In order for anything to be critical in relation to the success of your business, the impact of not incorporating that thing should be noticeably negative. In other words, deciding to put your business on a social media site should be an informed decision based on the benefits of devoting your time to using it as a marketing tool. A platform should only be considered critical if you stand to lose business without it.
Certain business owners might tell you that they've managed to avoid social media entirely, but in today's socially-obsessed culture, not being on any platforms may actually be harming your bottom line. Social media marketing is so cost effective that other traditional forms of marketing have begun to disappear. The question is no longer if you should have a social presence, the question is which platform, and how many platforms, are critical to maintaining a successful marketing campaign.
In this article we're going to explore which sites have shown to work the best for small businesses, and bring up some key considerations for why your business would choose to make an account.
Number Of Active Users
Curating content for social media can be time consumptive, and if you've gone as far as creating your own blogs, videos, or photos then it can also be expensive. That's why when we take additional time to post content online, we want to guarantee the most potential customers are going to see it.
One of the easiest ways to determine if a social media platform is worth making the account, is to see how many active users it claims, along with how many users a platform has per day. By the numbers here are the top four in the United States:
- Facebook: 1.59 Billion Users, 1.09 Billion users per day
- Tumblr: 555 Million Users, 100 Million users per day
- Instagram: 400 Million Users, 75 Million users per day
- Twitter: 320 Million Users, 100 million users per day
Although these four have large numbers, there are still dozens of other platforms to explore for more niche advertising such as Reddit, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+.
Demographics Of Users
While the total number of users you can expect to reach are important, perhaps even more crucial are the demographics within each platform. Pinterest for instance has a 68.2% to 31.8% female to male ratio, while Snapchat users are primarily aged 13-24. Platform demographics vary greatly by region, ethnicity, and personal interests. The best way to determine if a platform will contain your target audience is to look into the demographic statistics.
Type Of Content
Right after you look into the types of people on each platform, the next step is measuring how much of your content can be shared. Facebook allows practically everything to be posted, from status updates, to photos, videos, links, and private messages. Instagram, however, is primarily image based and doesn't cater to links or shares as well as other platforms.
As a photographer, I find Instagram to be one of my greatest business assets as people expect to find photography there. In contrast, I never use Twitter as it doesn't seem to be quite as effective. This same philosophy should be considered when looking at how you promote your own business.
Tracking your marketing analytics is the proverbial line in the sand when it comes to business vs. personal use. Sure, everyone in the world will check to see how many “likes” or “retweets” their post received, but truly understanding the extent of your posts reach is the most important aspect to using a platform for business.
Some platforms come with built-in analytics, like Facebook, but for others it's incredibly useful to invest in third-party applications that pull data you would have never thought to consider. Apps like Buffer, Social Metrics Pro, or for all the Instagram fans there are several apps to track your posts through your phone.
The distinction you need to make with social media for business is that it's more about performance than social points. Just because you receive a lot of likes, doesn't mean your efforts are stacking up to transactions. Spend plenty of time analyzing what's working, and what's eating into your marketing budget.
Which social platforms do you use the most for business? Let us know in the comments section!