When you started your business, social media was like a bright shiny object. You jumped on every popular social media platform, secured an account, set up a profile, and published a few posts. Then, months passed.
What happened? Overwhelm set in. With so many platforms to update and content to curate, nothing got posted. That’s ok, my friend, it’s happened to me too, and I work in marketing. In reality, there’s only so much time, money and resources. But if you prioritize platforms that are right for your business and balance the ingredients to success, you’ll win at social media.
Social Media Platforms
First, you need to know the top platforms available, who uses them, and why to determine if they’re a fit for your business. Let’s dive in.
Facebook is by far the most extensive network with more users than any other site. Also, this Pew Research data illustrates Facebook as the leader in usage by the percentage of U.S. adults. Not only is Facebook, the leader, but by large margins.
The only other site that comes close is YouTube — owned by Google, this site functions as a search engine for watching videos. Next, comes Instagram. Oh, and Facebook owns Instagram – how convenient. That gap in usage is over thirty percent with Facebook as the lead.
Who’s using Facebook?
- A slightly higher male demographic than female, but barely
- All age ranges, with more seniors 65+ using this platform than any other site
- 82% of college graduates are on Facebook
- 51% of those ages 13 to 17 say they use the platform
- 72% of users earn more than $75k
User habits include:
- 74% visit at least once per day
- The average time spent on Facebook is 35 minutes per day
- 96% of Facebook users access it on mobile
- 85% of videos are watched without sound
- 87% of coworkers connect using Facebook
Facebook statistics show the masses are on this platform. For smaller businesses with limited resources, Facebook is often the chosen channel for this reason.
However, their organic reach (the number of people reached without paying for it) of only about 6.4% of page likes per post, can make it challenging to connect with a large audience. Of course, fantastic content that serves your audience and tackles why they visit that platform can beat the averages on organic reach.
So, why do people visit Facebook?
- Connect with friends, family, or other communities
- Entertainment or pass the time
- Learn about or meet new people
- Stay up-to-date on news
- Share personal information or content
- Find information on products or services
Notice, all but one reason involves a business reason! Am I the only person who opens up their Facebook app in hopes of being sold that perfect monogrammed outfit for their baby? Just kidding, it’s a result of seeing an ad.
All kidding aside, think about the last time you engaged with a brand on Facebook and why. Was there value in it for you? Of course! If not, you’d keep scrolling checking out photos of your friends’ kids, puppies and kittens, or quotes that make you laugh out loud.
The popularity of Instagram has grown, as shown by the Pew Research data above in usage. People love getting lost in those perfect square images scrolling through their screen.
Who’s using Instagram?
- 52% of users are female
- 72% of teens use Instagram
- 71% of U.S. businesses are on Instagram
- 31% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 24 use Instagram, and 32% of internet users between the ages of 25 and 34 use Instagram
User habits include:
- Users spend 53 minutes a day on Instagram
- 80% of accounts follow a business on Instagram
- 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram
- Instagram videos get two times the engagement of photos than any other social media platform
There’s no denying that Instagram statistics show this platform sways heavily toward a younger generation. It also shows that people love this app for its beautiful photos, videos, and the ability to discover new ideas, people, or things.
While users are more open to discovering brands using the app, it has to be something that sparks their curiosity, solves a problem, or adds beauty to their life. So, if you can curate highly visual media showcasing your product or service targeting this audience, Instagram may be the right place for your brand.
Twitter is an established social networking platform and known for their friendly bird icon.
Who’s using Twitter?
- 66% of users are male
- 80% of users are affluent millennials
- 56% of users earn $50k or more in a year
- 80% of Twitter users are affluent millennials
- 37% of users are between 18 and 29 years old
- 25% of users are 30 – 49 years old
User habits include:
- 46% of users access the app every day
- 74% of users say they use the network to get their news
- 85% of small and medium business users use Twitter to provide customer service
- Discovering something new and interesting is the most cited reason for visiting Twitter
The statistics for Twitter overwhelmingly show that users are looking for news and to discover things. They also use it to share service issues with brands.
If your business doesn’t provide frequent updates and something new and interesting, you may want to consider if it’s the platform for you. You can be on Twitter to answer customer service inquiries and not post content. Don’t post just to post. Also, if you don’t have a process to respond to customers, then pull the plug on the platform until you do. It will cause more damage to your brand if you aren’t ready to handle customer comments.
LinkedIn is the largest networking platform for professionals.
Who’s using LinkedIn?
- 57% of users are male, and 43% are female
- Almost a quarter of users are 18 to 29
- 90 million LinkedIn users are senior-level influencers, and 63 million are in decision-making positions
- 49% of users earn more than $75,000 in a year
User habits include:
- 40% visit daily
- An average user spends 17 minutes monthly on LinkedIn
- More than 90% of recruiters use the platform regularly
- It’s the #1 channel B2B marketers use to distribute content at 94%
Given the statistics on LinkedIn, if you’re a B2B company, it’s likely an excellent platform for you to provide thought leadership, share content, connect with clients, and even recruit and retain top talent. B2C organizations often lead with recruitment and retention as their prime goal and demonstrate their employee value proposition on LinkedIn.
Do you use Pinterest to find new recipes, party ideas, or decor? While it’s perfect for that too, it provides so much more.
Let’s first start with what it’s not and how it works. Pinterest isn’t a social networking platform. People aren’t looking to find new friends or see their friend’s kid’s latest school picture. They want to discover or learn something new or be inspired.
Pinterest works like a search engine. You type something you want to discover or explore into the search bar and hit go. The result delivers Pins that closely match the phrase or keywords you used. It also gives alternative phrases you might want to explore.
When you create a Pin, you can include keywords in the description to help people find your Pin. Plus, it allows you to add a link back to your website.
Who’s using Pinterest?
- 79.5% of users are female
- The median age of a Pinterest user is 40
- 40% of Pinners have a household income of $100k+
- 50% of Pinterest users are from the U.S.
User habits include:
- Ideas are the primary reason people go to Pinterest
- 93% of active pinners said they use Pinterest to plan for purchases
- 87% said they’ve purchased something because of Pinterest
- Over 5% of all referral traffic to a website comes from Pinterest
- Two-thirds of pins represent brands and products
Average time spent on Pinterest per visit is 14.2 minutes The statistics for Pinterest are hard to ignore if you’re a business trying to reach female, Generation Xers in the United States with a higher than average household income. Of course, you need amazing content they’re searching for to show up on their feed – no pressure.
It’s where people go to watch videos or TV. Sometimes they don’t even know what they want to watch, but hours can pass before even realizing it. Does this ever happen to you?
Who’s using YouTube?
- Over one billion users (or almost 1/3 of the internet)
- It reaches more 18-34 year-olds than any TV network in the U.S.
- Millennials prefer YouTube 2 to 1 over traditional TV
- 62% of YouTube users are male
- Over 100 countries and accessed in 80 different languages
User habits include:
- The average viewing session is 40 minutes
- 75% of adults turn to YouTube for nostalgia rather than tutorials or current events
- 51% of users say they visit the site daily
Like Pinterest, YouTube functions on search and is technically the second largest online search engine in the world. Of course, Google owns it. If being found through search is vital to your business, this feature could help new customers find you.
The statistics on YouTube make it enticing to incorporate into your business. So, what’s the catch? You have to create video content that users want to watch. It doesn’t have to be professionally filmed and edited, but it must connect with your audience.
Known for “snaps” that live for a short time, users love this feature, while businesses find this an ultimate barrier. But first, let’s find out if it’s a platform that makes sense for your business.
Who’s using Snapchat?
- Daily, users spend about 30 minutes on Snapchat
- 75% of users are under 34 years old
- 90% of users are from age 13-24
- About 61% of users are female
User habits include:
- Active Snapchatters open the app 20 times per day
- 95% of users say the app makes them feel happy
- About 61% of users access the platform daily
- On average, people spend 34.5 minutes per day on Snapchat and send 34.1 messages a day
Snapchatters often use the platform as a mobile messaging app, similar to texting. Also, selfies are a big draw too.
The Snapchat statistics show this platform as a strong contender if you’re targeting teens, young adults, or college students. If that’s not your audience, then spending time creating “snaps” that disappear probably isn’t the best use of your time and resources.
Prioritize Social Media Platforms
Now that you know which platform is right for your business, list them in order of importance. Start with which one shows the most opportunity in aligning with your ideal audience. This is key as you assess your resources, capabilities, and budget.
Assess Your Resources
Who will be managing social media daily? Someone needs to receive notifications, answer comments, and engage on every platform your business participates in. This could be you, someone on your team, or you outsource this task.
This person must have time to devote to making social media successful. Developing a strategy, planning content, curating content, creating copy, posting, and then engaging with an audience takes time and skill. You won’t get the results you want with any warm body available for the task.
How much time does it take? Well, that depends. The more platforms you engage in, the more time it takes. The larger your follower base grows, the more time it takes to respond to comments and provide service. Also, if you post content frequently, the more time it requires to create content.
In addition to time, running social media takes skill. First, this person needs to have a passion for the task. Passion oozes into everything you do, and if it’s a “must-do” checklist item, it shows on social. Besides a love for social media, here are a few other skills to look for:
- Ability to keep up with trends
- Copywriting, photography, and graphics
- Personality and sense of humor
- Knowledge of the platforms and best practices for success
The last point combines passion and skill. The person managing your social media may have a “preferred” platform that they enjoy using and are good at managing for a business. Does this align with the needs of your business? If not, keep looking for the right person to manage it.
Set a Budget
The biggest myth in social media is that it’s free. No, I’m not talking about running paid ads, but you could do that too. It takes time and resources to create all the pieces that go into making it a success. Besides, who has time to do it all alone? Not me.
Areas you might invest in and set a budget for include:
- Customer service
Leave Peer Pressure Behind
Don’t get caught in the comparison game of what social media platforms your competitors have. Just because they use a platform doesn’t mean you should too. If you look at their profiles, you might find that they aren’t successful at any platform. Is that what you want for your social media? No! Ok, good.
Participating in too many social media platforms is the biggest mistake I see small businesses make. They don’t account for the resources, including the time and money it takes to do it well.
Even worse, it’s perceived as a free place to advertise. Have you opened Instagram lately because you can’t wait for a brand to sell you something? That’s what I thought, me either.
I say start small with one or two of the top platforms that’s right for your business. Growing and adding more later is the easy part.
Ready, Set, Grow!
All my best,