The first step in social media marketing is deciding which social media platforms your business should be on. There are so many different social media platforms out there – but does that mean you should be present on all of them? I mean, surely the more platforms you’re on, the more people who will find you… Right? Wrong. There is an art and a science to choosing which social media platforms are best for your business.
Which social media platforms should my business be on?
Platform pressure is real, guys. Put your hand up if you’ve ever felt platform pressure… I can’t see your hands, but I’m guessing there’s probably a few of you. If you take away one thing today, let it be this: You don’t have to be present everywhere and you don’t have to be present on platforms that you don’t love.
It’s so tempting to try and be everywhere, all at once. After all, the more places you are, the more people who will find your business, right? Wrong. You need to get strategic about where you’re present and where you’re spending your time and energy, because you don’t have unlimited time and you don’t have unlimited energy.
Today, I’m just going to look at social media platforms, not other platforms such as a blog or podcast. A good small business marketing strategy will have a diverse range of channels, social media being just one of them and others, potentially including paid search (for example, Google Adwords or Facebook Ads).
But, first, how many social media platforms should your business be on?
The more is certainly not the merrier here. You want to focus on a few good platforms where your audience is present, rather than spreading yourself thinly across way too many platforms.
I’m sure you’d love for me to tell you a magic number, but there is no magic number of social media platforms that you should be present on. It really depends on where your audience spends their time, which is something we’ll look at shortly. But, basically, there’s no point trying to reach middle-aged women on Snapchat. Yes, there’ll be a few on there, but you’re far more likely to reach them via Instagram or Facebook. So, just because everyone’s marketing on Snapchat, don’t feel like you have to.
Next, it also depends on what your goals are.
So, do you want to attract new customers and fans? Do you want to nurture an existing audience? Do you want to build new professional contacts and expand your network? Do you want to find more wholesale customers? The platform you choose will depend on your goals (which we looked at in our episode on small business marketing strategy), and we’ll look at this in a sec.
It also depends on how much time and how much money you have to spend, because producing regular content can be time-consuming or can cost money to outsource.
Start small when choosing which social media platforms to be on
If you’re just starting out, pick 1-3 social media platforms for your business and execute them really bloody well. I’ve said this before, but the key is to make sure you’re showing up consistently for your audience and they know where to find you. You’re not leaving them guessing as to where you’ll pop up next.
How can you pick which social media platforms are best for your business?
Let’s take a quick look at some of the main ones and the best audiences to target on these. If you’re really interested in learning more about the different platforms and how people interact with them I highly recommend downloading the Sensis 2017 Social Media Report.
Does your business have to be on Facebook?
Of the sample surveyed in the Sensis report, 94%of them used Facebook at least once in 2017. Assuming that the sample represents the Australian population, this means that roughly 22.5 million Australians used Facebook last year. That’s crazy.
Now, you’d think because Facebook has the most users it’ll attract the most customers or clients, right? Organic reach is dwindling, which means you don’t reach as many people as you used to, without paying to play. Most businesses should, however, have a Facebook page – particularly if you have a bricks-and-mortar location.
But, how much time you put into maintaining it and producing content for it is completely up to you. For example, with Wildbloom we have a Facebook Page and update it semi-regularly, just so that it’s there for when people click through from an ad. But, Instagram is where my main audience spend most of their time – so, I spend most my time hanging out there.
RecurPost is a really great app to set-and-forget your Facebook content so that it’s maintaining your presence but not taking up too much of your time. All you have to do is upload each of your blog posts into a library, set a schedule for how often you want to post, and it will just keep recycling the posts in your library.
(Psssst – if you’re wanting to get the most out of Facebook, you need to read this article on optimising your business Facebook Page).
Should you start a Facebook Group for your business?
This is a pretty big topic and it’s worthy of an entire episode by itself, so I’ll probably record one in the not too distant future. But, here’s the quick overview:
Facebook Groups, when done properly, are a great way to reach a tribe of super-engaged followers. You can really build a community using Facebook Groups, but they do take a bit of time. You need to be interacting, answering people’s posts, encouraging people to engage, etc.
Do you have time to consistently dedicate to this? What about if your group grew to a few thousand members, tomorrow? Do you have the budget to hire a community manager?
A poorly managed group can, at best, result in crickets and, at worst, damage your brand. There are a lot of pros and cons to setting up a Facebook Group, but it’s a big commitment, so make sure you think about it.
Should your business be on Instagram?
I think the thing that puts a lot of business owners off Instagram is that there is pressure to create stunning content and to have the perfect Instagram feed. If you’re really new to it all it can be overwhelming. Luckily there are so many apps and tools that make it a lot easier (see my favourite small business marketing tools and 6 of my favourite tools for a beautiful Instagram feed.)
Instagram is particularly effective if you have a beautiful product or service to showcase – but that doesn’t mean it won’t work if what you do isn’t so visually appealing.
The magic thing about marketing your business on Instagram is that you can interact with other accounts and start to grow an engaged audience that way, from scratch. But, it does take time. The key is to not go into Instagram expecting to post 3 times a day and grow your Instagram following overnight.
Posting three times a day when you really don’t have enough content is going to be stretching you, and you’ll get overwhelmed and you’ll probably stop within a few weeks – if not a few days! Rather, commit to posting once a day or even once every 2-3 days. But, make it top quality content that adds value or creates a connection with your audience.
I’ve put together a free cheat sheet with 7 Savvy Strategies to Ignite your Instagram. You can download it below.
Does your business need to be on Pinterest?
There’s a little bit of a misconception about Pinterest – that it’s just for DIY projects and planning weddings. But, it’s actually really powerful as a business platform and it’s still relatively underused.
People forget that Pinterest is, first and foremost, a search engine – just like Google. So, you don’t actually have to have a huge following for your content to get found.
The current demographic is roughly 70% female and 30% male, but according to Pinterest, over 50% of their new sign-ups are men. So, there could be a real opportunity in the future for businesses to market to men on Pinterest.
6% of Pinterest users are females aged 25-54 and 60% of users have children under the age of 5. 40% have an income over $100k a year.
If you market to millennials, Pinterest could also be a good place for you as 1 in 2 millennials uses Pinterest each month. I’ll talk a little bit more about Pinterest in a future episode as I’ve seen some great results from it for my own business, so stay tuned.
Should your business be on Linkedin?
If you’re a B2B business or you’re marketing to professionals, such as lawyers or accountants, then LinkedIn is a really good place to be. But, unlike Instagram and Facebook, your product promotion posts won’t fly here. They just won’t get the engagement.
People on LinkedIn like content that gives a deep insight or a new perspective on a topic. Thought leader content, essentially. Usually, something career, business or industry-related.
What your audience likes will depend on what industry you’re in. If you’re trying to position yourself as a thought leader in your niche, then this is an absolute must-do. It’s pretty easy to repurpose your blog posts as Linkedin Pulse articles as well, and they get a bit more engagement than if you’re just sharing a link to the post off of LinkedIn.
You can also link your LinkedIn account to RecurPost so you can keep recycling content there.
Should your business be on YouTube?
By now, you’ve probably heard that video is where it’s at. But, does this mean that your business should be on YouTube? Some of the pros are that it’s the second largest search engine (after Google) and that it has over 1.5 billion active monthly users. That’s a lot of people.
Creating valuable video content does take a lot of time, but you can repurpose your YouTube videos as Facebook videos or as LinkedIn videos.
Don’t just be on YouTube for the sake of being there. If you don’t want to run a YouTube channel, you can actually publish your videos natively on LinkedIn or Facebook. So, that means sharing it directly into the platform, rather than linking to a YouTube version of your video. The LinkedIn and Facebook algorithms actually prefer that, because it keeps people within their platform.
So, just as a general rule of thumb, social media algorithms tend to favour things that have their own interests in mind. For example, Facebook wants to keep people on Facebook (because that keeps them scrolling, that keeps them clicking on ads, and that earns them more money).
And, that’s it.
Right, there you have it. 6 of the most popular social media platforms for your business. You might notice that I didn’t mention Twitter, Snapchat or Google Plus, and that’s because I think that, for the vast majority of you, they won’t be relevant. But, if I’m wrong and you really do want to know more about marketing to your audience on those platforms, please feel free to drop me a line and let me know.
May 9, 2018