy in place that ties in with their overall marketing strategy to increase brand awareness and drive conversions.