Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Periscope…. the list goes on.
As a small business owner, you have limited time to be devoting to social media, so you don’t want to be wasting it on a social media network that won’t give anything back to your business. Your customers are not on every single network out there, so you don’t have to be either. Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to figure out which social media networks your small business should be using.
1. Define your customer demographics.
This is a basic business practice so I’m sure you already know this, but in case you haven’t gotten really specific, then now’s the time to do it.
1. Where are my customers located? Drill this down as much as possible, it could be just a radius of a few blocks depending on your business.
2. How old are they? This could span up 10-15 years (for example, 25-35)
3. Are your customers primarily male, female or both?
4. Generally speaking, how much money do they make?
If you find yourself having a hard time getting specific or you have a range of different kinds of customers that you deal with, then answer the above questions thinking about either the majority of your customers or the ones that are most profitable for you. For example, a traveling hairdresser may offer services for kids but most of her customers are probably stay at home moms, and they’ll probably be the type of client that spends the most on her services as well, so it’s best to focus on that group.
You should also check out: How to Make Time for Social Media When Running a Small Business
2. Compare your customers to the user bases of each network
This sounds more technical than it is. Certain types of people use certain types of social media. For example, of your customers are over the age of 30, forget about SnapChat because 70% of SnapChat’s users are under 25. If your customers don’t have much disposable income, you may want to pass on Pinterest because the majority of users are college educated and make over $75,000 (around £60,000) per year.
Use this really useful post from Sprout Social to compare your customers to typical users for each network. Keep in mind these are US stats but it’s still a good general guide even in you’re in the UK.
3. Look at your competitors
If any of your competitors are using social media, they’ve done a little bit of the work for you. See what networks they’re on and look at how their audience is responding. If they’re actually putting a decent effort in (posting good content consistently) and no one is engaging with them (liking photos, commenting, etc.) then take note, as that may not be the best platform for you to be on either.
I wouldn’t use this comparison as a hard-and-fast rule, but if you’re on the fence about whether you should get involved on a certain network, this could help you decide.
4. Find out what your customers use by ASKING them
The best way to find out which social media networks that your customers like to use is to just ASK! If you see your customers in person, then ask them in person what networks they like to use and what they don’t. Other ways you could do this is by sending out an email asking for a quick reply from them letting them know what they use, or by asking on any networks that you’re currently using. For example, ask your Facebook fans “We’re thinking of starting a Pinterest account so that we can inspire you to create more DIY projects. Do you use Pinterest?”
5. Consider your industry and how it will fit in with each networks
Ok, after all of the research you’ve done, you’ll also need to keep in mind that not every business will do well on each networks, even if your customers ARE using it. For example, an accountant’s customers might all LOVE using Instagram, but being such a visual platform, what kind of photos could an accountant post? It would get boring very quickly, so Instagram isn’t a good fit for this business owner.
6. Start with 3 networks at the maximum, and monitor
Ok, so you’ve followed everything I told you and figured out which social media networks will be most beneficial for your small business to be on. Yay! Now’s the fun part— getting started! I recommend starting with three networks at the absolute maximum, as there’s only so much time in a day! If you want to start with just one, that’s fine too, but in both instances be sure to monitor how it’s going for the first few months. If you feel that one of the networks you chose just isn’t doing anything for ya even though you’ve put in a really good effort, then don’t be afraid to call it quits and focus on the more successful ones, or to try a new one.
After reading this, which social networks do you think are the best to be on for your small business or blog? Let me know in the comments below.