How to choose the right social media channels for your small business
Updated: Nov 17, 2020
Evaluate Social Media Goals
Understand the Target Audience
Understand the Competition
Consider the Brand & Industry
Analyze Existing Traffic Sources
Understand Effective Content Types
Consider Management Bandwidth
Worldwide, the average person spends approximately 136 minutes per day on social media. That means there are tons of opportunities for business owners to market products or services to these people and pique their interest.
Promoting their business on social media can help companies grow to become industry powerhouses. The key here is to focus your energy on what works for your business and to use the right channels. Listed below are some guidelines that small business owners can use to determine which social media channels are right for their marketing strategy.
Why Social Media Matters for Small Business Marketing
These days, a lack of social media presence is practically a death sentence for small businesses. It can be tricky to maintain a presence across multiple platforms, but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
Here are some of the primary reasons why social media is essential for small business marketing:
Grow your customer base
Engage and communicate with customers
Learn more about what customers want to see in the future
Stay ahead of the competition and remain relevant
Having a strong social media presence can also help businesses boost their search engine rankings and gain more organic traffic to their websites. This, in turn, can lead to more sales and revenue growth.
Best Social Media Channels for Businesses
It should be clear at this point that social media matters. Some social media platforms are better than others for businesses that want to make a name for themselves, though. The following are the top platforms businesses can use for their marketing efforts:
Facebook: Facebook is the most popular social media platform, and its shares have the greatest impact on Google search engine results.
Twitter: 64 percent of Twitter users are likely to buy products from brands they follow online.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn allows business owners to connect with other professionals and gain access to relevant groups they can use to grow their business.
Instagram: Over 5 million images get uploaded here each day, and it’s an easy way to show people a behind-the-scenes look of a business.
YouTube: YouTube is the internet’s second-largest search engine (with 800 million active daily users) and a great tool for engaging with an audience and boosting search rankings.
Pinterest: Average users spend about 89 minutes per month on Pinterest, where they’re exposed to products and services from all kinds of brands.
Having a Google My Business profile is also a great idea for small business owners. This gives them an opportunity to increase their search engine visibility and it helps consumers to find the business’s physical address when using near me searches. Google My Business provides lots of free customer insights, too, which can allow for better tailoring of marketing campaigns moving forward. Read more on the benefits of setting up a free Google My Business profile.
How to Choose the Right Social Media Channels
There are tons of different social media platforms businesses can use to grow and connect with their audience.
Some businesses assume they need to be present on every single platform. For businesses that have lots of employees and a strong marketing team, this isn’t a terrible strategy. For those working with limited resources, it’s best to choose platforms wisely and focus energy on a few of them instead of trying to spread themselves too thin.
For small businesses that fall into the latter category, here are some tips they can follow to figure out which social media channels need them the most:
1) Evaluate Social Media Goals. One of the first things business owners ought to consider when choosing social media channels is their specific social media goals.
What do they want to accomplish with their online presence? Are they trying to build brand awareness? Do they want to promote a specific product or service? Are they interested in lead generation?
The answers to these questions are essential, as they can help marketers narrow down which channels are most advantageous to their goals. For example, for lead generation, LinkedIn is one of the best tools, especially for those who are in the B2B world.
Facebook and Twitter are also known for being very powerful when generating leads, but many businesses also see success when using Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) when it comes to building brand awareness and promoting specific goods or services.
2) Understand the Target Audience. In addition to getting clear on their goals, business owners and marketers also need to get clear on the people who make up their target audience. Who are they trying to reach with their social media posts? How old are they? Where do they live? What’s their income level?
The answers to these questions will have a huge impact on where a business chooses to focus the majority of their social media-related energy.
For example, if they’re targeting young internet users, platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok are very effective. On the other hand, older customers might spend more time on Facebook and will have no interest in Tik Tok ads or videos.
3) Understand the Competition. It’s not enough just to understand where one’s audience is spending the bulk of their time. Marketers also need to know which platforms their competitors are using. Identifying where a competitor is spending the majority of their time can provide a small business with lots of opportunities to learn from their successes and mistakes.
For example, if they see that a competitor is spending a lot of time on Twitter and doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of returns on their investment, a business owner may make the decision to avoid Twitter and focus on other platforms. They may also choose to take a different approach when it comes to promoting their business on Twitter to see if it’s more effective for growing an audience and accomplishing their specific social media marketing goals.
4) Consider the Brand and Industry. Business owners need to think carefully about their brand values and their industry as a whole before making social media marketing decisions. They should consider which social media platforms best align with their brand values and make the most sense for the types of products or services they sell.
If they have a B2C business, for example, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest that allow for easy shopping might be a good fit. If they have a B2B business, though, LinkedIn will likely provide them with greater returns and will be a better option for the type of customers they’re trying to reach.
5) Analyze Existing Traffic Sources. Sometimes, businesses get so caught up thinking about what they can do better that they forget to address what they’re doing well. When fine-tuning their social media marketing strategies, business owners can learn a lot by looking at their existing website traffic sources.
This practice helps them figure out how the majority of visitors are finding their website. This, in turn, will make it easier for them to decide where they should place more energy and resources in the future, as well as which platforms they should consider avoiding (or at least using less often).
Google Analytics is one of the best tools marketers can use to analyze their current traffic sources. It provides them with easy-to-read graphics to understand where traffic is coming from and how it has changed from month to month (or week to week).
6) Understand Effective Content Types. The “where” matters a great deal when it comes to social media marketing, but so does the “what”. When marketers are having a hard time figuring out where to direct their energy, it helps to think about what types of content are most effective.
Does their target audience respond more to pictures? Videos? Long-form articles? Certain platforms are better suited for different types of content. For example, YouTube is the place to go for video marketing, while LinkedIn provides businesses with a great place for sharing blogs and informational content.
Assessing competitors’ content can be helpful, too. If a competitor never posts any videos promoting their products or services, another small business could beat them to the punch by placing more of an emphasis on video marketing using YouTube.
7) Consider Management Bandwidth. Last, businesses need to be honest when it comes to their social media management bandwidth. How large is their marketing department? How many platforms can they reasonably create high-quality content for and use on a regular basis?
If the responsibility for marketing activities is on one or two people, expecting them to handle seven different networks could be overkill. It might be better to pick two or three to manage very well than to ask them to handle more in a subpar way. This is especially true for businesses that are just starting out. They should remember that they can always add later, but they’re likely better off starting small until they get their bearings.
Become a Social Media Master Today
A strong social media presence is essential for every small business marketing strategy. It’s important to note, that some social media channels are more effective than others. By utilizing the channels listed above, businesses can build a following are promote their products and services to the people who are most likely to invest in them.
Looking for a tool to help you handle the social media marketing in your small business? Hookle helps you to save time by publishing and scheduling posts and monitoring your social media performance effortlessly on one mobile app. Download Hookle now for free!