There's a common social media myth that small businesses need to be present on all social media platforms, well the main ones at least. But I'm disagree. I think it's far better (and more effective) for a small business, with limited time and energy, to focus on being good at one platform than spreading yourself too thin and being average at a handful!
Why don't you try it, just focusing on one or two platforms for 6 months and see how much more effective you can be? It's something we talk about in depth inside the Social Media Whizz e-course!
You don't have to disappear totally from your other platforms if you already have accounts set up, you can link them together so that every time you post on Instagram for example it also posts on Facebook and Twitter, just to keep a presence. But in terms of focus, experimenting, tweaking and content you apply yourself in one place.
How to determine which social media platform is best for you?
Ok sounds good, but how do you know which social media platform is best for your business specifically? There are two areas to consider: 1) the preferences of your target audience and ideal customers and 2) your preferences as a business.
To understand the preferences of your target audience you firstly need to define exactly WHO they are? What is their gender, age, location, income level, job, life stage, etc? Then push yourself to go even deeper... what do they worry about? What problems can you help them with? What brands do they like? What do they dream about? And crucially, what social media platforms do they use regularly that influences their buying decisions?
They maybe on Facebook everyday but if it's Pinterest or Instagram which inspires them to spend their hard earned pennies then that's maybe a more worthwhile time investment for your business?
And secondly, we need to balance that with your preferences as a business on social media. Which platform have you had most success with in the past? Which one do you actually enjoy using the most and are therefore are more likely to make time for?
To help you narrow it down here's some of the pros and cons to consider with each major social media platform...
The pro's and con's of the main social media platforms
Given half the UK population has a Facebook account it doesn't need much of an introduction! From a business point of view though it's real advantage is that it enables you to have targeted conversations with your customers or potential customers, which you do have to pay for but it's relatively inexpensive.
- Your business page is separate from your personal account, although you administrate it from there so you friends and family won't be spammed with your business posts and vice versa
- The Facebook advertising options which allow you to really target your ideal customers according to their interests, pages they already like and demographics
- Page Insights which give you useful analytics into your Facebook pages' performance
- You can schedule your Facebook updates directly from your page so you could schedule a week's worth of posts in advance!
- For most small businesses it is where your target audience are likely to be spending a lot of time!
- A Facebook post really facilitates a 'conversation' with your fans as the comments are all kept together on one post. It's great for asking questions or gaining feedback from your customers.
- Facebook groups are a great way of building relationships with your potential customers, peers or industry influencers
- The 'Pages to watch' function gives you the ability to keep a close eye on what's working well for your competitors!
Things to consider...
- Organic reach and therefore engagement with your posts isn't what it used to be, but you can get results from a limited budget
- The ideal posting strategy would suggest 1-2 updates a day
If you need help setting up a Facebook page for your business I wrote a step-by-step guide of how to do this HERE.
Twitter is a 'real-time' social media platform that shows you updates (tweets of 140 characters in length) in a 'timeline' from the people and brands you follow. You have a dedicated profile (I'm @ChloeAdlington) that others can follow too.
It's essentially like "micro-blogging" or text messaging to the public! This makes it particularly good for industry networking, research and showing off your brand personality.
- You can see what people are actually talking about and what's happening in the world right NOW
- Hashtags allow you to link in with conversations on particular topics and therefore increase your reach
- Twitter chats are great for finding people in your industry to connect with, gain support, reach potential new customers and building relationships
- The search function makes twitter great for research and you'll no doubt discover more people, events, resources, articles and customers through entering relevant keywords to your business!
- Retweets mean you updates can have a significantly wider reach than just your followers
- Twitter lists are really useful for maintaining relationships, keeping your eye on certain groups within your industry and organising the content you see
Things to consider...
- As the timeline of tweets moves so quickly your updates don't hang around for long (around 15 mins), consequently you need to tweet 5-10 times a day
- In general conversations are public, so you're updates are broad rather than targeted
- You need to be clear and concise as you only have 140 characters!
For further tips on how to use Twitter and grow your followers click HERE.
Pinterest is a visual platform which allows you to "pin" images onto categorised "boards". The image then links back to the source e.g. the website it came from so that you can re-visit it. It's brilliant for collecting inspiration and for searching for ideas and is particularly good for anyone in a creative industry.
- It has the potential to drive large amounts of traffic back to your website
- Pins hang around for much longer than anyone other social media content and are likely to continue to be pinned, liked and clicked long after you originally pinned it
- Pinterest has almost become the new 'Google' as people use it's search function to find inspiration, products, ideas and articles
- Pinterest is used as a source of inspiration and encourages users to pin aspirational images, products, etc... people go there to build their 'ideal lives' so it can position your products or services in their dream lifestyle, therefore making them more likely to purchase
- If you set up a Pinterest business account you will see useful analytics data to help you monitor your pinning strategy
- Rich pins enable your followers to see additional, useful information when you pin
If you're interested in using Pinterest for your business, click HERE for more tips and advice.
Instagram is another visual platform which allows you to share photos and short videos with your followers. It gives you a 'behind-the-scenes,' more personal connection with the people and brands you follow and is a great source of inspiration.
- Engagement on Instagram is very high so you're likely to get more likes and comments and therefore build deeper relationships with your followers as they're happy to converse with you!
- It gives you a platform to showcase your products in an actual real life setting and therefore people can visualise your products in their homes and lives
- Hashtags can significantly increase the reach of your posts and connect you into passionate communities of people
- You can tag other accounts in your posts to highlight when you've mentioned them, again enabling a good relationship building opportunity
- Instagram humanises your brand as you're sharing behind the scenes photos
- Posting once every 24 hours is sufficient to maintain a good account
Things to consider
- There is only one active link, which is in your bio or description, you can't add clickable links to your posts
- The key to Instagram is good quality content so an eye for a good photography helps significantly!
To read my beginner's guide to Instagram click HERE - including how to set up your profile for success, what to post and how to increase your followers.
Of course there are lots of other platforms like LinkedIn (good for professionals or business-to-business networking), Google +, Youtube, Periscope and Snapchat which you may also want to look into but I hope this round up of the 'big 4' has been helpful.
For anyone in need of a 30 second summary you might like to save this to your Pinterest board:
And if you're interested in how to better use social media for your business you might want to check out my e-course called Social Media Whizz which is launching very soon!