Recently, I struggled not to get into a fight with some other social media managers on Twitter. The topic? Google+, of course. For those unfamiliar with the platform, it tends to be terribly divisive. People love it or hate it. Many claim not to “get” it (though I still believe many of them just heard this statement from their friends and repeated it).
The truth of things is: social media is not magic. There is no comprehensive online marketing program that will alleviate the need for you to do some work. You may have to learn the ins and outs of a new platform. You’ll likely always need to curate and create new, relevant content. With this in mind, and a limit to how many hours there are in a day, it’s important to find which social media platforms are right for you. It’s better to do a few platforms right than do all of them in a way that makes you look flighty.
We’ve written about this topic in the past but with all the changes in the past two years, it seems worthwhile to ask the question again. How do you choose which social media platform is right for you?
4 Tips for Selecting the Right Social Media Platforms for your Small Business
1. Where are your customers? We have a customer who does great on Facebook. So after awhile, she branched out to Pinterest. She had a very visual subject matter and it seemed like a good fit. She found that while she could get attention there, it wasn’t from people who would ever patronize her facility. So, she went to Google+ where she found a plethora of businesses and customers that were right for her niche. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if a platform “should” work, it matters if it does.
2. Consider your budget Over the last two years, Facebook has choked reached for small business pages – EVEN if they have great content. The reality is, if you want to reach your customers on Facebook, you need to have some sort of allotted ad budget. This is not necessarily a bad thing – Facebook ads have some serious benefits to them even when compared to Google ads (which also isn’t to say Google ads are necessarily bad). But your budget – or lack thereof – will affect which platforms may be right for you.
3. Consider your Tech Savvy If the word “hashtag” confuses you and you don’t understand what a thread is in the online world, Twitter may be tough for you. If you’re planning to manage this yourself, your social media and tech savvy will play a key part in which platforms you choose. Of course, you can always choose to outsource to experts whose job it is to stay up to date on these platforms. If you really want to be hands-on though, it’s important to be realistic about your knowledge as well as how much time you have to keep up with your online education.
4. Limit Auto-posts Now, I am a big fan of automation. Why make your own life harder for no reason by trying to do everything yourself in real time? However, having an online presence on any platform that is only automated (Your Twitter feed comprised solely of Instagram auto-fed posts, for instance) is going to make it incredibly hard to grow or gain traction on that platform. If the only way you can manage a platform is to fully automate it, you may not want to be on that platform.
On any platform, consistency is key. If you can’t regularly schedule solid content on a social media platform, it may not be worth your time, money or sanity to be there just to be there.