So, now that you understand that your business needs social media to thrive, what comes next? Do you go out and sign up for every single social media platform out there? Not so fast!

Deciding which platforms to start out with is important. You need to get the answers to a few very important questions before you begin. 

1. Demographics: Where do your customers hang out?

You need to get this information ASAP: who exactly are you trying to get the attention of?

For example, if you’re trying to reach women aged 25-34 in urban areas, Facebook is an excellent platform for you. If you’re trying to advertise to teenagers, then Instagram will be your best bet. There are many excellent online resources breaking down the demographics on social media platforms. Take some time perusing them before you commit to creating a profile. 

2. How visual is your business? 

Having a social media profile on a image-heavy site (such as Instagram) is a good idea if you have a physical product to sell makes. Services can be harder to create images of, but it’s not impossible. But you may want to consider a text-based platform, such as Twitter. 

3. What’s the difference between platforms? 

  • Twitter: Allows you to post short messages of up to 280 characters. Site is text-heavy, not primarily used for images (though you can share pictures!)
  • Instagram: Used to share images, pictures, and videos. You can add captions, but many people do not read them.
  • Facebook: The most commonly-used platform, easily highlights text, pictures, and video.
  • YouTube: A platform for creating and sharing videos. Users do not interact very much with non-video content on this site.
  • Tumblr: A popular and versatile blogging site. However, its popularity has declined in recent years. Can be used to share text, images, video, gifs, and more.
  • LinkedIn: This platform is used for business networking purposes. Users typically engage with professional content related to their careers, including articles, images, and videos.
  • Snapchat: Majority of users are young people (under 34). Users create and share seconds-long videos or images and share them with friends.
  • Reddit: Interactive forum where users post in myriad topical threads (or “subreddits”) to connect and learn.

Note: Sometimes, more is less

You want to make sure that you’re laser-targeting your marketing. Don’t waste time advertising on social media profiles that won’t reach your customers. Worse, don’t create a bunch of profiles that you never use. A dead social media profile looks bad, and will make customers wonder if you went out of business.

Worse of all, you end up wasting time and money to manage profiles that aren’t doing their job. 

In the next article in our series, check out a detailed breakdown of what makes each social media platform effective and unique.

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