Facebook? Instagram? TikTok? Twitter? Snapchat? Oh jeez …

Does your business really need to be on all these social media channels? Heck, how do you know which ones to choose?

My fellow HipCats, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s blog post, we’re going to:

Let’s get started (yea boi!).

How to choose the eight social media channels for your business

How to choose the right social media channels for your business

It depends on your industry,  but there’s a good chance you don’t need to be on every social platform.

Good … cause ain’t nobody got time for that!

To pick the right social accounts for your business, consider this:

1. What platforms is your target audience using?

You need to find out where your target audience is living on social media.

Are your customers more Gen Z? Millennial? Women? Baby Boomers?

Once you’ve defined your target market, compare it to these social media demographics … Opens in a new window to Sprout Social’s website…  and find out if that’s where your audience is.

For example:

If you’re catering to millennial women, you should be on Instagram and Facebook. But maybe Twitter isn’t necessary.

2. What platforms are your competitors on?

Take a look at your competition and find out what social media accounts they are using.

Are they using Pinterest? Snapchat?

Then, determine:

  1. Is your competition active on these social accounts? Which ones?
  2. Are they getting engagement?

Seeing your competition paying more attention to one social channel (let’s say Facebook) over another (maybe Twitter), will give you a good insight into the best places to devote your time to social media marketing.

Now:

The next question (are they getting engagement?) is just as important to ask.

Having followers and engaging with them is a crucial way to build brand awareness.

No engagement = no brand exposure.

Seeing how your audience is engaging with your competitor’s content will tell you whether that audience is active. If not, what can you do to get that audience to engage with you?

3. What kind of content are you producing?

Another factor to consider is planning the type of content you’re producing.

Are you selling clothes? Photography services? Makeup? A product/service that sells visually?

Then social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are perfect because of their capability to visual storytelling.

Is your service more time-sensitive? Does it involve responding to customer service inquires?

Platforms like Twitter with quick, text-like responses are the best because you can serve your customers instantly.

The point is:

Think about what service you’re bringing to your customers and how you can market it. What kind of content can you produce to serve them?

Depending on your answer, that will help you determine where you should focus your social media efforts.

What social media platforms should your business use?

Let’s break down the following social media accounts and see what businesses they best serve.

First, we have the top-dog platforms almost all small businesses and entrepreneurs use:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Then, we have some sleeper social media platforms that aren’t getting the attention they deserve (and should!):

  • LinkedIn
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok
  • Reddit

Let’s dive in!

Facebook:

1.1 billion monthly users, 665 million daily users, 645 million local business page views per week on Facebook

Who’s on it?

Let’s drop some numbers – Facebook has:

In other words, everyone and their mothers are on Facebook.

How is it used?

Facebook is a great medium to share content, engage with your followers, and find new followers. This platform likes to focus on creating relationships, not selling.

That means:

Their algorithm makes it very hard to reach your followers organically. Facebook encourages businesses to create quality content (over quantity) to engage with their followers.

Typically:

The content you post needs to be supported with a paid strategy via Facebook ads. This is the best way to sell your services and reach out to new followers.

What businesses should be on Facebook?

It’s safe to say every business needs to be on this giant social beast.

Anyone from the fashion industry to consultants to software companies can benefit – you name it.

How can you use Facebook?

  • Display your products/services visually through photos and videos
  • Share trends and any relevant content that’s beneficial to your followers
  • Target your market using Facebook ads, which are affordable
  • Work cohesively with Instagram to share your content easily

Twitter:

Who uses Twitter?

Who’s on it?

About 44% of 18-24 year olds, 31% of 25-30 year olds, and 26% of 30-49 year olds use Twitter… Opens in a new window to Sprout Social’s website…. It’s an excellent platform for tech-savvy people.

How is it used?

We like to think of Twitter as the text message service of social media. In just 140 characters, you can receive updates on what’s happening around the world, the latest celebrity news, the newest trend, etc.

There’s no topic off limits.

It’s short, snappy, and it’s done almost instantly.

What businesses should be on Twitter?

Twitter is an excellent platform for businesses such as:

  • Publications
  • Software companies
  • Entertainment news
  • Media
  • Consultants
  • eCommerce
  • Professional services

If your small business requires sending time-sensitive information quickly, Twitter is the perfect solution.

How can you use Twitter?

  • Send out breaking news that’s relevant to your audience and industry
  • Share details of any events you’re hosting or planning
  • Live tweet
  • Communicate with your customers directly when they @tag your business
  • Provide instant support when your customer has a question

Instagram:

Who's using Instagram? 75% of 18-24-year-olds, 57% of 25-30-year-olds, 47% of 30-49-year-olds

Who’s on it?

The majority of Instagram’s users are female between the ages 18-49 years old. Here’s the breakdown on Instagram users: … Opens in a new window to Sprout Social’s website…

  • 75% of 18–24 year olds use Instagram
  • 57% of 25–30 year olds use Instagram
  • 47% of 30–49 year olds use Instagram

How is it used?

Instagram is a free, highly visual app, allowing you to share videos and photos. The ability to add filters makes the everyday person look like a pro photographer.

It’s an excellent opportunity to share the visual elements of your business and give your followers a glimpse of your world while making it relevant to them.

What businesses should be on Instagram?

Businesses who have visually compelling services or products.

All of these industries are on Instagram:

  • Fashion
  • Restaurants
  • Entertainment
  • Automotive
  • Beauty
  • Watches and jewelry
  • Travel
  • Retail
  • Sportswear
  • Beverages
  • Consumer electronics
  • Consultants
  • eCommerce

But, anyone can use this visually stunning platform – as long as it’s relevant to your audience.

How can you use Instagram?

  • Post photos of your products and/or services (most obv!)
  • Make and share how-to videos
  • Share what’s happening with your community and business
  • Use in correlation with Facebook

Pinterest:

58% of pinners use Pinterest to make shopping and purchasing decision

Who’s on it?

There are over 300 million people who are using Pinterest and about 71% of those users are female. … Opens in a new window to Sprout Social’s website…

How is it used?

Another visual-heavy platform, consider Pinterest as a digital scrapbook. Many people come to this medium for inspirational content, including:

  • Finding recipes
  • DIY projects
  • How-to’s for various activities

It is the visual search engine of 2020. In fact, 58% of Pinterest users use this platform to make shopping and purchasing decisions. … Opens in a new window to Sprout Social’s website…

What businesses should be on Pinterest?

Pinterest is excellent for:

  • Fashion
  • Entertainment
  • Culinary
  • Home improvement
  • Gardening
  • eCommerce
  • Retail
  • Travel
  • Food and drink
  • Weddings
  • Photography
  • Interior design
  • Web design
  • Any visual industry

It all goes back to providing content visually. What kind of content can you post that’s relevant to your followers?

How can you use Pinterest?

  • How-to visuals and/or videos
  • DIY content that relates back to your business
  • Checklists
  • Inspirational content relevant to your audience

Snapchat:

Snapchat gets 8 billion video views each day

Who’s on it?

SnapChat is the home for Gen Zers and Millennials. It is filled with a young, engaged audience.

Snapchat has 210 million daily active users, … Opens in a new window to Sprout Social’s website… and 73% of 18–24 year olds and 47% of 25–30 year old use this social platform.

How is it used?

Snapchat is very similar to Twitter where you quickly share time-sensitive content through videos and photos.

What makes this platform unique is it disappears within 24 hours.

And trust us, people are watching that content.

8 billion videos are viewed on Snapchat each day. … Opens in a new window to Scrunch’s website…

“Engaged” is key here. Snapchat is so popular because of its ease of use to engage with the content.

What businesses should be on Snapchat?

Snapchat is the best way to reach Gen Zers and Millennials. If that is your target market, then:

YOU 👏 HAVE 👏 TO 👏 BE 👏 ON 👏 SNAPCHAT!

You can tailor your marketing strategy to appeal to this audience.

The best part is not a lot of small businesses are taking advantage of this platform.

Now is the time to hop on the Snapchat bandwagon.

How can you use Snapchat?

  • Build trust and directly engage with your audience
  • Do sponsors
  • Update your story every 3-4 hours to make it engaging
  • Send out “24-hour only” discounts and promotions
  • Respond to fans directly with private messages (unlike Twitter)

LinkedIn:

On LinkedIn, there are 230 million users and 2.7 million business pages

Who’s on it?

LinkedIn is the hub for professionals and career-driven individuals (aged around 25-50 years old). There are 230 million users … Opens in a new window to Yahoo’s website… and 2.7 million business pages on LinkedIn.

How is it used?

Consider LinkedIn as a place to network with other career professionals. Many people come to this network to:

  • Hire qualified candidates
  • Find a new job
  • Share industry news
  • Network with other professionals
  • Provide professional advice

What businesses should be on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is especially popular for:

  • Software companies
  • B2B companies
  • Professional services
  • Publications
  • Consultants

LinkedIn’s algorithm is simple and you can easily reach your audience with the relevant content you share.

It’s a sleeper social media platform cause there’s ample opportunity to connect with your audience without a lot of competition.

How can you use LinkedIn?

  • Pose as an industry expert (you are one, after all!)
  • Provide your insight to relevant LinkedIn Groups in need of advice
  • Share your blog content that’s relevant to the platform

TikTok:

TikTok users spend 52 minutes a day on the app

Who’s on it?

Just like Snapchat, Tiktok is another platform big for Gen Zers and Millennials.

It has 800 million active users with 41% of those users aged between 16-24 years old. … Opens in a new window to Oberlo’s website… 

How is it used?

TikTok is a phone app used to create and share 15-second videos. It’s simple to use and creates a multimedia experience for users without needing professional experience. It’s a hub to create viral videos.

What businesses should be on TikTok?

If your audience is Gen Zers and Millennials, then get your camera face on. Users spend an average of 52 minutes a day on the app. … Opens in a new window to Oberlo’s website… 

That’s time you can’t afford to miss out on!

Getting on this platform now is key because you can organically reach … Opens in a new window to Search Engine Journal’s website… your target market at a low cost. Now’s the time to experiment with your content and see what works best with your audience.

How can you use TikTok?

  • Take advantage of TikTok’s advertising platform to reach Gen Z consumers
  • Do fun promotions (hashtag challenge, branded lenses, etc.)
  • Make humorous, fun videos (that’s what TikTok users like!)

Reddit:

64% of Reddit's 430 million active users are 18-24 years old.

Who’s on it?

Reddit has over 430 million active users and 64% of those users are between the ages of 18-24.

It’s yet another hub for Gen Zers.

How is it used?

Reddit is a social news aggregation platform where members submit content (links, videos, photos, etc.) to the site and other members rate and discuss that content.

It’s dubbed the “front page of the Internet” because its homepage is basically the content rated the most popular among users.

What businesses should be on Reddit?

Use Reddit if your target audience is generally Gen Zers.

Tread carefully when using Reddit.

Don’t dump your Facebook content or start promoting your services on Reddit. The Reddit community does not like that.

Instead, observe what your target audience is discussing and post content that generally helps or is relevant to those discussions. Be authentic and genuine.

Social Media Examiner provides an excellent guide on how to use Reddit to your advantage. … Opens in a new window to Social Media Examiner’s website… 

How can you use Reddit?

  • Post original, genuine content that inspires the community, not promotes your service
  • Post gifs, videos, photos, blog posts
  • Participate in AMAs (ask me anything)
  • Share breaking news
  • Experiment using Reddit ads

Social posting beware: Certain industries must follow specific rules

Social media is a great experiment to push boundaries and discover what resonates with your target market.

However:

Some industries have special rules (big no-nos) on what to post on social media.

According to Hootsuite, … Opens in a new window to Hootsuite’s website…  these five industries have specific requirements when posting on social media:

  • Marijuana: You can’t say what you’re selling or risk heavy fines
  • Alcohol: You must pass this age-gate before entering
  • Cryptocurrency: The playground for scammers
  • Olympics: Don’t think about saying “Olympic, olympian, go for the gold, etc.” or else …
  • Gambling: A confusing landscape to advertise based on ambiguous laws

If you’re in one of these industries, I recommend you read Hootsuite’s article for more details on what you can and cannot post.

The gist of it is this:

Make sure you’re always following rules and regulations when posting on social media.

What social networks is your business using?

We want to hear from you!

What social accounts are you using for your business?

Are you having more success than others?

Don’t be shy! Share your findings in the comments 👇