Which social media platform is the best for marketing my small business? It’s a question I get asked all the time as a content strategist.
Consider this your permission slip: You don’t need to post on every social media platform to run a successful online business.
As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate. Different social media platforms serve different needs and interests so spreading yourself thin trying to post everywhere isn’t an effective use of your social media marketing efforts — especially if you’re a solopreneur or have a small but mighty team. There are hundreds of social media platforms after all!
So back to your question, what social media platform should I post to? Here is a simple guide to determine which social media platforms are right for your business.
How to Pick a Social Media Marketing Platform for your Business
There are three things to consider when choosing the platform(s) that are best for your business. Once you’re able to gather some information and learn how each platform works, you’re better able to decide which platform will benefit your business the most.
Here are the three key considerations to take into account:
Know your Target Audience
Different platforms appeal to different demographics with a variety of interests. Knowing your target audience will help you identify which platform will get your message in front of the right people.
Get Clear on your Social Media Marketing Goals
Audiences have different expectations for different platforms. Align your business goals with the intent of the platform.
Know how to Measure Success on the Platform(s) of Your Choice
Get clear on how much time you have to spend, or how/if you can delegate. Some platforms require more of a time commitment than others. The users on each act differently and expect different types of interactions. Though your messaging should always be consistent no matter which platform you’re on, how you present that message will vary.
A Guide to Social Media Platforms
Keep those three factors in mind as you read this breakdown of the most influential social media marketing platforms of 2021. Here we’ll dive into platform demographics and the pros and cons of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Linkedin, and TikTok.
Facebook is still the most widely used social media channel and has a total of 2.85 billion active users. Being present on this platform is still well worth it. In terms of gender, 56% of people who use the platform are male and 44% female with the most active age groups being between 25-44 years of age.
How often do you need to post on Facebook and what types of content to post?
Like with all social media, consistency is king! Ideally, you will want to post once a day or at least 5 times a week.
As for your content, it should be varied. Posting curated content (content you share from others), user-generated content (content people have tagged you in about your product/service), and your own content (promotional, value-driven, videos, content you create for your page).
- The most used of all social platforms.
- A large number of active users.
- Easily share curated content, which makes creating content for your page easier.
- Can take advantage of Facebook Groups, which are extremely popular.
- Easy to schedule posts in advance on the platform.
- The algorithm prioritizes family and friends, which may make your business content harder to find.
- Many groups might get you lost in the crowd.
- Organic engagement is harder to obtain.
If you sell products or services, having a Facebook page is still beneficial. I have found that most people will check to see if you have a Facebook page before any other social media channel.
Instagram is the second most used social media channel and has 1 billion active users. Instagram is great for connecting with your audience. As a creator, Instagram encourages us to use all the features that are available: feed posts, stories, IGTV, lives, guides, reels, and carousel posts. In terms of gender, 57% are female and 43% male, and the most active age groups are between 18-35 years of age.
How often do you need to post on Instagram and what types of content to post?
Instagrammers are encouraged to post 1 to 3 times a day. However, I believe you have to choose the frequency that works best for you and your business. If you’re able to post 4 times a week then that’s perfectly fine.
Making sure you are consistent with your posting schedule is key. A general rule of thumb for Instagram (and almost all social media marketing platforms) is the 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of your content should be value-driven meaning, it should help your target audience and build your authority. The other 20% is promotional content that highlights your products or services
- Easier to connect with your followers.
- You can choose from many different formats of content (posts, reels, live videos, stories).
- Users are more interactive on the platform.
- You’re able to create a shop and connect posts to your website.
- Take advantage of Influencer marketing.
- You need to be very consistent with posting different content formats.
- You’ll need to spend time curating hashtags in addition to your post creation.
- Engagement on Instagram comes from being an engaged user. This means you’ll have to spend a minimum of 20 minutes a day leaving comments and interacting with other accounts, which can add up time-wise. Swipe 50 of my Free Instagram Engagement Prompts.
Since Instagram is connected to Facebook, it has some added benefits. You’re able to schedule and post from Facebook’s scheduler Creator Studio free of charge. Also, you can create ads with Facebook’s Business Suite Ads Manager. Instagram is great for small businesses, entrepreneurs, brands, and influencers.
Being yourself and showing your personality will help you connect to your followers and target audience. Instagram is a great place to grow.
Pinterest used to be thought of as the place moms go for recipe ideas, and even though that is still the case; Pinterest continues to grow its user base daily. Pinterest users are 71% female and 29% male.
Millennials love Pinterest. It’s mainly still used by women with the most active age groups being between 18-49 years of age. The biggest takeaway for marketers is that 89% of users are on Pinterest for purchase inspiration!
Pinterest users are very intentional with their time on the platform. It’s less of a slow scroll and more of a visual Google, which is why keywords are fundamental for Pinterest success. You’ll want to include relevant keywords in the titles and descriptions of your Pinterest Boards, as well as your actual Pins and Pin descriptions. Learn How I Grew my Pinterest from 2K Monthly Viewers to 100K in 6 Weeks with keywords.
How often do you need to post on Pinterest and what types of content to post?
The recommended number of times to post on Pinterest is between 3 and 30 pins a day! Yes, that says 30.
Fresh pins are the best pins. Fresh Pins are defined by Pinterest as images or videos that they haven’t seen before. You can create several images that link to the same blog post, page, or product listing, and each of those would be fresh when saved to Pinterest for the first time.
There are a few schedulers out there that can help you post your pins so you don’t pull your hair out and get overwhelmed! Tailwind is my go-to for Pinterest marketing.
- Pins have the longest lifespan of all social media platforms with 4+ months.
- Unlike Facebook and Instagram, external links are encouraged.
- Can connect directly to your website to drive traffic.
- Easy to promote your blog or products.
- Huge opportunity to expand your reach.
- Users want purchase inspiration.
- Follower count doesn’t matter as much compared to other platforms.
- You need to post several times a day.
- Not as easy to connect personally with ideal clients.
- Using keywords is so important to Pinterest success. So a basic knowledge of SEO will go a long way.
Pinterest is great for getting you increased reach to your website, blog, or social media channels. It works really well if you sell products as you can link directly to them from the pin.
LinkedIn is considered the social media platform to connect with professionals. Its focus is business orientated and with 750 million users it has wonderful potential to reach other small businesses and entrepreneurs.
When most people think of LinkedIn, they think of only job postings but it’s slowly transitioning into more personal story sharing as well. LinkedIn users are 51% male and 49% female, a pretty even split.
How often do you need to post on LinkedIn and what types of content to post?
According to Social Media Today, the optimal posting frequency is 2-3 times a week. Remember that most people on this platform are working professionals, so posting in the morning before work or in the evening is your best bet. Not too much on the weekends.
In terms of the types of content, on LinkedIn, sharing is caring! Sharing others’ content as well as your own is great for growth. If you’re sharing content, don’t forget to add your two cents to the article or post. This will also help you stand out.
- Great for connecting with professionals.
- Men and women use the platform equally.
- You don’t have to post as often as some other social media platform.
- A great way to build thought leadership. (Position yourself as an authority in your industry)
- You can use hashtags to help your post get discovered.
- People might be more salesy.
- Shouldn’t post personal content (ie. Your dogs, family, etc…unless related to your business)
- Not as good for building personal relationships.
LinkedIn is a great place to meet serious professionals, especially if your target audience is B2B customers. You can connect, search and find the audience that’s right for you.
With 2 billion active monthly users, YouTube is the second largest search engine right after Google! Who hasn’t fallen into the rabbit hole of YouTube? It’s interesting to note and not so surprising to know that 72% of all female internet users and 72% of all male internet users use YouTube for searches. That means that almost everyone on the internet is using YouTube to look for answers to their problems.
How often do you need to post on YouTube and what types of content to post?
I’m going to sound like a broken wheel, but again, you have to do what’s right for you. In general, if you can post at least one video a week that would be ideal.
Watch time is important for your channel (minutes viewed of all videos). If you have old videos on your channel, don’t delete them! Archive them instead. These old videos will contribute to your watch time.
In terms of the type of videos, you should be posting a few videos about your business but mostly videos that solve your prospects’ problems. Remember that people use YouTube to search for answers to their questions. If you have a product, it would be valuable to add videos of the products in action or have a Frequently Asked Questions video answering common questions from your customers. If you’re service-based, then focus on the problems your service solves.
- Second largest search engine.
- People love to consume video.
- You can create longer videos, unlike other platforms.
- Can take advantage of Search Engine Optimization and keywords as you have a chance of appearing on Google as well.
- Have introduced YouTube Shorts, equivalent to Reels on Instagram and Tik Tok.
- Watch time counts towards ranking, making it harder for newer channels.
- To start to monetize or have links you need to have at least 1,000 subscribers.
- Content creation is the most time-consuming of social platforms.
If you can devote the time to creating quality videos, YouTube is a great place to get discovered and position yourself. It’s great for answering questions, showing more about your business, and increasing your chances of getting found on Google.
Tik Tok, the new kid on the block, is carrying 689 million active users on its platform. This platform is known for its entertaining and sometimes outrageous videos. Yet, there is still a spot for businesses to make their mark.
On Tik Tok, the users are 61% female and 39% male. It is not surprising to see that the most active age groups are between 10-29, with 30-39 very close behind. You can still do business on Tik Tok, more so if you’re targeting a younger crowd.
How often do you need to post on Tik Tok and what types of content to post?
If you plan to show up on Tik Tok, plan to post 1-3 times a day. Again, do what you can, but the recommended number of times is 1-3, as long as they’re high quality. Trends are very big on Tik Tok. Most trends that start on other platforms originated on Tik Tok. Using trending music and sounds will always do better than not. It’s not to say that is a hard-set rule, but if you can get ahead of the trend or on-trend, you’ll fare better.
- Can grow very quickly if you use the right strategy.
- You can utilize trends for growth.
- Good for tutorials as well.
- Typically, a younger audience.
- Have to post more frequently.
- There is a learning curve to create short videos for new users.
Tik Tok would be a good choice for you if your business or brand can make use of the entertainment vibe of Tik Tok. Making good use of Influencers if you can also help on this platform. Go in this direction for younger target audiences.
Additional Social Media Marketing Platform Considerations
If you want to consider other platforms, you might want to look into Twitter (5-20 tweets a day, talk about trending topics); Reddit (similar to Twitter however with a voting system); and Snapchat (slightly younger crowd to Tik Tok, most active age group 13-24, great for influencers).
Analyze your target audience, do some research and see where they hang out; but always choose the platform that is right for you. If you’re a solopreneur or have a small but mighty team, focusing on one platform at first will set you up for success when you go to tackle another. Then you can strategize ways to repurpose content from your current marketing efforts for the new platform(s).
Final Note: Make sure you like using the platform! Just because you feel like you *should* be posting on a platform, doesn’t mean you really have to. Not liking or fully understanding the platform you’re posting to will only lead to inconsistency and zap the pleasure of your social media marketing efforts.
Cyndi, Owner of Ascent StoryCraft
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