Which Social Media Platforms Are Right For Your Business?

Brent Barnhart

September 1, 2019

Brent Barnhart

September 1, 2019

No matter what type of business you run, you’ve undoubtedly been told to step up social presence.

And hey, we totally agree.

However, telling a business to “be active” on social media isn’t exactly practical advice.

Why, though?

For starters, different platforms serve totally different demographics. Oftentimes, comparing the behavior of boomers versus millennials or teenagers on social media is like trying to compare three totally different species. 

But here’s the most pressing problem:  if a business tries to tackle too many social media platforms at once, they’ll eventually spread themselves thin.

From your energy and sanity to your ad dollars,  resources will run dry if you try to be a jack-of-all-trades.

Because even with cross-posting and social scheduling tools available, businesses can’t be everywhere at once in terms of social. 

The solution? Simple. Pick the social media platforms that actually make sense for your business.

 

How to Pick the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Business

We recommend that businesses adopt one or two “priority” platforms where they focus most of their efforts. These are the platforms that are going to result in the most direct customer interactions and revenue.

Picking those platforms ultimately boils down to three factors: 

  • Your social media goals (brand awareness, more customers, etc)

  • Your target audience (demographics, desires, pain points, etc)

  • Your budget and resources (ad dollars, employees, time, etc)

In this guide, we’ll help you understand which social platforms make the most sense for your business by breaking down the pros and cons of each in plain English.

 

Facebook

1. FB

PROS

CONS

  • Excellent ad targeting platform

  • Tons of built-in features for local businesses (think: reviews, schedules, maps, CTA buttons, etc.)

  • A thriving, active user-base where the majority of your customers likely already hang out
  • Limited organic reach from business accounts 

  • Frequent algorithm changes and privacy concerns among users

  • Slightly older demographic with waning interest among millenials and Gen Z


With 1.59 billion daily active users, Facebook is by far the largest and most engaged-with social platforms. 

Although its audience skews older, the majority of social users are active on Facebook in some way, shape or form.

At a glance, Facebook might seem like the go-to social network of digital and brick-and-mortar businesses alike, right? The major hang-up for businesses boils down to the revised  Facebook algorithm which has greatly limited the organic reach of company profiles.

In other words, it’s difficult for businesses and brands to get their messages out in the open without investing in paid ads.

That said, Facebook’s ad platform is insanely powerful. Allowing businesses to target highly specific audiences and essentially “get what they pay for,” there’s a reason why Facebook ad spending is on the rise. 

Whether finding new customers or running remarketing ads which target your existing ones, Facebook ads can result in a flurry of new business for companies that can afford ‘em.

Additionally, Facebook is a must-have if you’re a local business owner. The platform can serve as your business’ social hub and supplement your website’s lead generation efforts brilliantly.  For example, Facebook allows local businesses to:

  • Encourage direct bookings and appointments

  • Input their essential contact and location information (note: great for SEO)

  • Handle customer service concerns directly from Messenger

  • Curate and respond to customer feedback and reviews

 

Instagram

2. sydney ig

PROS

CONS

  • Thrives on visual content, social selling and interactions between brands and customers

  • Recent rapid growth in user-base and engagement

  • Fresh features for business accounts looking to engage customers
  • Difficult to navigate without a highly visual product

  • Emphasis on creativity and aesthetic requires a learning curve for some brands

  • Funneling traffic directly from Instagram to your promotions requires some finessing


Instagram is a totally visual social network that thrives on photos and videos.

A staple of ecommerce brands and local businesses alike, companies are empowered to show off their products, storefronts, employees and everything in-between. Meanwhile, features such as Instagram Stories allow businesses to engage with customers via bite-sized, ephemeral content that’s off-the-cuff.

Oh, and Instagram is also a fantastic place to spot influencers in your industry who can help you promote your brand organically.

There’s no denying that growing on the platform requires a sense of creativity, though. Brands that thrive on Instagram aren’t just the ones posting photos at random: they’re crafting clever captions, using flashy filters and constantly experimenting with different types of content (think: collages, time-lapse video, etc).

Obviously if you have a physical product or work in a highly “visual” industry (think: travel), Instagram is a no-brainer. However, the platform presents a distinct challenge for brands in B2B industries that aren’t exactly as “sexy” (think: software).

But one huge benefit of Instagram is that it’s part of Facebook’s ad platform. There are tons of effective Instagram ad types out there to catch the eyes of your target audience depending on what you’re selling.

 

Linkedin

3. LinkedIn Koala

PROS

CONS

  • A massive, engaged user-base of B2B professionals

  • Prime resource for recruiting talent and promoting employee advocacy

  • Built-in features to help companies position themselves 
  • Ad platform is limited and pricey

  • Audience growth requires commitment from employees

  • Serves almost exclusively a B2B audience, very few social selling opportunities for B2C brands

Fact: 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.

Translation? LinkedIn is the place to be if you’re looking to flex your business’ influence and capture B2B customers. 

Think of LinkedIn as your company’s resume, a digital hub to highlight your expertise and attract new talent. In addition to hiring, LinkedIn is an underrated channel for B2B content creation and promotion. Paid features including LinkedIn Life Pages allow businesses to show off their employees, company culture and industry influence.

On that note, LinkedIn is the perfect platform for employee advocacy. Encouraging individual employees to boast a LinkedIn presence means more visibility for your company within your industry and more mileage for your content promotion.

Upkeep for company pages on LinkedIn is pretty straightforward, too. Beyond posting company announcements, content (think: blogs and videos) and open positions, most interactions between users happen on the employee level.

An obvious downside of LinkedIn is that there’s a limited audience for B2C brands. Rather than focus on social selling, such companies and their employees will primarily interact with fellow industry employees rather than potential customers. 

And in terms of ads, a high price tag and somewhat limited features leave much to be desired versus the laser-targeting of Facebook.

 

YouTube

4. YouTube Frank Body

PROS

CONS

  • Engaged and active user-base eager to learn about products and brands

  • Increased visibility in Google search

  • Integration with Google’s robust ad platform
  • Follower growth requires consistency and long-term investment in promotion

  • Learning curve involved in terms of optimization and YouTube’s algorithm

  • Concept of going “viral” is slim and often overblown

According to recent YouTube statistics, video content is absolutely killing it right now and brands are taking notice.

YouTube is the go-to to house everything from product tutorials to commercials and beyond. If your business is producing any type of video content, there’s no reason why you can’t upload it to YouTube. This also includes webinar replays, behind-the-scenes videos and event coverage.

That said, growing any sort of significant audience requires consistently in terms of uploading and engaging with viewers. 

Spoiler alert: you’re probably not going to “go viral” at random. Comparing branded content to what you see scoring millions of views on the “Trending” page is apples and oranges.

One of the biggest benefits of having a YouTube presence is your ability to boost your organic search rankings. Given that YouTube videos often show up within organic research results, videos optimized for keywords have the potential to give your business some much-needed search engine exposure.

In terms of promotion, YouTube’s integration with Google Ads means that you have access to a robust, diverse ad network. 

Additionally, YouTube is a brilliant channel for influencers. Building relationships with established YouTubers allows you to get your products in front of relevant customers without requiring you to have a massive audience yourself.

 

Pinterest

5. gymshark

PROS

CONS

  • Majority female user-base laser-focused on discovering products

  • Branded, promo-based content is both welcome and encouraged

  • Pinterest users are consistently big spenders
  • Depending on your product, your audience on Pinterest may be non-existent

  • Smaller network (~300 million users), user growth has slowed down within the past year

  • Visual and/or physical product is essential to growth


Although Pinterest may not have the same buzz as the likes of Instagram, it’s an incredibly valuable platform depending on your audience.

Unlike other platforms where social selling requires some subtly, Pinterest is almost primarily product-based. In fact, 90% of weekly users turn to Pinterest to make purchasing decisions. Perhaps that’s why retailers score a higher ROI from Pinterest versus other social channels, too.

Like Instagram, companies than thrive on Pinterest need to be selling a highly visual product. Pinterest is a staple of retailers and e-tailers, particularly those in the fitness, beauty and travel industries. Although the platform’s audience is somewhat niche and smaller size-wise (~300 million users), its users are high-intent buyers.

Also, note that 80% of Pinterest’s user-base consists of women. This is fantastic news if you have a primarily female audience, but also drives home the fact that Pinterest serves a very specific demographic. That said, it’s a demographic that historically spends big.

 

Twitter

6. twitter qantas

PROS

CONS

  • Account setup and upkeep is arguably the easiest among all social networks

  • Fantastic for communication and customer service

  • 280-character limit encourages a simpler, minimalist content strategy
  • Limited advertising and social selling features

  • Fast-moving content and non-chronological feeds means reach is often limited

  • Focus is often on larger, global markets versus local customer communities

These days, Twitter presents itself more-so source of news rather than a business platform to the general public. 

However, consider that Twitter is the preferred customer service channel of small businesses worldwide. 

Customers and businesses can go back-and-forth on Twitter in a way that’s time-efficient and transparent, serving as an alternative to endless email chains or phone tag.

Another big benefit of Twitter is that profile setup and upkeep is relatively simple. With little more than a profile picture, cover photos and bio, you’re off to the races. The platform’s 280-character limit also means that your content strategy doesn’t need to be terribly complicated. 

Most businesses use Twitter as a communication channel versus somewhere to sell to customers. That said, it’s a great resource for posting company updates, reminders and sharing the sort of image or video-based content you might see on Instagram.

 

Snapchat

7. snapchat

PROS

CONS

  • Ideal for reaching millennial and Gen Z customers

  • Taps into the trend of ephemeral content

  • Prime for consistent audience engagement and simple content production
  • Ad platform is primarily reserved for “bigger” brands

  • Ephemeral content means that what you create and promote doesn’t “stick around”

  • Niche user-base and limited opportunities for social selling


Snapchat is somewhat of an enigma when it comes to social platforms.

Why? The platform’s audience skews young. Like, way young. 

Nearly 70% of teenagers aged 13 to 17 are active on Snapchat. Despite the platform’s large user-base, this fact coupled with the minimalist nature of the platform make it tricky for brands and advertisers. 

Snapchat’s ad platform as it stands seems primarily reserved for bigger brands as opposed to smaller, local businesses. Meanwhile, the fact that Snapchat content is ephemeral and time-sensitive means that anything you spend time creating for the platform won’t have much of a lasting effect.

But with all of this in mind, Snapchat is a great channel for making consistent touchpoints with your audience. 

For example, a local business might use Snapchat to post event updates, Snapchat-exclusive specials or playful behind-the-scenes content. Such posts can be created and a better of seconds and manage to keep your audience in the loop.

Honestly, businesses are still trying to fully wrap their heads around the marketing potential of snapchat, but it may be worth at least checking out depending on your target audience.

 

So, Which Social Platforms are Right For Your Business?

Remember: there is no “right” answer here.

Which platforms you’re active on ultimately depend on your goals, audience and budget. 

As long as you’re hanging out where your customers are hanging out and you’re scoring engagement, you’re golden.  

Regardless of what your priority platforms might be, just make sure you aren’t spreading yourself too thin.  And if you need help coming up with a social media marketing strategy that makes sense for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the experts at Hello Social today.

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