Media platforms

Deciding on the Best Social Media Platforms for Small Businesses

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Not all businesses need all social media platforms. When deciding which social platforms are best for your business, you need to take your unique circumstances into consideration. In this article, I’ll walk you through how to choose the most suitable social media platforms for you.

Do you already have an offline audience?

Social media platforms can be broadly classified into two types: discovery driven and follower driven.

A discovery-based platform allows business page posts to appear in front of new users, even when they’re not following you. These users are selected based on their interests or the topics they follow. Examples of these platforms are Instagram and Twitter, where users can follow hashtags and topics in addition to the following accounts.

A subscriber-driven platform will only display company page posts to its subscribers. Non-subscribers can see the post if their friend interacts with it, but the main scope of the post is for Page subscribers only. Examples of such platforms are Facebook and LinkedIn, where users must follow pages in order to see their posts consistently.

Often times, small businesses decide to create a social media profile after running the business for a while. Before that, they would have engaged with their audience through offline means or other communication channels like phone or messaging. Since the company already has an audience, it would be easier to move that following to social media. Thus, launching the business on Facebook or LinkedIn would be easier for them.

On the other hand, if the business is new and wants to get started, a discovery driven platform is best for them. It’s easier to follow up with the first few posts on Instagram and Twitter.

Who is your business targeting?

Your selection of a social media platform is also determined by who your audience is. Your targeting can be subdivided into the following segments.

  • Age: Different platforms are popular with different age groups. However, since the number of people on each platform is in the millions, you don’t have to worry too much about being on one platform. There is an age overlap on all platforms, so you can choose a platform to start with. See the table below to find out which age group is present where. For each age group in the chart, social platforms are listed in descending order of popularity.

Popularity of social media platforms by age

  • Audience type: Of all the platforms, LinkedIn has the most defined personality. Since the platform started as a career platform, users have expected to see a certain level of formality and professionalism in positions. This platform is perfect for B2B companies, who can post company updates to attract an audience. The other platforms are more informal, so a B2B company will need to create an informal personality for these platforms. Likewise, a B2C business can’t use LinkedIn to attract customers. They will prefer to use other platforms for this.
  • Product or service: Instagram is a visual platform only. For a business to be successful there, it needs to present its product or service with high-quality, engaging visuals. On the other hand, Twitter is a text-first platform. Businesses on these platforms need to condense what they mean into a few characters and create a buzz through it.

How much time do you have for content creation?

This criterion may seem a little limiting to you. But, this is an important consideration for small businesses and solopreneurs. Any social media platform requires quality content and consistency. If these conditions are not met, your efforts will be in vain. Before committing to multiple platforms, you MUST assess your resources.

So how do you balance your efforts and your need to be on a particular platform? The best way to do this is to start in phases. Here is my recommendation with a step by step approach.

  1. Focus on a platform to start; whichever is most relevant to your business. Explore this platform fully to create different types of content that work on this platform. Over time, you will get an idea of ​​what is best for this platform. By then, you would have mastered the process of creating weekly content for this platform.
  2. Go to the next platform when you are sure about your first platform. The next platform should take you less time because you already have the content ready. You just need to customize it for the new platform and learn the unique features of the new platform. Do this for a while before making any changes.
  3. You may find that all of your content can be published on all platforms, or some types may not work at all on one platform. Then work on unique content that can’t be reused across all platforms. Now is the time to identify and create that unique content. This task is easier to do once you post regularly.

These are my tips for deciding your social media presence. In the next article, we’ll look at creating a social media posting plan based on this.

Social media presence is essential for any business, but even more so for small businesses. By following the guidelines in this blog, you can confidently choose the right platform for your business.


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