We work with a lot of small business owners – some have been in business for decades and others we’ve helped recently launch – and one of the questions we ALWAYS get asked is, “Do I really need to be on social media and what platforms should I use?” We get it, Social Media is a monster to try to understand. From figuring out the different platforms, to creating profiles, to figuring out what to post and when, it can be so overwhelming and confusing for those just starting to dabble in it or who haven’t expanded much beyond either Facebook or LinkedIn.
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To answer the question above – YES, you absolutely should be on social media. BUT you don’t have to be on every platform. The key is to be on the platform that your potential buyers and current clients are on. If you market to teens and younger generations, they aren’t going to go looking for your company on LinkedIn, but they will look for you on Instagram or Snap Chat. Just like someone looking for a Realtor or CPA wouldn’t try to find someone on Twitter or Snap Chat – they would look for you on Facebook or LinkedIn. To help you out, here’s a list of the most popular social media channels and who is using them. Demographics sourced from Spredfast.
Facebook: It’s still the most popular social media network in use with over 2 Billion users and regardless of your industry, your business should have a Facebook page. You can use it to share photos, Facebook Live video, company updates, and content that your followers would find useful. You can also list what your company does, the hours you are open, your phone number, website, etc. Facebook also has some of the best analytics and advertising tools. Users range from 18 to 65+, are equally men and women, and cover all income ranges. There are 179 million users on mobile and 90 million users on desktop per month.
Instagram: Now owned by Facebook, Instagram is becoming more popular with over 800 million users. Instagram is a visual platform that’s based entirely on photo and video posts. You can’t share articles or other content easily, and no URL’s are allowed in posts. Depending on your industry, this may not be a great fit. Brands that do well are often photographers, health and fitness, real estate, clothing, shoes, beauty products, etc. The person running your account have a good eye for detail and at least basic photography skills, so the photos and videos posted to your account are high-quality. Users are primarily 18- 49 years old, more women than men, and include all income levels. This is primarily a mobile based platform. At Red Barn we’ve recently decided to re-engage our Insta Life! Check us out @redbarnct. W
Twitter: This seems to be the platform that many people either love or hate – with over 317 million users. It’s great for posting quick updates, videos, photos, and links to blogs or other articles, but it certainly isn’t for everyone. You are limited to 240 characters per tweet. It’s a great tool to easily interact with other users and many companies use it to handle customer service. This may not be the best platform if you prefer more visual posts or don’t have a lot of your own content to share. If you have interesting content, Twitter is a great tool for quickly spreading the word and if a user with a lot of followers retweets you, your content could go viral. Twitter is very quid pro quo – in order to be successful, you need a mix of your own content and sharing and retweeting other interesting content. Users range in age but are skewed more to the 18-29 audience, with slightly more males using the platform than females. Users range across all incomes and surprisingly more people use Twitter on desktop vs. mobile.
Pinterest: This is another very visual platform that allows users, over 200 million, to save and share content by “pinning” them to digital bulletin boards. You can organize your content and boards by different categories. From the business perspective, the platform has special pins called Rich Pins which brands can use to add specific information to their pins, like product details and even location maps. Every pin includes an image or video. This is another platform that isn’t for everyone. Brands that work in DIY projects, fashion, exercise, beauty, photography and food usually do very well here. There are 20% more women on the platform than men, users range from 18 – 64 years old, and cover a range of income levels. There are over 70 million mobile user’s vs only 27 million desktop users per month. Like Insta – we are playing around with building up our Pinterest game – it’s a work in progress. The goal is to drive more people back to our website. We will keep you posted!
Snapchat: This is another mobile only platform with over 300 million users. It’s a visual platform that is known for its disappearing content. Users can send video or photos to other users or post to their public Stories (which disappear after 24 hours). Content can be saved and uploaded to other platforms, and users can now chat, message, create events, and share media content within the platform – something that previously wasn’t available. Snapchat has a ton of filter options for photos, and since the content isn’t forever, many people find less pressure to post more polished content. Only followers can see your stories, so building an audience is key to getting engagement on your content. 70% of the users are women, and users range from 13 – 34 years old. This is a mobile only app with no desktop option.
YouTube: Now owned by Google, YouTube is a video-sharing platform with over 1 Billion users where people can view, upload, rate, share and comment on content. Business often use YouTube to host their creative, visual or educational component. Your videos should be polished, although they don’t have to be professionally produced, but they shouldn’t be done with a shaky cell phone camera. You don’t even need to have your own channel to take advantage of advertising. Many businesses partner with popular YouTubers for product placement, because these users already have engaged audiences. Users are primarily between the ages of 25 and 44. There are slightly more males using the platform than females, and traffic is evenly split between mobile and desktop.
LinkedIn: This is a much more business centric platform with over 106 million monthly users. It is hands down the best platform for professional networking. It’s a great place to promote your business, find top talent, and showcase yourself as an industry expert in your field. Posts should be much more conservative than you would share on other platforms. Many people create personal profiles to act as a digital resume since businesses will post jobs and research candidates using the platform. LinkedIn also has very specific industry groups that users can join – this is a great place for you to be since you can answer questions, share content, and be an expert and draw people to your company’s page and website. Most users range from 18 to 64 years old, are in the $50k a year and up income range and are split almost even between men and women. People prefer to use this platform on desktop vs mobile.
If you aren’t sure if you should be on a platform, spend some time exploring it. See what other businesses are on there, if your competition is on there, and if your target clients are on there. It’s far better to be good at 2 platforms than to be mediocre or poor at 4. It’s important to stay consistent and post content that is going to bring your followers value. Wanna follow Red Barn on social media? You can find us here:
LinkedIn: Red Barn Consulting LLC
Pinterest: Red Barn Consulting LLC