It should go without saying: social media is the must-use marketing and customer acquisition channel.
This can be because consumer behavior is changing, as more and more consumers are eager to engage with their favorite brands, rather than just receiving marketing messages from them. In fact, a recent study showed that if consumers can’t find information about you online, they are likely to not buy your goods or services.
But which platforms should you get on? Each social media platform takes time, and you don’t want to waste what little time you have left.
That’s why today we’ll look at the five most important social media platforms you should be using for your small business.
This should be no surprise. Although others may have come before it, Facebook has defined exactly what a social media platform is.
According to the Pew Research Center data for 2016, a full 79% of all online American adults use Facebook on a regular basis. Most of these are people between the ages of 18 and 50, which is the golden zone for most businesses.
Facebook excels by being great at allowing easy engagement between consumers and businesses. In fact, most people check on Facebook first if a business has a profile in order to see images, posts and other important information.
Although many people still associate Instagram with filters used to cover up bad images, it is actually a vibrant social media platform. Because Instagram was acquired by Facebook, it presents a lot of great opportunities for cross-posting on both platforms.
According to Pew Research, a full 32% of online American adults use Instagram, although it is most popular with 18-29 year olds, African Americans and Hispanics.
Instagram is much trendier than Facebook and it is particularly popular with consumers who are passionate about fashion, music, food and other popular cultural aspects. If your business is connected with any of those markets, you should probably have an Instagram presence.
However, while Facebook is still adequate for a professional image, on Instagram it is common and sometimes expected to give exclusive “behind-the-scenes” or private moments that consumers normally wouldn’t see. This can include product inventory, how something is made, your employees busy working, or many other things.
Pinterest is a fast-growing and still undervalued social media platform. It is used regularly by 31% of online American adults according to Pew.
It is very different from Facebook, as it is a visual content sharing platform. Beyond that, it isn’t particularly social—people don’t go on Pinterest to meet up with their friends or engage in conversation.
Their users are focused on one thing only: finding amazing content or products and services. What this means is that those users are already qualified and motivated, and you should get on that platform as soon as possible.
Even better, Pinterest users have middle to upple-middle income and will bring your website lots of traffic. If you’re looking to boost your social media presence and increase motivated visitors to your site, this is a great platform to choose.
LinkedIn, the professional social media network, commands 29% of online American adults’ attention. This could be because it is a platform made solely for business people to gather, network and discuss important business issues.
LinkedIn’s highest proportion of users have a salary greater than $75,000, higher education degrees and are between 30-49.
LinkedIn definitely supports its distinction as the “business Facebook,” as each profile is structured as a CV with employment history, education, and skills. Even better, your colleagues or people in your network can recommend you for certain business skills.
It is crucial if you are B2B, as this is place where most of your customers are gathering. For B2C and others, it’s also great for establishing your business presence. You can use the platform to talk and generate ideas with other businesses in your industry and potentially find great partnerships.
Last but not least is Twitter. According to Pew Research, 24% of online American adults utilize the platform on a regular basis.
It is definitely a different type of social media platform, known more for its limitations than anything else. The most important limitation is the amount of words or characters (140) that can be sent out in a single tweet (status update).
Another limitation is the lifespan of a single tweet, as the rapid-fire aspect of the social platform means that you have a limited window to have your message noticed.
It is of course very popular with politicians and celebrities, who see it as a way to directly communicate with people. Businesses also use it to send quick communications with their customers or potential customers.
The best platform for your business
Although these are the five most important social media platforms out there, it doesn’t mean that you should get on all five of these platforms, at least not at the same time.
Choose the two that are best for you if you’re just starting out, get used to them and then expand to more if you feel it is necessary. Pretty soon you will see your followers, traffic and revenue grow.