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What Social Media Platform Is Best for Small Businesses?
What are the best social media platforms for small business?
As a small business owner, you know that using social media is a great way to reach new customers and grow your business.
But there are many different social media platforms out there, and it can be hard to figure out which one is right for your business. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to choose the one that will work best for your business and your goals.
So which social media site is the best for your business to be on?
Let’s take a look at the most popular social media platforms, discuss some of the pros and cons of each platform, and help you decide which platform is right for your small business. We’ll also go over strategies to keep you from wasting time and effort on your social media marketing.
Which Social Media Platform Is Best for Business?
If you are looking for the best social media platforms for business, there are quite a few to choose from, and you absolutely do not want to try to do all of them. That really would be a waste of time, and I want you to be SMART about your social media marketing strategy.
That means the first and possibly the most important step is to choose ONE or two social media platforms you will focus on, at least to start with.
And your customers and potential customers are DEFINITELY on at least one, if not more, of these social media sites.
Let’s check out social media user statistics for the big ones:
- Facebook currently has over 2.9 billion daily active users
- YouTube has over 2.5 billion active users
- Instagram has 1.4 billion
- TikTok has 1 billion
- Pinterest has 444 million
- Twitter has approximately 436 million
- LinkedIn has 310 million
Social Media Sites Are the Best Way To Reach More People
With such a crazy number of people using social media every single day, it is easy to see why social media is one of the most POWERFUL ways to grow your business online.
Social media allows you to attract new customers and connect with an audience that you never would otherwise. But it’s best to start with one or two.
Instead of trying to post on each social media platform out there, focus instead on the 1 or 2 that will have the most impact on your business. And then really work the social network into your sales process. You have to post with purpose, not just for the sake of posting.
So how do you choose the best social media platform?
You have to look first at your audience so you can find out where your time will be best spent.
What do you know about your audience?
In order to do this, you first need to know a bit about your customers:
- Where do they spend their time on social media?
- Where do they interact with businesses and brands?
- What sites influence them to buy things?
- Who are the biggest players in your industry, and what social media platforms do they use?
If your audience is on the younger side, you may want to focus on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube, which have a strong following with Millennials.
If your focus is on business professionals, LinkedIn may be a good place to focus. If you’re targeting creative women or looking for a more visual platform, Pinterest and Instagram may be good places to begin. But let’s dive a little deeper into each one.
Here are the basics of each social media channel, starting with Facebook.
As the largest social media site, Facebook provides a huge opportunity for small businesses to reach new audiences. With over 2 billion active users, and the largest audience of the different platforms, there is potential to connect with nearly anyone in the world. In addition, Facebook offers a variety of features that can be beneficial for businesses, such as the ability to create a Page ( separate from a personal profile), boost posts to reach more people, run ads, and create groups.
✅ How to set up Facebook for your business? Click here
Pros of using Facebook for Small Business
On the plus side, Facebook can be a great way to connect with potential customers and build relationships. It can also be a great way to promote and sell products or services. Ads are both easy to create, easy to run, and cost-effective for more businesses to reach their target market.
Cons of using Facebook for Small business
On the downside, Facebook can be a time-sink, and it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. Also, because many people are there for family, friends, and entertainment, it can be difficult to separate business time from fun time.
Our Facebook Experience: Both Sean and I and all of our clients have had tremendous success on Facebook. There are so many people that it is easy to carve out your own spot on the platform and connect with your people through your page, groups, or even ads.
YouTube is the world’s largest video-sharing website and has over 2 billion monthly active users. While it is primarily used for entertainment, it can also be a powerful marketing tool for businesses. Companies can create and post videos to promote their products or services, as well as create a channel to host all of their videos in one place. In addition, YouTube offers features such as annotations and cards that can be used to link to other websites or videos, making it a great way to drive traffic to your own website.
✅ How to set up YouTube for business: click here
Pros of using Youtube for Small Business
There are a lot of advantages to using Youtube for business. YouTube is a very popular website, so you will have a lot of potential customers who can view your videos. You can also post your videos on other websites and blogs to increase your exposure. Additionally, YouTube provides a platform for customers to interact with you and leave comments. This can be a great way to get feedback about your products or services.
Cons of using YouTube for Small business
However, there are also some disadvantages to using YouTube for business. First, it can be difficult to get your videos noticed among the millions of other videos on YouTube. You will need to promote your videos in order to get them seen.
Our YouTube Experience: I have dived more into YouTube than Sean. Now that I finally got over my fear of being on camera, I am all in. I love that YouTube is very searchable, and content lives forever. People have questions, and I can serve up the answers.
While Instagram is smaller than Facebook, with only 1.4 billion monthly active users (only, haha!), it has some distinct advantages for businesses. For example, because it is primarily a visual platform, it can be particularly well-suited for businesses in the design, fashion, food, and travel industries.
Sean has done well with Instagram because people love pictures of cool cars. In addition, Instagram offers features such as Stories (short videos or images that disappear after 24 hours), and short video format Reels, which are great for reaching a wider audience. And your ad campaigns easily connect via your Facebook business account.
✅ How to set up Instagram for business: Click here
Pros of using Instagram for Small business
You can reach a large, engaged audience on Instagram, with over 1 billion people using it every month, with over 500 million daily users. By sharing compelling content, you can reach a large audience of potential customers.
Instagram is a great platform for increasing brand awareness and visibility. By using relevant hashtags and location tags, you can make sure your content is seen by people who are interested in what you do.
You can also include links to your website in your Instagram bio and in the captions of your posts. This can help drive traffic to your website and increase leads and sales. Instagram is a great way to increase customer engagement. By responding to comments and messages, you can create a connection with your customers and make them feel valued.
Cons of using Instagram for Small business
Creating quality content on Instagram is time-consuming. If you don’t have someone dedicated to managing your Instagram account, it can be difficult to keep up with posting regularly.
To be successful, you need to be active, post consistently, and engage with your audience regularly. If you’re not consistently posting new content and engaging with your followers, you’re unlikely to see much success.
Our Experience with Instagram: Both Sean and I are active on Instagram. We have made some great connections, drove traffic to our websites, and done well advertising our events. For several of our clients that we run Facebook campaigns and Sean included, the reach of these ads spills over to Instagram, and the results are we worth the ad spent.
LinkedIn is the social media platform for professionals and businesses. With over 310 million users active each month, it is a great place to connect with other businesses and potential customers. LinkedIn also offers a variety of features that can be useful for most businesses, such as the ability to create a Company Page, run ads, post job listings, and write articles on the LinkedIn Pulse blog.
✅ How to set up LinkedIn for business: Click here
Pros of using LinkedIn for Small business
LinkedIn is a great way to connect with other professionals in your industry. It’s an effective platform for content marketing since you can share articles, blog posts, and other types of content with your connections. It can be used to generate leads for your business and is a great platform for recruiting new employees.
Cons of using LinkedIn for Small business
LinkedIn can be time-consuming to use effectively. It’s important to have a professional-looking profile and to keep it up-to-date. To be successful, you need to be active on the platform in order to reap the benefits. Lastly, LinkedIn is a pay-to-play platform, meaning that you have to invest in ads or premium memberships in order to reach a wider audience.
Our Experience with LinkedIn: I want to like LinkedIn, but to me, it’s a bunch of marketers reaching out to anyone and everyone with little regard for learning more about them. It feels spammy and disingenuous, so I am in and out of there when posting digital marketing content. However, I know of many professional service businesses that kill it on there, so to each their own.
Twitter is a microblogging platform that allows users to share short messages, or tweets, of up to 280 characters. Although it has a smaller user base than some other social media platforms, with only 397 million monthly active users, Twitter can be a great way for businesses to connect with customers and build their brands. Twitter is also useful for customer service and for staying up-to-date on news and trends in your industry.
✅ How to set up Twitter business account: click here.
Pros of using Twitter for Small business
Twitter can be a great way for small business owners to connect with potential and current customers. It allows you to share information about your products and services, as well as promote special offers and discounts, and drive website traffic. You can also use Twitter to build relationships with other businesses, which can lead to valuable partnerships.
Cons of using Twitter for Small Business
However, there are also some downsides to using Twitter for business. First, it can be time-consuming to keep up with your tweets and respond to customers. Second, there is always the risk that some of your tweets will be misunderstood or taken out of context by other Twitter users. Finally, Twitter can be a distraction from more important tasks, such as running your business.
Our Experience with Twitter: Many, many years ago, I started my Twitter journey and found that I got sucked into a black hole and got little done. In my digital marketing career, I am a doer, I have to get stuff done, and so I decided it was best to stay away. Sean has made some connections on there, but he is not too active.
TikTok is a relatively new social media platform that has quickly gained popularity, particularly among Gen Z users. It is a short-form video app where users can share creative and funny videos set to music. While TikTok is not typically thought of as a business platform, it can actually be a great way to reach potential customers, especially if your target market is young adults. In addition, TikTok offers features such as duets, which can be used to create collaborative content with other users, and Hashtags, which can be used to connect with like-minded users and discover new content.
✅ How to set up a TikTok business account: click here
Pros of using TikTok for Small business
TikTok has a huge user base. There are over 1 billion active users on TikTok, which gives businesses a large potential audience to reach. It is incredibly popular with Gen Z users. This is an important demographic for many small businesses, as they are the future consumers.
TikTok is a great platform for creative content. If your business is creative, TikTok is a great way to show off your work and reach new audiences. And there is no cost to create or post content on TikTok.
Cons of using TikTok for Small business
TikTok has a short attention span. Due to the nature of the platform, users are generally only watching videos for a few seconds. This means businesses need to be creative and grab attention quickly.TikTok is a global platform. This can be both a pro and a con, but it’s worth noting that not all countries have the same level of access to TikTok. In some countries, the app is banned entirely.
TikTok is a new platform. This means that there is still a lot of uncertainty around best practices and what works on the platform. It can be difficult to stand out from the crowd and get noticed on TikTok.
Our experience with TikTok: I have decided to take a pass on this one. I like Instagram and YouTube so much that I have decided to stake my claim there, and my customers are a bit older than the TikTok crowd. However, Sean has done well on there for Miles Through Time. He has reached a younger car-loving audience and some viral-for-him moments that were fun.
Pinterest is a social media platform that is primarily visual. Users can create boards where they save (or “pin”) images and videos that interest them. Pinterest is a great platform for businesses in the design, fashion, food, and travel industries, as well as any business that has high-quality visuals (such as infographics or product photos). In addition, Pinterest offers features such as Rich Pins (which provide more information about a Pin), Promoted Pins (which appear at the top of search results), and Buyable Pins (which allow users to purchase products directly from Pinterest).
✅ How to create a business Pinterest account: click here
Pros of using Pinterest for Small business
Pinterest allows for easy sharing of images and videos. There is a large and engaged user base that is interested in a wide variety of topics, so yours may be a perfect match. Pinterest can also be a great way to drive traffic to your website or blog. Pinterest is a search engine, and its pins are indexed on Google and served as results in searches.
Cons of using Pinterest for Small business
Pinterest can be time-consuming to maintain a presence on the site. It requires high-quality visuals to be effective, which can be time-consuming or costly for many small business owners. It also may not be the best platform for all small businesses, for example, if you don’t have very visual products or services.
Our experience with Pinterest: I am personally a huge fan of Pinterest and have worked it deep into my blogged process. Every post I write gets pinned on Pinterest using a plugin called Tasty Pins to assist in the pins and an app called TailWind that makes a queue of scheduled pins. Pinterest is another site that serves as a search engine, pins show up on Google searches, and the content lives forever, so I am all in here as well. I get consistent traffic to my website from the platform.
Other Social Media Platforms
There are always up-and-coming social media sites, like Clubhouse, smaller local platforms like Alignable, and other forum-style sites like Reddit that you can dive into, but remember: You only have so much time to be effectively active, so choose to branch out wisely. The best choice, at least to start with, is one of the big ones we’ve discussed.
With this many big social media sites, which is the best?
The Audience is the Biggest Benefit of Social media marketing
While each social media platform has its own unique benefits, it is important to remember that you must create strategic content that is tailored to each individual platform. For example, while Facebook is great for written content, Instagram is better suited for visuals. By taking advantage of the unique features of each platform, you can maximize your social media marketing efforts and reach your small business goals.
But when it comes down to it, you want to be where your target audience is.
You want to publish the bulk of your social media posts on the platforms where your customers hang out the most. You want your audience to interact and engage with your content.
If you publish primarily on other social media platforms where they don’t spend as much time, they won’t engage with what you post.
If you don’t know which social media platform your audience spends most of their social media time on, you can do two things: Spy and Ask.
Spy on your Competition and Your Customers on Social Media
First, do a little smart recon and spy on your customers and your competition. Go to the different social media platforms and look up your competition’s social media efforts.
- Are they on there?
- Are they active?
- Are they getting engagement?
Note how well they are doing on each popular social media platform.
Next, check out a few of your customers, and see who they follow, what pages they support, and what social media site they comment most on. You’d be surprised at how much you can find out by doing a little digging.
Last, you can straight up ask.
Ask Your Customers
Send out an email to your subscriber list and ask them what social media channels they use the most. Create a simple poll on several different social media platforms, or on google forms, and ask your followers which they like best.
You can also ask a few customers in person when you see them or even reach out on social media, like on Facebook messenger, and survey them right there.
Asking is one of the easiest and most effective ways to find out anything about your target audience.
What Social Media Marketing Strategy has already done well
Another great way to determine what platform your audience likes is to look at the digital content you’ve already posted and see what got the biggest response.
Did you get more comments, likes, or shares on one particular social media platform?
What about your sales? Can you trace your sales back to a particular social media channel? You may be surprised about where your actual customers have come from, so be sure to do a little digging and find out.
That may be the place you want to focus most on.
What do you want to, and what can you create?
Another thing to consider when choosing your main social platform is your bandwidth to create relevant content. Posting on some social channels, like Facebook, are quite a bit easier than, say, making TikTok or YouTube videos.
You can look at your current skills, the time to have to create or learn what you need to for a platform, where your strengths and preferences lie, and where you actually want to commit to.
It might be captain obvious, but if you refuse to be on video and know nothing about editing or video marketing, don’t choose YouTube.
Where do people find your products and services?
Another thing to consider is how people find your products and services. If they start with a google search, then consider that both YouTube and Pinterest are actual search engines – indexed on Google, and that means content there lives forever and can be found through a Google search, rather than being buried in last year’s feed.
Less really is more.
As you consider which will be the best social media platforms, it’s essential that you think less rather than more. When doing social media for small businesses, you don’t want to stretch yourself across too many places because that is what leads to burnout and thinking it’s all a waste of time.
When you’re spread too thin, it is a waste of time.
It would be better for you to focus on and master one or two different platforms than to try to consistently post on ten of them at once.
The reality is unless you have a team, you don’t have enough time or energy to post across multiple platforms. You’ll get better results if you give 100% of your energy to a couple of platforms instead of splitting your energy across several different social media channels.
Still not sure?
If you’re still debating if Instagram or Facebook is better for business, and you’re still unsure of which is the best social media platform to focus on, even after surveying and spying on your audience, you can always fall back on good ol’ Facebook. With over 2 billion users, you can bet that your target audience spends at least a little time on the site.
Really, what matters most is not the particular social media platform you choose but which one you choose and stick with it.
When it comes to social media strategy, consistency is almost always the most effective way to win an audience.
And the only wrong platform for growing your small business is the one you quit posting to.
So pick your main platform and commit yourself to post regularly on it.
You’ll find that posting to social media is SMART for reaching your small business marketing goals faster. Social media is one of the best opportunities for small businesses these days to get in front of more people than ever before, and I would hate for you to throw that away and think it’s all a waste of time.
And remember, you don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.
What you need is to be SMART.
Want to learn more about social media marketing strategy? Keep reading here.
About Digital Marketing Expert Torie Mathis
Torie Mathis helps entrepreneurs, like you, use digital marketing to grow your business without wasting time, money, or your sanity. She is a best-selling author, Army veteran, speaker + trainer, and your digital marketing coach. You don't need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. In fact, you don't even need a lot of time. What you need is to be SMART.
Torie hosts SMART AF, a show for non-techy entrepreneurs looking to grow their business, with her husband Sean and is the creator of SMART AF Magazine. Learn from Torie at the Smart Arsenal and on her channel.
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