WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS TO CHOOSE FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS, AND THEIR MAIN TARGET AUDIENCES.
What are the best social media platforms for small businesses? Well, there is no definitive answer, but do you need to be on all of them? As a small business, you may sometimes want to cover as many bases as possible when it comes to social media, but you could be better off focusing on more specific social media channels, where your target audience ‘hangs out’. This can help to save you wasting time on audiences that may not be interested in what you have to offer. In this article, we will look at the various social media platforms and see which are the best fit for specific audiences.
Facebook is still the most popular social media platform out there. With over 2 billion active users, if you are going to be doing social media, then Facebook should certainly be on the list. Facebook has a wide captive audience across the world, and the age range is spanning from teenagers all the way to seniors, so it is highly likely your target audience will be on Facebook. Video and images are the best way to attract attention on Facebook, as people are more interested in the visual content than just plain text.
Small businesses can benefit from a variety of Facebooks paid advertising options, including paid post promotion, page promotions, event boosting and more. Facebook has made the advertising platform very user friendly, so even basic users of Facebook will be able to take the wheel of a paid advertising campaign. It’s also very easy to see your analytics and ROI from a Facebook paid advertising campaign.
Facebook is especially critical if your target audience is:
Niche markets: Facebook has become home to many ‘Groups’ where people with unique interests come together. If you own a small business, Facebook might have an entire Group of potential customers waiting to hear from you, so it is certainly worth checking.
Seniors (55+): You may think print is the best way to get information to seniors, but this recent article from AARP shows that Facebook is seeing it’s biggest growth in the seniors demographic, as they are using it as a means to keep in touch with friends and family.
Families: The decision makers i.e. Parents tend to be on Facebook rather than most other social media platforms. This makes it a good place to target holidays, family activities, days out and time saving products!
Instagram is another behemoth social media platform, with 1 billion active monthly users. Instagram focuses solely on media, so pictures and videos are the key to unlocking potential customers. To be successful on Instagram, it is vital that you produce high-quality images and video content, otherwise it will be lost on your followers, which will scroll straight past. You tend to find the audience on Instagram much younger than Facebook, primarily being teens and millennials. Instagram also offers paid advertising options like that of Facebook, being both easy to use and to track customer interactions.
Instagram is a must if you are targeting audiences like:
Millennials: The largest user of Instagram are people under 25. If that’s your target market, Instagram is a must. The user split is also very even, with 52% being women and 48% being men.
Women: Statistically, women are more active on Instagram, even though there are almost the same percentage of male and female users. If your product or services appeals more to women, this platform is the perfect place to promote it.
Foreign markets: Instagram is used almost all over the world, and it is heavily used in Europe and the Middle East, although its popularity is still growing in Asia.
Over 330 million people are active on Twitter. The unique selling point of Twitter is the limited character number users get to create content, so all messages need to be short and to the point. Twitter is a great social media platform for ages ranging from 18 – 35, but many businesses are also active on Twitter, making it a great place to build connections.
Twitter is predominantly focused on sharing content, with businesses having the opportunity to go viral, which in essence means, your content becomes shared between users, reaching hundreds if not millions of users. Although it sounds easy to do, a lot of it is chance, so don’t expect to go viral on your first tweet!
Depending on your target audience, Twitter is great at attracting the attention of:
Businesses: A lot of other businesses are on Twitter, so you can follow and tweet them to help build awareness of what you can offer.
Teenagers: Like Instagram and Snapchat, Twitter is popular among teens. Content that is funny tends to get the attention of teens on Twitter!
Millennials: Although the definitive age-range of Millennials is 22 – 37 years old, you will find older users of Twitter as well. It is thought the short messages and quick updates are favoured on Twitter, meaning they can get updates and news quickly.
It can be quite easy for Pinterest to fall under the radar of some small businesses, but if you are in industries such as retail, health, travel, fashion or food, then Pinterest could be the key to unlocking potential customers. The main target audience for Pinterest is women between the ages of 18 and 45. The main premise of Pinterest is you ‘pin’ content you like or would like to try out on one of your ‘boards’. It’s a bit like a giant notice board, filled with content you want to try or experience.
Pinterest is highly media driven, so pictures and video play a big part of the Pinterest platform. Due to Pinterest being a very creative environment, many visitors use Pinterest for ideas and inspiration, which also makes them open to purchasing from the sellers. According to Blue Corona, over 87% of Pinterest users have purchased a product because of Pinterest.
Pinterest is perfect for:
Women: Only 16% of Pinterest users are men, so if your product or service is more aimed at women, then Pinterest should certainly be on your radar.
Seniors (55+): There is a growing segment of Pinterest users that are in the 55+ bracket, so if you’re looking at targeting this age group, Pinterest could be a good way to find potential customers.
The best way to describe LinkedIn is like a Facebook for professionals. If you are looking to connect with high profile businesses and professionals, then this is a social media platform you should be focusing on. The target audience for LinkedIn is professionals, so from 18 through to 55+. It relies less on photos and videos and is based more on text-based updates. While LinkedIn is a great place to form connections with potential customers, it’s not the best platform for large-scale marketing campaigns or funny cat videos, as it is a predominantly professional enviroment.
The main use of LinkedIn would be to target these audiences:
Businesses: If your target audience is other businesses, LinkedIn is a great place to connect. Unlike other forms of social media, its primary purpose is business connection, so companies will be on the lookout for businesses and services.
High-profile individuals: If your niche is directly serving high-profile people, then LinkedIn could be a great way to make a connection.
Snapchat is one of those mythical social media platforms that people have heard of, but not many have tried to conquer. Although it is a newcomer to the social media party, it does have a very healthy following that is constantly growing. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, over 185 million users are on Snapchat. Is it right for you as a small business to try and tackle this elusive social media platform.
Snapchat is extremely time consuming. Users of this social media platform need to provide frequent content to stay relevant, and when we say frequent, at least twice per day, as content expires, which essentially means you start all over again. Because of this ‘quick burn’ style, the quality of the photos and videos don’t need to be as good as Instagram, but it is certainly a commitment. The main target audience for Snapchat is teenagers and those under the age of 21, and it could be a worthwhile commitment if this is your main target audience.
OUR FINAL THOUGHTS
Choosing which social media platforms to use can be a bit of a minefield. Finding the right ones will help save you time and enable you to have better focus on your chosen social media channels. We would recommend choosing at least 2, so that you are targeting different audiences. We understand that social media can be a drain on both time and resources, so If you don’t have time to post updates and engage with people, then we would recommend potentially outsourcing your social media to a company that has a great reputation (not mentioning any names). If we can help lift the burden of social media off your to do list, then get in touch on [email protected] Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to follow us on social media for news, updates and tips!
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