How to Choose the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Business

05 October 2022
by Atlas SEO
4 mins
How to Choose the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Business

The benefits of social media marketing are well documented. Managing accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter et al can increase your brand awareness, drive inbound traffic to your webpages, improve SEO and support customer service efforts. But do you need to be active on every single platform out there, and is there one that’s best for your business?

This is a question that brands run into when new and interesting platforms pop up that are hyped and attract global audiences. By the last count, there are now a huge variety of social media platforms, all with 300 million or more active users. Coming up with a strategy for all of those would be a colossal task for even the biggest companies with seven-figure budgets. Fortunately, it’s not really necessary

Most experts agree that quality trumps quantity in this regard. Picking two or three social media platforms that dovetail with your objectives and enable you to engage with the right audience is the best approach. Managing ten or more, for example, can become unwieldy, making it difficult to deliver the experiences your customers expect and undermining your own efforts.

With so many choices, though, how do you decide which is best? By conducting research, answering a few simple questions and considering the unique features and formats available on each platform, you can come up with a mix of channels that work for your business. These questions include:

  • What are your objectives?
  • What platforms are your customers using?
  • What platforms are your competitors using?
  • What content do you want to create and post?
  • What is your budget?

First, the influence of social media is vast, so do a quick overview of the platforms you have available to you. New research by Hootsuite found Facebook is still the market leader, despite efforts by competitors to dethrone it. A staggering 2.9 billion people use Facebook every month, so while it may not be as fresh and appealing to younger users as it once was, it remains difficult for brands to overlook it entirely when the global addressable audience is so large.

YouTube is second on the list, with more than 2.5 billion users, which places it ahead of Instagram with 1.4 billion and TikTok with 1 billion. You might be surprised that Twitter “only” has 436 million, but it can be an excellent platform for your marketing efforts. Pinterest and Snapchat also have more than 440 million monthly global active users (MAUs). Finally, there is also LinkedIn to consider, which is a very useful platform for building brand awareness and lead generation - not just for those in the B2B either. 

Why do you want to use social media?

Brands use social media for a variety of reasons and to achieve several different goals, which often overlap and interlink. It is unlikely you will want to hit just one specific objective, so consider how a platform can support what you want to do. Common reasons for usage include brand awareness, distributing content, community engagement, sales and lead generation, and customer support. By posting a high-quality video or linking to a long-form blog, you can work towards several of those in one go.

  • Drive sales - TikTok, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. 
  • Brand awareness - Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok.
  • Thought leadership and new leads - LinkedIn, TikTok and Instagram. 
  • Sell products - Instagram and TikTok. 
  • Customer support and online reputation management - X (FKA Twitter) and Facebook. 

Where are your customers?

First and foremost, you need to be where your target audience is. Taking a look at the demographics for each platform will help you to identify which are most relevant to the people searching for your business online. These are usually broken down via generational divides. For example, Facebook is most popular with older “baby boomers” by some distance (92% use it), while only 57% of this generation say they would buy something directly on social media.

In contrast, younger “Gen Z” consumers prefer Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, want shoppable experiences but are least likely to follow a brand on social media. “Millennials” and “Gen X” are sort of in-between these two polar opposites and use a mix of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and WhatsApp.

You can segment your audience based on these demographics and then follow up by analysing your own first-party data to outline your typical buyer’s characteristics. This is important in B2B marketing, as LinkedIn is likely to be a vital tool, even if it’s not quite as popular overall. You can then match the data with your buyer personas to pinpoint specific social media platforms.

Where are your competitors?

Taking a look at what your competitors are doing will also give you a good idea about what platforms you should be using. There is a range of competitor analysis tools from the likes of Ahrefs and Semrush that will show how active your competitors are on social media, where they are posting and the amount of engagement they get in terms of follows, likes and shares. You can also use audience listening tools to find out which brands are dominating conversations and trending topics on social media.

While you don’t want to copy a competitor’s social media strategy verbatim, knowing what’s working for companies in your industry can help you to decide on platforms and to begin brainstorming content marketing ideas that are likely to resonate with audiences.

What content formats do you want to create?

This leads to the task of creating content. What do you want to post? Certain social media sites are better for specific formats. If you want to publish short-form videos, then TikTok, Instagram or Snapchat are probably your best bets, while Twitter and Facebook may be better suited if you want to cross-post news articles or blogs to increase their reach. LinkedIn is also great for more business-focused posts where you share industry updates and company news.

Don’t forget about your audience’s demands, though. Research by Sprout Social found there is often a disconnect between where brands want to be and what consumers desire. Just 5% of brands said YouTube is a priority for building a community, even though 24% of consumers want more of a brand presence on the video-sharing site. The same sentiment was expressed about Instagram.

Finally, there are budgetary limitations to consider. If you have a smaller pot of funds to support social media marketing, you might just want to focus on one platform initially, with the view to branching out to other platforms at a later date. You could also work with an SEO agency if you need assistance with crafting content and managing your social media accounts.

Selecting the right marketing channels for your business can be challenging, but try to feel empowered rather than overwhelmed by the task. Social media has enabled small businesses to go toe-to-toe with larger corporations that once dominated traditional marketing spaces such as TV and radio. If you want to start cross-posting content today, Atlas SEO can help you create a successful strategy. Contact us today to talk through your options.

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