One of the most common questions that pops up during training or mentoring assignments is which social media is best for a beginner business.
Unfortunately, it’s not the right question.
Too often, small business owners choose to go with the social media site they are most comfortable with, or the one they enjoy.
Neither is a great basis upon which to make a business decision …
Like so much more to do with your fledgling business, it’s really all about the research. You need to put in the donkey work to find out all you can about your one or more target markets, your competitors, their offering and the habits of your potential customers.
Know your target market!
It’s about them, not you!
Here are some generalist comments on the leading consumer-focussed social media platforms out there. Each of these should be verified for your particular market.
Facebook : Still by far the largest platform, in terms of number of active users, Facebook is now ever more for an older audience, many of whom are over 45 or 50 years of age. Know that organic reach has collapsed and this is now essentially a “pay to play” platform.
Instagram : Its audience is aging too (obviously!), but remains mostly under 40 to 45. In Ireland, it tends to more female-oriented. Remember that, unless you are a ‘verified vendor’ of physical products, you cannot post live links in Instagram posts, meaning very few clicks back to your website. Update Nov 2021 : Now you can include live links within your Stories, though still not in a regular post.
Twitter : Look at Twitter not as a direct marketing platform, but more of an indirect channel. Rather than ‘speaking’ to individuals, concentrate on intra-sector comms, journalists, influencers, etc. Chase other relevant accounts’ databases and your target audience will then find you.
Pinterest : If your offering represents a (sometimes long-term) project for your market, then this can be the platform for you. Examples might include long-haul “bucket list” travel, kitchen refurbs, architecture, etc. The beauty here is that people connect with you sometimes months or years after they’ve pinned your post.
TikTok : Very much for a younger audience, mostly under 25s.
Snapchat : This platform is ever more being squeezed by TikTok from below and Instagram from above. This is a nice article about its potential demise.
So, which social media is best for a beginner business?
The answer is simple : whichever one is where your target audiences hangs out online.
What does this mean? You may need to be present on more than one, depending on whether or not you have different target audiences. However, you shouldn’t be on them all, because that might suggest you’re not as focussed as you need to be.
Updated Nov 2021