Where Should Your Business Be on Social Media?
Whether it’s to promote your business, professional skills, blog, or hobby, how do you know where you should be on social media?
With quite a few to choose from (think Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn), it’s no wonder why it can seem a little daunting at first.
We recently covered why social media should be your secret business tool. Let’s take it a step further and dig into the different social media options.
Set Goals & Identify Audience
Social media is all about communication. And lots of it.
Before you decide on your go-to social channel, you first need to set your goals. To start, ask yourself a series of questions:
- Are you looking to advertise the skills you possess?
- Are you looking to build awareness over your particular hobby/interest of yours?
- Are you looking to generate sales via the content that you post?
When you’ve set your goals, now it’s time to figure out who your target audience is. Keeping your particular business or passion in mind, answer the following:
- Is your intended customer/reader male or female?
- Are they young, old or somewhere in between?
- How much money do they approximately make a year?
- What are their likes and/or dislikes?
- Are they local to you, or are they all around the world?
Once you feel confident in your answers to these questions, now it’s time to narrow down what you’ve learned into one statement that defines your target audience.
Our target market is [gender] aged [age range], who live in [place or type of place], and like to [activity].
Don’t worry if you can’t stick to this exact phrasing. What’s important is to come up with a statement that helps to guide your future marketing efforts and lets you reach who you want to be reaching.
Choose Your Channel
The key here is to pick the channel that your target audience is already using—or in other words, where they’re spending most of their time.
For example, let’s say you find out that your target audience is mostly on Facebook. It makes no sense to focus on building your Instagram or Twitter presence, right? And remember, just because millions of people use a specific social media channel doesn’t mean that your audience is actually using it.
Without further ado, let’s delve into each channel separately to give you a full overview.
Averaging more than 2 billion active users a month, Facebook is the largest social channel in the world. It’s ideal for connecting with a variety of people and prospects, building trusted relationships, posting long-form content via Newsfeed (images, videos, text), live streaming, and holding one-on-one conversations.
- Preferred by females, rather than males (75% v. 63%)
- Highest among 18-29 year-olds (81%) and 30-49-year-olds (78%)
- Popular among urban and rural adults with a broad range of educational levels
Use Facebook if you…
Tips when using Facebook
- Use a recognizable profile picture and an attractive cover photo.
- Incorporate links to your website (or blog) within your profile.
- Implement CTA buttons on your fan page menu.
- Consistently share high-quality photos and videos.
- Respond to all comments from your fans/followers/customers.
Averaging over 1.8 billion users every month, YouTube is the second biggest search engine behind Google and is ideal for housing your video content (be it DIY tutorials or educational information) and sharing it with the world.
- Broadly popular with men and women (78% v. 68%)
- Highest among 18-24-year olds (90%)
- Popular among urban adults with higher household incomes and education
Use YouTube If You…
- Want to host an unlimited amount of video material
- Want to attract lots of viewers
- Want to eventually make money
Tips When Using YouTube
- The length of your videos doesn’t matter; it’s the quality and value of the content you post.
- Thumbnails that are vibrant and catch people’s eye lead to more views.
- Use a tool like TubeBuddy, which lets you add tags and optimize your videos for better engagement and searchability.
Averaging about a billion active users a month, Instagram is owned by Facebook and is ideal for sharing visually-appealing photos and videos, documenting and taking people behind-the-scenes with the “Stories” feature, and communicating with people on a deeper level via direct messaging.
- Preferred by females (39% v. 30%)
- Higher among 18 to 24-year-olds (75%) than among 25 to 29-year-olds (57%, 30 to 49-year-olds (47%), 50 to 64-year-olds (23%) and 65+ (8%)
- Usage is slightly higher in urban and suburban areas (42% and 34%, respectively)
Use Instagram if you…
- Are in the retail, beauty, food or art industries
- Have a visual or physical product
- Know your audiences skews younger (18-24)
Tips when using Instagram
- Add a detailed description of your business with a link back to your website and/or blog in your bio.
- Post high-quality photos with the help of editing apps.
- Research hashtags and use the ones your target audience is most interested in.
- Follow users within your niche (ones who engage with your brand, have large followings in your business area, and/or regularly engage in your business area).
- Reward your followers with contests/coupons/discounts, if applicable.
Averaging about 330 million active users a month, Twitter is the ideal channel for trending topics and news, sharing short updates and opinions, communicating with people in real time, and getting fast answers to specific problems.
- Almost equally used by men and women
- Highest among 18-24-year-olds (44%) and dropping with each successive age bracket to 7% among 65+ users
- Popular among urban adults with higher household incomes and education
Use Twitter if you…
- Run a small business that is especially fast-paced and evolving
- Want to post up-to-date information, breaking news, important messages, and announcements
- Need to provide real time customer service
Tips when using Twitter
- Include your business (or blog) URL in your bio with a call to action.
- Keep your tweets short, with a mix of funny and factual information.
- Add images and photos to increase engagement.
- Use more than two hashtags in your tweets.
- Tweet multiple times a day.
- Respond to questions users ask you and tweet out questions to increase engagement.
Averaging 250 million active users a month, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, ideal for connecting like-minded individuals with a business mindset, sharing job vacancies and career opportunities, as well as posting educational content that resonates with users.
- Preferred by men, rather than women (29% v. 24%)
- Highest among 25 to 29-year-olds (44%) and 30 to 49-year-olds (37%)
- Most popular among urban adults with higher household incomes (more than $75,000/year) and education
Use LinkedIn if you…
- Want your business to maintain a more professional setting
- Want to be contacted about potential job offers
- Want to stay informed about industry practices
Tips when using LinkedIn
- Video posts earn three times the engagement vs. text-only posts.
- Optimize your business’ profile (adding a logo will increase your profile visits by six times).
- Utilize the power of InMail, LinkedIn’s version of email, which achieves a 300% higher response rate than emails sent with similar content.
- Profiles with photos get significantly more views, messages, and results than generic, picture-less profiles.
While videos are understandably devoured on YouTube, they’re also exceedingly popular on Instagram and Facebook, too. While short and sweet messages work best on Twitter, as do URLS—they don’t work for Instagram. Professional networking is best done on LinkedIn, whereas building trusted relationships is far better suited to Facebook.
Although there’s no golden rule on deciding which social media channel you should be on, you’re off to a running start if you know where your target audience is and if you understand how to make the channel they’re on work for you.
For example, if you’re a blogger who writes about parenting, then you might want to invest most of your time on Facebook, in order to build one-on-one relationships and gain real insight into the parenting community. However, if you run a small business selling natural cosmetics, Instagram might be your channel of choice, given you can advertise your products in a visually appealing way and link back to your e-commerce shop.
Wherever you end up building your social media presence, remember to remain authentic, provide value, and be present.
Do you have any further tips on figuring out where your business should be on social? We’re all ears!
*All demographics and statistical data are provided by the Pew Research Center. Gender percentages refer to the men and women who were identified separately, then polled about their preference.