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Five Steps to Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Business

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

We’ve all heard of the less is more approach in life, but at JM Social Media Management, we often find that small businesses don’t embrace this well-known philosophy when it comes to their social media efforts. So, how many social media platforms should your business be active on, and how do you choose which platforms are best for your brand? Follow our Five Steps to Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms for your Business below.

Which platforms are your target audience using?

Social media is not a one-size fits all approach – in fact the best and most successful brand accounts rarely target a broad consumer base. Just like a brick-and-mortar business, social media strategies should be highly targeted towards your perfect consumer.

A common mistake many businesses make is to create digital strategies using platforms that are popular yet are not used by their target audience. Consider TikTok, for example, one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the UK, however 41 percent of TikTok users (globally) are aged between 16 and 24 (Globalwebindex, 2019). Therefore, despite its growth rate, for brands looking to promote to a Millennial or Generation X consumer TikTok may be a waste of time and resources that would be better spent on other social platforms.

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What are your social media goals?

As you will likely know, there are many different platforms out there, each with their own niche in terms of features, uses and integrations which can be harnessed for different business goals. Consider the reason behind your social media strategy; are you looking to increase conversions, gather new leads, or, perhaps build a community? Which platform’s features best allow you to meet this goal?

Business integrations within Facebook & Instagram easily make these the best platforms for directing traffic towards an e-commerce site and thus increasing online conversions, whereas LinkedIn is effective for sourcing new leads – particularly for B2B businesses.

Where are your competitors?

Competitor research is an essential step in every well-planned marketing initiative and social media strategy is no exception. We like to use competitor research as a starting point – a cheat sheet if you like – allowing you to hone in on your competitors’ research by seeing which platforms they are using, and importantly, which ones they are exhibiting the most engagement on.

Whilst undertaking this step of planning be sure to look at which content is performing the best on your competitors accounts so that you can consider similar themes for your own strategy!

The Rule of Three

Even for businesses that have relatively broad consumer bases – or that have identified several social platforms where their target market is prevalent – stick to just two or three platforms to focus your resources.

A key mistake many small businesses make when designing their social media strategy is to spread themselves too thin, often resulting in poorer content.

Instead, look at which platforms are best geared to showcase what you do: design-focussed brand? Consider Instagram. Educational resources? Look at YouTube for creating educational content and LinkedIn for networking.

Consider your resources & capabilities

Whilst your social media strategy should be predominantly consumer-lead, it is important for businesses to consider the practicality of content creation. Consistency is essential in successful social media strategy and so brands cannot afford to dip in and out of social media if they want to cultivate a loyal following and promote growth.

The relative demands of platforms are different both in terms of financial and time resources. For example, YouTube lends itself to more lengthy content which can be time consuming to create and edit and can also cost more to produce i.e. investing in high-resolution cameras and video editing software, however, there is less demand to post on a daily basis – which may make it a more viable option for those with little time during the week. On the flipside, platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram necessitate regular content – often posting once or twice a day with multiple story updates, so may be free to put together but require more regular, ongoing commitment.