It’s better to do a few things really well than to do a lot of things mediocrely. The same is true for your business’ social media presence. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the idea of having to be on every site, but that could be a waste of time and resources for you and your business. To get the most out of your time and money, do your research and master three platforms before adding more. To pick the right platforms, you need to completely understand them, your own business, and your business’ goals. Remember to think critically about what your business is and who you’re trying to reach and why. Just because you can be on every social media site doesn’t mean you should. Consider your social media goals—are you trying to direct traffic to your website? Are you trying to establish a new target consumer? Are you trying to recruit new talent?
Here is a look at some of the most popular social media platforms, how they are used, and what target market they can reach to help you decide which are the most strategic for your business.
Facebook is the social media tycoon, with nearly 2 billion monthly active users. Sixty-one percent of Facebook users are ages 35 to 54, making it relative for a business that targets an older market.
Facebook can be great for a variety of businesses because of the different ways it can be utilized. For some businesses it makes sense to have a smaller presence with a page that has general business information, like a phone number, website, address, and a general description. Many people turn to Facebook for this kind of business information or to leave reviews, so keeping your page up-to-date is vital.
Other businesses could use this platform as a way to distribute information to their market about products, events, community outreach, and more. Facebook is huge for advertising, as your business can launch ad campaigns or boost individual posts to a super specific audience.
Snapchat is one of the best apps for low-budget video content. Most users are young; the largest age group of users is 18 to 24, and 71 percent of users are under the age of 34.
If your business is looking to target millennials, Snapchat might be a great way to reach them. But just because that sounds attractive, don’t dive right in. It can be tricky to get users to actually add your business’ username and follow it.
It may be a better option to purchase ad space on the app, including creating limited-time geofilters to promote your events, a specific offer, or a new opening or release. These can also be targeted to specific areas.
Instagram is the latest social media craze, and it’s a huge spot for influencers (people who are well-known and recognized in a certain industry, associated with a certain topic or product, etc.). However, Instagram is one of the trickiest apps for businesses. You can’t put clickable links within posts, so driving traffic to a webpage or blog can be tricky. Instagram is best when used for building your brand recognition, but unique, visually-appealing content is what does well here, not the same old advertising messages. In fact, content will do well on Instagram if it reflects just the opposite and doesn’t resemble an ad.
Instagram’s users are on the younger side with 55 percent falling in the 18 to 29 age range.
Known for do-it-yourself projects in art, food, and decorating, Pinterest has a huge reach among women, as 81 percent of users are female, and Millennials use the app just as much as Instagram. Businesses in the food industry will do great here with unique recipes and presentation ideas. Have an idea for dorm hacks or decorating tactics? Turn it into a blog, get some great photos, and post on Pinterest. If your business can create step-by-step content with great visuals, blogs, and boards, Pinterest might be worth checking out. Users also logon for fashion ideas, so it can be hugely successful for clothing brands.
Realistically, if you’re a business looking to expand and recruit fresh talent, you should have a LinkedIn presence. LinkedIn is the go-to place for prospective talent to check out your business and learn about open positions. This is the place for your business to show off your company culture and what makes it a great place to work to a variety of potential employees.
It can also be a way for your employees to connect with each other, see what competition is up to, and learn insightful business advice.
Social media is one of the optimal (and cheap!) ways to reach your target consumers. But remember, the market is saturated, so it’s imperative you choose the right social network and can create content that delivers. Ensure you have the time to create a regular influx of content and to regularly reply to customer complaints or feedback. When done right, social media is a strategic and fun way to grow your business.
Guest Blogger: Mary Mulcahy
Mary is PR Intern at TDS Telecom and a Journalism student at UW-Madison. She recently returned from studying abroad in Galway, Ireland. In her free time she enjoys traveling, running, cooking, and reading.