In today’s super-connected world, social media is a necessary part of any good marketing plan. However, trying to maintain a presence on all of the available platforms is a recipe for failure. Not only is this sure to leave you feeling overwhelmed, but if you spread yourself too thin, you’ll miss the opportunity to make true connections with your followers.
Instead of trying to be everywhere at once, it pays to be strategic with your social media strategy. To get the best results, it’s important to understand where your target audience spends their time and make sure you have a presence there.
Ideally, you’ll want to choose one or two platforms and commit to going all-in on them. The right social media platforms for your business will depend on a number of factors, including the type of content you produce and the demographics of your ideal audience. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of some of the most popular social media platforms!
As the largest and most popular social media platform in the world, Facebook currently has more than 2.85 billion monthly active users. Not only does this platform have a huge following, but their audience is also very active. In fact, 66% of users log in at least once a day.
Due to the amount of traffic alone, being active on Facebook is a good idea for most businesses. It will allow you to connect with a diverse audience and interact with your followers in a way that builds trust.
Even if you choose to spend the bulk of your time on another platform, you’ll want to ensure you have a fully completed Facebook profile.
When vetting companies, users often turn to Facebook after Google, so it’s important to make sure your “about” section is completed and your contact information and business hours are accurate.
Also be sure to respond to reviews (both positive and negative), as this is an indication of how your company interacts with its customers.
Facebook is also an excellent platform for paid advertising. The ability to target a super-specific audience allows you to optimize your advertising dollars. Many companies also take advantage of Facebook Messenger, as this allows for easy, private communication with followers and potential customers.
Despite the many benefits, however, there are some potential drawbacks. For example, Facebook has strict advertising rules and uses algorithms to flag posts and ads that may be in violation. This can result in you having your account temporarily suspended or shut down – even if you haven’t done anything wrong.
In addition, Facebook’s algorithm changes have made it very difficult to reach new followers organically. This means you’ll need to be willing to commit at least a portion of your budget to paid ads if you want to grow your audience here.
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With over 1.2 billion active users, Instagram is another popular social media platform for business owners.
This platform is a great option for those looking to reach a younger demographic. More than half of Instagram users around the globe are age 34 or younger.
It’s also the third most popular platform among teens – after Snapchat and TikTok.
Instagram users are quite active, with 62% logging on daily. Commercial posts are common on this platform and users often use Instagram to follow companies they love or find new products and services.
Instagram is an excellent option for businesses that are comfortable telling their stories on a visual platform and those who want to appeal to a young, “hip” crowd. If your target audience is older, this might not be the right platform for you. Only 14% of Instagram’s users are over the age of 45, and 14% of U.S. adults say they have never heard of it.
Part social media platform and part search engine, Pinterest has over 478 million actively monthly users.
This platform is often used by those who are looking for ideas and inspiration.
Pinterest users used to be predominately female. However, today, it’s about a 60/40 split. User demographics are also getting younger.
Currently, 35% of users are millennials while 40% fall into the Gen Z age range. In addition, 45% of people in the United States with a household income of over $100k are Pinterest users.
If this fits your target demographic, creating a presence on this platform may be well worth your time. A third of users on Pinterest say they follow companies on the platform and 77% of users have used the platform to discover new products.
To be successful on Pinterest, you’ll need to consistently create content that is both visually appealing and highly sharable. Some of the most popular things to pin include how-to tutorials, inspirational quotes, recipes, and similar content. If you’re in an industry like fitness, travel, design, or photography, you’ll want to consider including Pinterest in your marketing strategy.
Known for content that’s short and to the point, Twitter is popular among younger adults.
Approximately 38% of users are between the ages of 18 and 29 and another 26% are in the 30 to 49 age range. This platform has 340 million users worldwide and 186 million daily active users.
Affluent individuals tend to be attracted to this platform – 77% of Americans who earn $75k or more per year are active Twitter users.
Some business owners prefer this platform because they don’t have to spend a lot of time creating visually appealing graphics.
Instead, you can focus on crafting sharp, concise messages that get your point across in an interesting way. However, studies also show that Twitter users get 10-times more engagement on Tweets that include video.
In addition, Tweets with GIFs get 55% more engagement than those without.
If you’re going to have a presence on Twitter, it’s critical to remain active and respond quickly. Since 85% of small and medium-sized businesses use Twitter to provide customer service, it’s common for users to take to the platform to vent about poor user experiences. Statistics also show that Twitter users are 38% more likely to share their opinions about products and brands than other social media users.
Long known as the platform for professionals, LinkedIn has 310 million monthly active users and over 171 million users in the United States. While this is a significantly smaller platform, some businesses find that this is an advantage. Since there’s not as much competition, it’s easier to have your content show up in newsfeeds without having to invest in paid ads.
Most of the users on this platform are focused on business and employment. This makes LinkedIn a good option for users who want to connect with decision-makers in the B2B space. While it’s rarely used for online shopping or entertainment, if you’re looking for a platform to network or connect with potential business partners, then LinkedIn could be a good option for you.
YouTube has 2 billion monthly active users and 30 million daily active users. A whopping 73% of adults in the United States use this platform and 62% of businesses have a presence here. It’s also the second-most visited site, behind Google, and is the world’s second-largest search engine.
Maintaining a YouTube presence will allow you to reach a large and broad audience. Since video is the preferred format for most online users, you may feel like this platform is a necessity for your business.
However, it’s important to note that while being on YouTube can bring many benefits, consistently creating high-quality videos requires both financial and time commitments.
Popular among the younger crowd, Snapchat reaches 75% of the millennial and Gen Z population in the United States. It’s also the second most popular mobile app, and users typically open it 30 times or more each day.
Businesses can advertise on Snapchat in several ways, including traditional ads, geotags, and branded lenses or filters. Before you invest any time or money into this platform, though, you’ll want to make sure it’s right for your target audience. Approximately 48% of users are between the ages of 15 and 25, 30% are between 26 and 35, and only 18% are between 36 and 45. If you’re focusing on an older demographic, this likely won’t be the right platform for you.
One of the newest players in the field, TikTok has approximately 80 million monthly active users in the United States. Of them, 60% are between the ages of 16 and 24 and 26% are between 25 and 44.
If this is your target demographic and you’re interested in creating fun and unique video content, you may want to experiment with this platform. For the right business, TikTok can be an excellent way to increase engagement, grow your audience, and drive traffic to your site.
Creating videos on TikTok allows you to represent your brand in an authentic, hip, and creative way. However, it’s easy to go too far. Remember that it only takes one small misstep to damage your brand’s reputation, so keep this in mind as you brainstorm your content.
Simplify Your Social Media
Using the information above, you should be able to choose one or two primary platforms for your business. Once you’ve made your decision, spend some time getting to know your audience and crafting a message that truly speaks to them.
Then, begin planning and scheduling your posts in blocks, so you’re always at least a few days ahead. Not only will this help ensure you’re posting consistently, but it will also save you time so you can focus on engaging with your followers.
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Beth Deyo of Fresh Content Designs is a freelance writer passionate about helping brands uncover their unique brand voice and grow their following online and on social media.