August 17, 2016

How many times have you heard that *this* social media site is a MUST for your business? Your business won't succeed unless you're on said platform. This new platform is where everyone is going and you're missing the boat by not jumping on board.

Right? We've all heard this more times than we can probably count.

Seriously, a few years ago, it was Twitter. Everyone HAD to be on Twitter or their business would fail. Then it was Pinterest. Don't ignore them or you'll miss out on all the women 30-55 as valuable potential clients. And, of course, Instagram. If you're not there, why even bother being on social media. And, now, Snapchat. Because dog faces and puking rainbows are how you sell high end programs.

Ok, I know I'm being snarky and exaggerating (a little bit), but the reality is that this is all too often how we are told to approach social media. But none of this is true. Even the Instagram part 😉

So, how do you really decide which social media sites to use?

There's always something new popping up. Some influencer is always preaching another new platform. The media jumps on a new bandwagon. And we're left scratching our heads as business owners, wondering how this new platform is supposed to build our business. Or wondering how we're going to find time to add another platform to our already busy marketing strategy and schedule.

It's exhausting!

Seriously, it's impossible to keep up. And that's coming from me - someone who is expected to keep up!

I've gotten asked this so many times and I've worked with clients in various industries and of various sizes to help them figure out exactly which social media sites to use.

So, before you jump on the next bandwagon or get blinded by the newest shiny toy, use this criteria to determine where you should be.

Facebook

Here's perhaps my one exception to the rule. And some may disagree with me...

Facebook today is what Yellow Pages were 10-20 years ago. One of the, if not THE, first place people will look for your business or look to find a business in an industry (especially for locally based businesses), is Facebook.

If you don't have a Facebook page, you're leaving your potential clients to find your competitors instead. If your target audience is remotely involved in social media, I can pretty much promise you they have a Facebook account. But, even if they don't, and they are on Instagram instead, and if you are a business with a physical store front location, Facebook is a necessity. Why? Because when you enter your business address on a Facebook business page, that data transfers to Instagram for geo-tags and locations that people are searching for over there.

You may not feel like Facebook is your primary focus for your audience, but you should still have an active presence. It doesn't have to be intense or highly active, but it should be there, current, and have some sort of regular posting schedule for when people find you.

Where Is Your Audience?

This seems like a no-brainer but too often gets ignored. If your audience is on Twitter, then you should be on Twitter. If your audience is not on LinkedIn, then you don't need to be there either.

Ok, seems simple enough, right? But how do you know where your audience is?

First of all, you should be able to identify your ideal client. You should know their demographics: age, geographic location, income levels, education, family structure, career, hobbies, and more. When you know these details about your target audience, it's pretty easy to look at the general demographics for each social media site and determine which one(s) are most popular for your ideal customer.

But, if you really want to know, ask your customers! You can email your list and have them complete a survey or poll. You can ask your customers to complete a customer profile. You can literally ask them which sites they use most when you're talking to them. Get creative if you need to, but ask the people who are currently buying from you so that you can better target more people just like them!

Where Are You Comfortable?

If you're just starting out with social media marketing and you're overwhelmed with all the options, and all the pressure to be on the "next big thing", calm down, take a deep breath, and think about where you're comfortable.

If Facebook is natural to you but Pinterest looks like a foreign concept, then start out on Facebook. Get a feel for what works in social media as a business, learn your strategy, build an audience on this single platform first. Then, you can jump into the next platform of your choice.

No one said (or they shouldn't say) that you have to be everywhere immediately.

I would recommend you register or save your account name/username on the big sites if possible so that when you're ready to move into those platforms, you have consistency in naming and branding.

But you absolutely do not need to be on 3, 4, 5 or more social media sites.

Where Are Your Competitors?

I'm willing to bet you're not the first one to do what you do. And even if you are, there are other similar style businesses or industries out there. So go check out their businesses on social media.

Find out what social media platforms they're using. Where do they have the biggest audiences? Where do they get the most engagement?

If you see a trend among your competitors, chances are they are on to something and have figured out what's best. However, just because every one of your competitors is on Twitter doesn't mean you can't be amazing on Snapchat. You may want to take the challenge of branching out into a newer platform to cultivate a presence where your competitors lack a strong presence.

 

And there you have the key questions I go over with every one of my clients when determining which social media sites to use. What do you think? Do you use another criteria to determine which sites to use? Let me know in the comments below!

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Really enjoyed this post, Jenn! I was just answering this question for a potential client today. Wish I’d found this article earlier today. Will share it with them now.

    In finding your competitors for certain businesses, I also like to do a Google search for the business type plus a social media site. For example, if the business was appraisal, I’d search for “appraiser site:twitter.com” and “appraiser site:linkedin.com” and see which returned more results.

    Again, thanks for such a useful post!
    -John

    1. Thanks John! I’m glad you enjoyed this and I hope your client finds it helpful too 🙂
      And, yes, that’s another good tip for insight! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I faced this question quite a while ago. Realizing that there is limited amount of time per day to dedicate for social media activities, I chose to focus on those that best fit my business and mid term goals. At the end the “winners” were Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
    I usually try out new social medias as well and keep my mind open.

    1. That’s great that you found what works for you but also keep an open mind to new options. It sounds like you’re on the right track!

    1. While I agree Facebook is important, it isn’t necessarily always the best. As I discussed, it depends a lot on the business and where their audience is.

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