Determining Which Social Media Platforms Your Business Should Focus On

Business.com / Social Media / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

The platforms you use should depend on your business and it's goals. Here's how to determine which ones your business should focus on.

If I had a penny for every time someone asked, “Which social media platform should I use for my business?”

Let me just say, I would have A LOT of pennies. As a social media marketer, it’s one of the questions I most often get asked.

And every time, my answer always is: that depends on your business.

Probably not the answer you want to hear, I know, but there’s something to be said about my answer.

Related Article: One Size Does Not Fit All: Which Social Media Platforms Should Your Business Be On?

While you may sell the same products as your competitors, every business has its own uniqueness, and therefore, the channels that are best for your business might not be best for your competitor.

In order to help you understand which platforms to use, I challenge you to look at the bigger picture through these three steps.

Step 1: Examine Your Business Goals

What kind of budget can you afford, and are willing to spend? Answering the big ‘b’ question will determine a feasible amount of time that can be dedicated toward utilizing each channel on a monthly and annually basis. 

What do you hope to achieve in the short-term (less than six months) and long-term (more than six months)? Be realistic here. If your budget is $100 a month, achieving a goal of generating 1,000 followers in the first six months is typically not going to happen. If you’re in a niche business where education is a constant, generating $10,000 in sales through social in your first year might be more realistic than generating six figures.

Step 2: Learn Where the Fish Are Swimming and Set Up Camp

Where are your customers and prospects? If they are not on Twitter, it would not make sense for you to use that channel. Fish where the fish are. Don’t waste your time with an empty pond.

But how do I find out where my customers and prospects are? 

Ask! Ask your customers in person or over the phone. You could even send them a survey via email.

Search applicable channels. Observe what prospects are talking about via search. How badly do they need your products? What are their pain points? Monitor keywords that are relevant to your brand. Here are some tools to use.

Before you can complete this step, you must know your audience. HubSpot suggests creating buyer personas.

Buyer Persona HubSpot Defined

Step 3: Get a ‘Socucation’ 

Social Media Education Socucation Defined

You don’t need to become an expert on social media. There are social media professionals out there who already have that covered for you; you just need to learn enough about some of the top social media channels in order to make an educated decision (You should, however, have expert knowledge on your business). Small Business Trends cited Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, and Reddit as the top 10 social media sites.

Assuming your business is new to social media, here’s an overview of the channels that I’ve seen businesses in the business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) spaces have the most success with in 2015.

Facebook

Active users: 1.55 billion, on average (September 30, 2015)

Top Pros

  1. With how popular Facebook has become, it’s hard to find someone who is not on Facebook. Your customers and prospects are likely there.
  2. Amazing Insights that help users understand what the best times to post are, how many times each tabs were viewed, when the page generated new followers and how many, along with much more.
  3. Powerful targeting via organic (unpaid) and paid posts.

Related Article: Post Like a Pro: Social Media Tips for Every Small Business

Organic

Facebook Organic Targeting Screen Shot

Paid via Facebook Advertising 

Facebook Advertising Dashboard Screenshot

Pinterest

Active users: 100 million active monthly as of September 17, 2015

Top Pros

  1. People go to Pinterest to buy, giving marketers a nice bang for their buck. The average amount spent per order is higher than other major social media channels: $50.
  2. Pinterest is one of the largest sources of traffic to Shopify stores.
  3. Promoted Pins and hashtag popularity offer even more ways to reach an expanded audience.

LinkedIn

Registered members: more than 400 million

Top Pros

  1. Linkedin was built as the ‘business social media channel.’ People go to Linkedin to do business. Consider it virtual networking.
  2. It’s typically easier (than with some other channels) to build authority and relationships thanks to Linkedin personal profiles.

For even more statistics, including data on additional social media channels, visit Pew Internet.

Related Article: Social Media Marketing for Startups: 5 Rules For Success

Closing Thoughts

Before you dive in, be advised: using social media for business (when done correctly) is not a small undertaking (even when just using one channel). It’s much more than throwing up a random post here and there with a photo. There’s creative copywriting, engaging graphic deployment, market research, monitoring, etc. that are all a must in order to see efforts reach their true potential.

At the end of the day, social media could make all the difference in barely making to exceeding sales goals. Do your research on the channels where your customers and prospects are and if and when you decide to commit, jump in full force, be willing to accept change, take risks, try new things, and always put your best foot forward. Here’s to your success

Login to Business.com

Login with Your Account
Forgot Password?
New to Business.com? Join for Free

Join Business.com

Sign Up with Your Social Account
Create an Account
Sign In

Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use, Community Guidelines, and Privacy Policy.

Reset Your Password

Enter your email address and we'll send you an email with a link to reset your password.

Cancel