There’s no question that social media is important for every business, but choosing which social media platforms to embrace and invest time and money in is a stumbling block for many SMEs.
There’s a temptation to avoid choosing by creating profiles on all social media platforms, and while it can be a good idea to reserve your profile name, trying to juggle numerous social media platforms is a mistake.
Most SMEs do not have an abundance of time or a big marketing budget, so doing more than a few social media platforms justice just isn’t possible. That means you need to choose one or two you can do well, but which should you choose?
Read on or if you'd rather listen to the article you can hit play below.
The first step when deciding which social media platform(s) to focus on is to figure out where your audience spends their time. Not all social media platforms appeal to everyone and there are also platforms where your audience will be more responsive to your content.
For example, if your business sells IT equipment to other businesses, you may find your audience is responsive on LinkedIn but unwilling to interact with your business on Instagram because your customers use it exclusively for their personal lives.
This kind of information can only be learned by doing your research, and don’t assume you know the answer just because you’re B2C or B2B - some B2B businesses prefer platforms like Instagram or Facebook because they feel more creative and personal than LinkedIn.
If you have competitors that are serving the same or a very similar ideal customer, take a look at what they’re doing for their social media marketing. You can find inspiration here for posts that will get engagement, but also look at where they’re getting the most engagement and where they’re spending their time - that will show you where their audience is.
When you’re doing the marketing yourself, it’s important to choose a social media platform that lends itself well to the type of content you like creating, but this is also true for your brand. Is your brand conversational and fun, or serious and factual? What kind of content marketing (blogs, videos, podcasts, etc) do you do?
Answering these questions will help you choose a social media platform that’s enjoyable and in alignment with your brand. For example, sharing your blog posts and reports is a good choice for LinkedIn, and sharing snippets of videos or podcasts works well for TikTok or Instagram Stories and Reels.
When you’re doing your research on where your audience likes to hang out online, you may come across relevant communities on different platforms. Think about whether you want to be a brand that joins and interacts with those communities, or creates them. If you want to create a community, utilising Facebook Groups, Reddit, or Discord may be the best way to do so. While creating your own community is more work, it will also be more valuable.
You may have a big, overarching ‘why’ that drives your business, but consider why you want to use social media too. If the answer is, “because I know I have to,” dig deeper. What do you want to share with your audience? Are you a brand that shares visual inspiration, how-tos, or words of wisdom? While you can find a way to bring these aspects to any social media platform, the message you want to share may lend itself better to one social media platform than another.
Whichever social media platform is right for your business, the key is to aim for consistency. Unless you have someone on your team working full time on your social media management without much content creation, you’ll struggle to meaningfully engage with your audience on all the relevant social media platforms. Instead, pick one or two and put all your effort into developing those until you see meaningful results.