Not all social media platforms are created equal. At least not when it comes to how good they are for your business. Picking which ones are best for you is a good way to ensure that you focus your time and energy on the areas that bring the most value.
Creating content for one platform and then simply replicating it across all platforms can look unnatural and ultimately lead to the alienation of your audience. Instead it is better to consider your options and create tailored, dedicated content for the platforms which are best suited to your needs.
In this article, we explore some of the considerations you should be making when picking the best social media platform to target your audience.
Social Platform Considerations
When it comes to picking which social media platform is best for your business there are several considerations that need to be made. These include:
Platform Functionality & Context
We will go into each of these areas in more detail below.
If you are only going to take the time to consider one area when picking the best social media platform for you then audience demographics should be it.
To do this you first need to understand exactly who it is you are targeting. If you are an established business, this may be a fairly straight forwards process of finding information on your current customers such as:
If you are a new business, finding this information may take a little additional time and research.
Once you know exactly who it is that your business serves, you need to work out which social media platforms those types of people use. This could include looking at average demographics for common platforms or doing deeper research into communities related to your niche.
Here are a few common platforms and their associated demographics to get you started (source: sproutsocial):
Most common age group: 25-34 (31.5%)
Gender: 43% female, 57% male
Most common age group: 25-34 (31.2%), closely followed by 18-24 (31%)
Gender: 48.4% female, 51.8% male
Most common age group: 15-25 (48%)
Gender: 54.4% female, 44.6% male
Most common age group: 18-29 (42%)
Gender: 38.4% female, 61.6% male
Most common age group: 10-19 (25%)
Gender: 61% female, 39% male
Most common age group: 25-34 (58.4%)
Gender: 48% female, 52% male
Most common age group: 50-64 (38%)
Gender: 78% female, 22% male
Even these basic insights into social platform demographics can offer a strong starting point when deciding which platform is best for you. For example, an interior design brand may use Pinterest in order to target a more mature female audience, whereas a video games brand that targets a much younger audience would be more likely to benefit from using TikTok.
Social Platform Functionality & Context
Demographics give you a good idea of where your target audience is hanging out. However, with vast audiences on all the big platforms, the reality is that most businesses can reach those they want to on most platforms.
Assessing platform functionality and context can be the next smart step in assessing where to focus your marketing efforts.
Take for example a B2B business that sells recruitment services. Based purely on demographics this business could decide to grow its presence on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. However, when you consider the type of content that this business will deliver and the context in which they want to deliver it, LinkedIn is clearly a much better option.
Similarly, a brand that sells snowboard boots could use multiple platforms based on demographics alone, but would more likely benefit from the video and image-based nature of TikTok and Instagram to generate a buzz around their content.
Although taking a ‘this is how we have always done it’ approach certainly isn't a good idea, assessing your past success and legitimate audience growth is a good way to identify which social platform may be best for you.
For example, if your business has already built a large and engaged audience on Facebook, then deciding to drop that channel in favour of another due to demographics or context may not be the best idea.
You may also have seen past success in advertising on specific platforms. Again, this could be an indicator that it is a good platform to use.
However, it is also important to assess just how much benefit an already successful account is bringing to your business. After all, posting funny cat videos on TikTok may get you lots of followers and engagement, but it is unlikely to help you sell many pieces of heavy engineering equipment.
Checking out where your competitors are active on social media can offer some insight into what works and what doesn't in your niche.
Of course, just because your competitor does something doesn’t mean you should. But checking out what they do can give you some insight into what is working and where. Find the answers to these questions:
Which platforms do they use?
Which platforms do they get the most engagement on?
Who is engaging with their content on each platform?
Then use this insight to help inform your choice.
Picking Social Media Platforms for Your Business: Summary
It is clear that there is a lot to consider when deciding which social media platform to pick for your business. Detailing your target audience and then matching them to common platform demographics will give you a clear idea of which platforms have the biggest opportunities in terms of reach.
However, other factors such as context and functionality can also play a big part in helping you to effectively communicate your messages with those who matter most to your business.
Use the tips in this guide to find the very best social media platforms to meet your needs.