A common reason companies fail at social media is concentrating on the wrong platform. It’s an easy mistake to make—social media is continuously changing and keeping current with new platforms, trends, and best practices take a lot.

Most business owners have a to-do list longer than they care to tell. So, it is no surprise when one of the first things we get asked during a consultation is, “which social media platform should my business be on?”

Before we give our clients any recommendation we ask three key things:

Are you B2C, B2B, or both?
What’s your target audience?
What’s your overall goal?

If you know the answer to all three questions, we can pare it down to a stable two or three platforms to dedicate your business focus.

By now you know that social media marketing can impact your business. However, there are TOO MANY niche social media platforms (like ello.co and livejournal). To save you time we broke down the five best social media platforms for marketing.

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
LinkedIn
Pinterest

But first, we need to answer those three questions!

1. Are you B2C, B2B, or both?

For the most part, people don’t go on social media to make a purchase. There are a few exceptions—like looking for local goods on Facebook’s marketplace—but a generally they are engaging with friends and family and maybe at the very top of the sales funnel for your business. You’ll need to consider what type of social media message and targeting should be. Unless your product is an impulse buy, the likelihood of a phone call or purchase instead of scrolling to the next post is unlikely.

The best social media strategies aim to create interest in your product. Do this by routinely blogging, creating lead magnets like case studies and e-books, and promoting your company.

2. Who is your target audience?

Every so often, I’m served an ad that is poorly targeted. I’ve gotten ads for everything from Horse accessories to Medical Prescriptions for overweight pregnant women.

I’m a guy, I’m not overweight, and I’m as likely to get pregnant as a new parent is to go vacation in Paris.

Every time I’m served these types of ads, I can only think of two things:

This business just wasted their money on me.
This business should fire the person in charge of adspend.
When you target the wrong audience, it is wasting money. Period.

If you don’t have your audience defined, write down the answers to the following ten questions:

Where are your customers located?
What is the average age and gender of your customer?
What’s the average income?
Do they own a home?
What do they do for fun?
What industry do they work in?
What does their family look like?
What problems do they face, and what do they want to be solved?
How do they get information (are they tech-savvy or traditional)?
Which of all of the above are my top-paying loyal customers?

Stumped? A simple tool you can use to profile your target audience is Facebook’s Audience Insights.

3. What’s your overall goal?

A lot of companies aren’t sure how to run their social media program. They’ll say, “shoot for the goal,” without knowing what the goal really is. Chances are, you will not get excellent results if you can’t set reasonable goals.

Keep in mind is that social media is a visual platform. People sign on to see things, not do things. This makes it difficult for businesses with a long sales cycle to make sales straight from social media.

 

The Top 5 Social Media Sites that Are Best for Businesses

Facebook
Best for B2C, some B2B

Top Industries: Fashion, Auto, E-commerce, Retail, Entertainment, Real Estate, Marketing, Sports, Health and Wellness, News and Information

Target Age and Gender: 25 – 55+, both men and women

At the end of 2017, there were over 2.07 billion monthly active Facebook users—1.37 billion of them log onto Facebook daily and are considered daily active users. The most common age demographic is age 25 to 34, nearly a third of all Facebook users.

Although Facebook’s reputation is losing steam. You still need a Facebook presence. Facebook is considered a local SEO signal, meaning search engines look at your business’ Facebook profile as an indicator when they show search results.

Facebook Statistics You Should Know:

Facebook users are 53% female and 47% male
An average Facebook user has 155 “friends.”
77% of college graduates are on Facebook.
77% of adults in the US making over $75,000 a year are on Facebook
88% of 18 – 29 year-olds are on Facebook.
84% of 30 – 49 year-olds are on Facebook.
72% of 50 – 64 year-olds are on Facebook.
56% of online Seniors aged 65+ are on Facebook

Twitter
Best for B2C, some B2B

Top 10 Industries: News and Information, Retail, E-commerce, Health and Wellness, Travel and Hospitality, Telecom, Finance, Fashion, Retail, Sports

Target Age and Gender: 18 – 29, both men and women

Twitter almost collapsed until the 2016 election (*cough Donald Trump *cough). Now it’s re-emerged as a hub for trends, news, and political rants, all in 280 characters or less. Another thing we like about Twitter? Customer service! Whenever anyone in our office has an issue with a product or service, we Tweet the business. If your business is intimately connected with clients who have a desire for new updates and customer service, we recommend making this a platform to focus your time on.

Twitter is a great discovery platform for consumers. Make sure to show off your expertise, products, and creativity.

Twitter Statistics You Should Know :

36% of 18 – 29 year-olds use Twitter.
23% of 30 – 49 year-olds use Twitter.
21% of 50 – 64 year-olds use Twitter.
42% of Twitter users use the site daily.
8% of US Companies use Twitter for marketing purposes.
74% of Twitter users follow small businesses to get product updates.

Instagram
Best for B2C

Top 10 Industries: Travel and Hospitality, Fashion, Health and Wellness, Arts and Crafts, Food and Beverage, E-commerce, Beauty, Photography, Auto, Event Planning

Target Age and Gender: 18 – 35, mostly women, but that’s shifting

Instagram is PERFECT if you’ve got a visual product. While it may be considered a minimalist platform, Instagram packs a punch, especially with Millennials. If your business can create high-impact images, by all means, you should make this platform a priority.

Be careful, though; Instagrammers expect quality images that tell a story. Posting stock photos is NOT going to work. If you don’t have a visual product or access to quality photographs, try a different platform.

Instagram Statistics You Should Know

59% of 18 – 29-year-olds use Instagram
33% of 30 – 49-year-olds use Instagram
18% of 50 – 64-year-olds use Instagram

Pinterest
Best for B2C

Top 10 Industries: Retail, Health, and Wellness, Travel and Hospitality, Fashion, E-commerce, Arts and Crafts, Food and Beverage, Beauty, Home, and Garden, Event Planning

Target Age and Gender: 18 – 45, mostly women

Pinterest is a hobbyist’s paradise. Ask any woman who is planning a party or remodeling if they’re on Pinterest, and I guarantee they’ll show you a pinboard dedicated to that event. A large number of people have a Pinterest account where they keep clippings of vacations they want to take, items they’d like to buy, and new exercise routines.

If you have a visual product or offer services that have to do with planning—like home remodeling, landscapes, event planning, etc.—then Pinterest is for you!

Pinterest Statistics You Should Know

36% of 18 – 29-year-olds use Pinterest.
34% of 30 – 49-year-olds use Pinterest.
28% of 50 – 64-year-olds use Pinterest.
25% of Pinterest users use the site daily, and 31% use the site weekly.
87% of pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest.

LinkedIn

Best for B2B, B2C employment

Top 10 Industries: Financial, Employment, Science and Technology, Legal, Manufacturing, Marketing, Education, Professional Services, Health and Wellness, IT

Target Age and Gender: 25 – 45, both men and women

We love LinkedIn, and as an agency, we are considered a B2B buyer. More and more professionals are discovering the power of networking on LinkedIn, and that number’s only going to keep growing. Now that Microsoft has acquired LinkedIn we see more features from Lynda training and more.

LinkedIn Statistics You Should Know

49% of college graduates use LinkedIn.
45% of adults making more than $75,000 per year are on LinkedIn.
34% of 18 – 29-year-olds use LinkedIn.
33% of 30 – 49-year-olds use Linkedin.
24% of 50 – 64-year-olds use LinkedIn.

Final Thoughts

Understanding which social media platform to focus on will not only save you time but help you get closer to your goals. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to spend a lot of time on it—social channels require you to be social! We  recommend spending at least 4 hours per week on monitoring, posting, and responding alone (Insider tip: use a scheduling platform like Buffer to save you some time). If you’re like the rest of the Business owners that don’t have time to be social strategist, engage in real-time, and schedule posts, we strongly recommend partnering with an agency like us to do it for you!