Creating social media accounts for a new business is often one of the first steps new entrepreneurs take.
And why not? Staking out your tiny claim on the internet is a quick and easy win that says “it’s official. I’m open for business.”
If you’ve been in business for a while, you may have a love/hate relationship with social media.
You love the possibility it holds: Free marketing! And to SO many people!
But you hate the confusion and overwhelm associated with gaining followers, and the frustration of realizing you’re not getting their attention with your clever posts and funny GIFs.
If you’re looking to step up your social media game, this article will help you avoid wasting time on the wrong platforms.
Note: We’ll use the words “channel” and “platform” interchangeably throughout this article to refer to the different types of social media accounts you can have — Facebook, Instagram Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, etc.
How Many Social Media Platforms Should You Use?
One of the biggest mistakes we see small/medium sized businesses making when it comes to social media is trying to do too much.
The truth is, you should NOT be on every social media platform!
Not only will you find it extremely difficult to keep up with regularly posting on 5+ channels, but if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that your target customers aren’t hanging out on all of them either — making some channels a better use of your time than others.
We recommend committing to being active on the 2 or 3 platforms that make the most sense for your business.
Read on to identify which ones they might be!
Choosing the Right Channels
Another common mistake is choosing the channels for the wrong reasons. Just because someone once told you that everyone and their dog was on Twitter doesn’t mean it’s the best place for you to be.
When choosing a social media channel you need to know who your target customers are, and understand where they like to hang out online.
Are your ideal customers primarily millennials working as office managers in downtown high-rises? Or middle-aged moms running their own daycares and salons? Perhaps they are experienced facility managers of university campuses, sports stadiums and airports.
As you can imagine, each of these personas (fancy name for “types of people you could market to”,) spends time on different social media channels.
They also spend time on social media at different points throughout the day. The millennial office manager may scroll through Instagram and check her Snapchats periodically at work, but especially on her lunch break and around the 4 pm slump.
The mompreneur likely doesn’t have a moment to spare until her kids are in bed for the night and she can check her Facebook notifications.
Facility Manager Frank on the other hand may use a combination of Facebook and LinkedIn, but not necessarily on a daily basis.
If you know the types of people who tend to hire you, you can better target your marketing — saving you from spending time and money on the wrong channels and tactics.
Here are some helpful infographics that outline who is using each platform, and when.
The Long and the Short of it…
At the end of the day, the key to being on the right social media channels is knowing your ideal client.
If you’re thinking, “but I serve everyone and anyone who will pay me!”, you’ll find that marketing your business in general (and even winning new contracts) becomes easier when you have a specific niche.
To learn more about how to choose a niche, and then use that to book more client meetings, check out our free 21 Day Sales Challenge.
Once you know what type of person your ideal client is, you can do a bit of Googling to determine which platform is the most popular among that demographic. You’ll find loads of helpful blog posts and infographics like the one above to narrow it down.
One last thing…
Finally, keep in mind is the type of content you plan to post. While you should let the right channels guide the type of content you share (not the other way around,) it’s important to make sure the content and the channels work well together.
For instance, if you’re really excited about the idea of video marketing, Facebook and YouTube will give you more flexibility than Twitter or Instagram, which aren’t optimized for videos of any length / don’t play videos automatically, etc.
Meanwhile, Instagram is a great place for “before and after” photos, and Twitter will serve you well if your brand personality is to keep things simple and light-hearted.