Which Social Media Platforms Should My Business Consider?
Published on March 18, 2022
Are you finding it hard to navigate the sea of social networks available to today’s businesses? Do you find yourself burdened with questions about what platforms you should be on?
“Are people still on Facebook?”
“Is LinkedIn better for my business?”
“Am I missing out by not being on TikTok?”
Let’s tackle these questions together as we provide you with some underlying knowledge of what platforms can suit you best in today’s market.
We’ll start by breaking our field up into two primary categories: established platforms and emerging platforms. What’s the difference? We’ll admit, in an ever-changing environment it’s a slightly arbitrary distinction. But in our judgment, an “established” platform is one that has been around for over a decade, with a proven track record of helping businesses across all sectors. Emerging platforms are the opposite: they may contain more niche communities that have only been around for a few years or less. Now that we have that sorted, it’s time to dive into the names you’ve already heard of.
Google My Business
First and foremost, if you don’t have a Google My Business profile, you’re doing yourself a disservice. While it still takes a good 3 to 4 days to appear after you set it up, this is an extremely crucial mechanism to ensure your local audience knows you’re on the map, literally. Prioritize this first and foremost if your organization is just getting off the ground. This is also a bit of an outlier. While every other “social network” aims at building a community, this focuses more on being more of a tool for Google’s userbase to find and learn more about your business. Google My Business creates a location on Google Maps for your business, allows you to share information about your hours and offerings, and services as a repository for reviews. In our estimation, it also benefits your search engine optimization (SEO) by creating a home on the world’s biggest search engine.
Next up is Facebook. This platform has the largest audience out of its competitors, with 2.7 Billion monthly active users. However, Facebook lacks key search and discovery mechanisms that make organic follower growth typical. Things such as Instagram’s Discovery pages and Hashtags have proven to be invaluable assets to any emerging business wanting to get its name out there. Facebook, absent the widespread use of hashtags, and a defunct explore feed to boot, may seem like the worst option of the major competitors. Nevertheless, there are still a number of moderately effective methods that you can use on Facebook to increase your page growth without the use of paid ads. However, if a paid ad campaign is a part of your Social Media strategy, a Facebook business account is necessary to run ads on this platform. Even though it may be harder to “go viral,” on Facebook, having a business account gives you access to the most amount of eyeballs that an advertising budget can buy.
Instagram is especially useful for any business that has the ability to produce visually-striking content. Bakeries, antique shops, clothing stores, and any business that sells a product they can photograph should prioritize Instagram. Not only do they have a robust system for discovery through the use of account tags and hashtags, but they also have a sizable amount of monthly active users (1 Bil!). It’s no wonder why nearly 3/4ths of U.S. businesses claim to use the platform. It’s the clear successor of Meta’s original product, and the closest you can get to a one-size-fits-all platform. That very trait may also be doing it a disservice as well, with many users growing tired of an increasingly cluttered UI. Nevertheless, Instagram is a safe bet for finding and growing an on-platform audience.
Do you have a lot of content to post, all the time? Do you love to track news cycles and jump in with relevant takes about market forecasts and other trends in your constantly-changing industry? Twitter is the obvious choice for brands that compete in evolving industries with fast-paced news cycles. However, the platform has roughly a third of the monthly active users of Instagram. On top of that, its network reach is dwarfed by Facebook. But proponents of Twitter like that it’s not Facebook. Even though it’s an established brand, it occupies its own niche in terms of the communities and audience that it attracts. If your audience needs to be updated daily, or several times a day, with market stats and headlines, this may be the platform you want to prioritize. Think of your business’s Twitter feed as a makeshift Bloomberg Terminal- purpose-built for a specific kind of follower.
People often forget Microsoft owns LinkedIn. But when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Microsoft has built its brand by offering businesses and entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed: Windows, Word, Excel, Teams, etc. It’s best to think of LinkedIn as a similar tool, but for networking. Use LinkedIn if you want to grow your audiences with professional connections based and target certain specific demographics of employers and employees. The narrower your target demographic, the more eggs you should put in your organization’s LinkedIn presence.
If you’re a company that field lots of questions from current and prospective clients, a FAQ session on Clubhouse could be a great way to reach out to your audience in a unique setting. This platform also offers an aura of exclusivity; at one time it required a direct invite from someone who was on the platform to even access it. Clubhouse is an option you should consider if your business prides itself on direct customer interactions. However, before you go all-in with it, many (justifiably) suspect the platform’s once-booming popularity to be a passing fad. After the company rejected several offers for buy-outs, competitors launched their own clubhouse-like features such as Twitter Spaces, Facebook Messenger Rooms, and Reddit Talk. We recommend consideration of these alternatives before considering Clubhouse itself.
Like it or not, Spotify is increasingly becoming a social network in its own right, with the ability to add friends from Facebook, follow users, and collaborate and share playlists on-platform. Nothing makes this more apparent than the ever-present “what your friends are listening to” side panel on the desktop version of the app.
But if your business has nothing to do with music, no worries! Real Estate agents, Tutors, Bloggers, and all sorts of entrepreneurs host podcasts on Spotify as a way to grow their brand. While it might seem like “everyone has a podcast nowadays,” YOU haven’t been in one yet. Sharing your podcast with your personal network on pre-existing platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and SMS text increases the likelihood that they’ll tune in and subscribe! After all, if your favorite small business started a podcast, your interest would be piqued, wouldn’t it?
If you’re a business that has lots of video content to share, don’t feel boxed in by the traditional aspect ratios of landscape 4:3. Engaging content can do well on Tik Tok, even with black bars on the top or bottom of a phone. After hearing the word “Tik Tok”, many small business owners will understandably have some skepticism. (“But I can’t dance!”)
Don’t worry, it’s not just for dancing, and it’s not just a Gen Z thing either. In our opinion, Tik Tok is a great place to experiment with repackaging your pre-existing video content to fit the new format. We can’t recommend going all-in on the platform as your primary point of social outreach, but it can serve as a great accessory to the other channels that you may already operate. In other words, if you have video content performing well on Facebook, it wouldn’t hurt to see how it performs with the appropriate tags on Tik Tok.
P.S. This same piece of advice works for Instagram Reels and Youtube Shorts as well!
Another thing to keep in mind is Tik Tok’s audience currently skews young. 60% of their users are between the ages of 16-24. However, nearly a quarter of their audience is between the ages of 25-44! These demographics are important to keep in mind when considering an account for your business. Retirement services and accounting firms may not have much luck, but a local brewery, nail salon, or real estate team could have tremendous success in reaching their target customers.
You may be wondering about a few platforms we didn’t cover. The truth is, your business doesn't need to be everywhere in order to succeed in growing an online presence. You only need to be in the right places. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Pick the 2-3 platforms you feel matter most to your target audience. Start making content on those platforms first, and once you have a sizable content library, then consider branching out to newer and more unproven platforms. As long as you can produce engaging content that resonates with your audience, you’re on the right track.