Choose the right social media platforms for your business

Two professionals reviewing items on a whiteboard.

We’ll just say this up front: If you’re in business today, you need to be on social media.

However…that doesn’t mean you need to be on every platform. That’s the social equivalent of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, and it can make for not only a messy wall, but an overwhelmed business owner as you try to keep up. To help you decide which social media platforms make the most sense for your business, let’s take a look at some platforms to consider.

The platforms

Unless you have someone who can operate as a dedicated social media specialist, we suggest keeping your focus manageable by using one to three social platforms. The idea is quality, not quantity.

So, which channels? That depends on your customers. Often, you can make a reasonable guess as to where they are on social media based on their age group and what you know about their interests (you could also send out a survey to ask about their social media habits).

Here’s an overview of the most popular platforms as a starting point:

(1) 31 powerful Pinterest statistics (2023),

As you can see, if your customers tend to be older, the odds are good that you’ll find them on Facebook rather than TikTok. And as an example, if you own a home décor business, your audience’s favorite online activity might be collecting aspirational home design ideas on Instagram or Pinterest.

If you’d like to take a deeper dive into how you can use the most popular platforms for your business, both Zoho Social and Sprout Social offer detailed explorations.

Narrowing it down

All right, so now you have a better idea of the available platforms. Now, how do you decide where to focus your energy? This is where you’ll need to ask yourself some questions—and give yourself some honest answers—about your business:

  1. Who is our ideal customer or client? This is the single most important factor in determining your use of social media, so if you don’t know the answer to this question, it’s time to figure out who you’re selling to.

  2. Are we business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) based? Marketing a product or service to consumers is entirely different than marketing to another business. Learn more about the difference between B2C and B2B.  

  3. What are our goals for social media? Do you want to build an email list, increase recognition of your brand, reach a larger audience or introduce a new product/service? It’s time to define what success looks like to you.

  4. What kind of content should we post? Your content can be as simple as a typed update or as elaborate as a video demonstration of your new product. The key is understanding which content performs well on each platform and scaling the content to your abilities. Check out these ideas for social media content.

  5. Where are our competitors? Do a competitive analysis on your competitors’ use of social media. See what they do well, analyze what they don’t do so well and learn from your observations.

Summing it all up

When 72% of the public uses some type of social media, it’s time to connect with your current and prospective customers where they are. And the most important thing we can tell you is that if you’re not out there, it’s well past time to grab the opportunities that social media offers the small business owner. From brand awareness to more responsive customer service, social media can be the next best thing to a face-to-face conversation with your customers (and you won’t have to keep cleaning those walls!).