There are a lot of different factors that can influence the answer to this question. In the end though, it really depends on what your business is and who your ideal customer is. There is no ‘one size fits all’.
Picking the Right Social Media Platform
Ask yourself these two questions:
Who is your target audience?
What is your service?
If your business is starting out, it is up to you to create your target audience. Ask yourself these questions:
Who benefits from what you offer?
What pain points do you address?
What do you offer to customers?
What makes your offer unique?
If you have difficulty answering these questions, then you can also instead look towards your competitors. What type of customers do they attract? It is important that you create a profile of your target audience and keep it updated every 6 months or so.
However, if you already have some social media running then finding your target audience is far easier! Nearly every social platform offers analytics tools that can be used to see who follows you. Age, gender, and location demographics will give you valuable insight into who you should be targeting with your advertising.
Why are these target audiences important?
The age of mass, un-targeted advertising is passed. Think about it – you have a business that sells mobile phones to students and you make an advertisement on a local television station. Think about who is seeing this advertisement, not only is your target audience seeing it, but so are thousands, and possibly millions, of unrelated people. People who are never going to be interested in your service, and customers who will never be sales conversions.
Social media does away with this inefficient advertising. Instead, you pay per click, impression, or engagement and you can individually target the audience that is likely to purchase your product. Gone are the days of wasted ad budget – providing of course, that your advertising is well researched and targeted accordingly. In short, if you know your target audience you will both save money (and possibly A LOT of it), but you will also be able to interact better with your followers.
The final reason that knowing these audiences is so important is that they will help dictate what social media platforms you spend your time and efforts on. If your targeted audience is gender specific, why would you waste your social media efforts on a platform that has a vast majority of users of the opposite gender?
Social Media Platform Statistics
This is where platform statistics become important. Who uses each platform and why? What are the majority of the users interested in?
As the most popular social media on the planet Facebook has an audience in basically every niche you can possibly imagine. However, it is important to note that fewer teens are using Facebook these days than in the past, and if teens are your target market, then Instagram may be better.
Facebook has a relatively balanced ratio between males and females and also has users from every age bracket and nearly every country. In short, EVERY business or service should have a presence on Facebook. However, it may not necessarily be your primary focus.
Facebook is great for sharing all kinds of media. Everything from videos to text-based posts can be shared here. Facebook is great due to the large variety and utility that it provides.
81% of Pinterest users are female and men account for less than 10% of all the pins on Pinterest. Pinterest isn’t for many people, but many people also swear by it. If you need traffic (visitors) to a website then Pinterest is probably the single best place you can focus. However, for bars or restaurants, Pinterest is largely irrelevant.
Pinterest is an image sharing service that revolves around pins. A pin is Pinterest’s name for a post. These images are usually long, and involve text in the image (as the image is usually all that people look at – most people won’t read the descriptions on Pinterest). Pinterest requires a lot of a
to be successful, with many people pinning 10+ times per day.
If you are looking to up your web traffic then Pinterest is perfect. If you have a service that targets females or people from the US, then Pinterest is also fantastic. However, keep in mind that to be successful on Pinterest you must be active and make unique content for the platform.
Twitter is similar to Facebook in the way that many people use it, and as such nearly any audience can be found here. However, Twitter is still unique in many ways! Not only is it ideal for communication with your customers, but it is also a platform that has public conversations and opinions.
Twitter conversations happen quickly, and as such, Twitter is the ideal platform for listening to your customers and interacting with them. Even further, however, you can listen to what people are saying as the communications that happen there are public. You can see what people are saying about your service or business, and from this, you can learn what you are doing well and what might need to be improved.
If you are a business where communication or customer service is important then Twitter is a MUST. Even if you aren’t a communication-based business, Twitter is a social media that you should be using.
Reddit works in an interesting way compared to other types of social media. On Reddit, people follow subreddits. Subreddits are basically sub-forums, with each one specialising on a specific niche.
For example, r/aww is a subreddit that is just for cute pictures and videos. r/wellthatsucks is a sub (subreddit) that is just for videos and videos of sucky things happening to people. It can be hard to find the right subs to focus on in Reddit as there are so many, and often they won’t have obvious names. Reddit currently has 330,000,000 users with just under one million subreddits – trust me, you can find MANY relevant subs there if you spend the time looking!
The thing about Reddit is that many people there spend a lot of time on the site. The average Reddit visit lasts for just under 16 minutes. That’s insane! Reddit is very particular about advertising, however, and we will discuss that later.
While Reddit isn’t as targeted as Facebook or Twitter, it is great for finding possible customers and market segments that you didn’t know about. On Facebook, you will only reach the customers you imagine (or have researched) to be your targets. However, since Reddit advertising is done per sub, you may find target markets you had no idea about! Say for example you are advertising a new pet product in r/aww. Not only will your target market (which may be 30-40-year-old middle aged parents who live in the US) see these advertisements, but so will everyone else using r/aww.
You might find that 17-year-olds with pet dogs are actually very interested in buying your new product!
How could we forget Instagram? Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. Over one billion people currently use it, and 60% of them are under 30. This means that Instagram is one of the best places to advertise towards youth.
However, Instagram users normally have very short attention spans (the complete opposite of Reddit), and advertising here will prove far more effective if catchy videos and images are used. However, Instagram uses Facebooks Ads Manager, and this means that you get all of the fantastic targeting options of Facebook!
While targeting on Instagram is very similar to Facebook, make sure to treat it differently. You want to be using short descriptions that get straight to the point and use emojis to catch attention. You also want to be using images and videos that make the user stop scrolling.
There are many more social media platforms that can be used for advertising, however, these platforms usually provide the best results due to the vast amounts of users. Linkedin is worth mentioning, however, it is usually only worth using if you are a B2B company or are interested in hiring new employees. Usually, if you are doing standard B2C company these platforms are your best bets.