I know a ton of lifestyle bloggers who are constantly posting recipes on LinkedIn. While LinkedIn has many uses and everyone loves delicious salsa, it’s unlikely the people who are perusing LinkedIn updates are there because they need a side to bring to a party. Instead, they’re looking for new business and career opportunities.

If they wanted salsa, they’re much more likely to check Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook.

Similarly, a number of our clients want to be on ALL the social media platforms because that’s what they’re supposed to do, right? Eh. Maybe not. For instance, if you’re a well known salsa manufacturer, an extensive LinkedIn campaign probably isn’t for you. And maybe Google AdWords will be tough since you’ve got so much competition. But visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest could work well…if you’ve got someone on staff who remembers to take great photos with some regularity.

When it comes down to it, how do you decide what social media platforms might work best for you brand? While any platform requires that you engage regularly, here are the things you need and can pass on for each platform.

best social media platform for your small business

Determining Which Social Media Platforms Make Sense for your Business

Facebook 
Must have: Facebook is a great place to be if you have a dedicated ad budget. Their algorithm has made it so that if you don’t have ad dollars to use, no one will see your posts no matter how great.
Nice to have: Great photos and videos are never a bad thing. We’d also recommend having a variety of content that is not promotional to share or people will stop thinking of you as anything but pushy.
Pass: Posting updates right on top of each other is a waste of your time. In our experience, posting 1-2 times a day (or at a bare minimum, three times a week) is enough for most brands.

Twitter
Must have: In order to do Twitter right, you really need to focus on building relationships. If you simply auto-post from another platform and never engage, no one will care about your Twitter presence. You’ll be shouting into a void. If your brand doesn’t have time to follow and engage others on Twitter, you should skip the platform altogether. Claim your handle so no one else can grab it and then move on.
Nice to have: Find regularly scheduled Twitter chats to engage in – they’re a great way to build relationships. Hashtags relevant to your industry are also great to have.
Pass: Making your own hashtag that is the same as your handle. For instance, when we tweet as @EliRoseSocial, hashtagging our tweets #EliRoseSocial is redundant and a waste of characters. It also indicates you’re not familiar with the platform.

Instagram
Must have: Fantastic photos and lots of them. If you’re not going to post at least one photo to Instagram per day, skip this platform. Many brands start the platform because it’s trendy, post three blurry photos and let the account go dormant. If you want to be successful on this platform, you need a more consistent strategy.
Nice to have: Industry and client specific hashtags to use when posting your photos are key. It’s also important to take time to engage with potential clients and followers.
Pass: Auto-posting to other platforms may not always be the best Instagram strategy.

Pinterest
Must have: Regular content that points back to your website. This can be products or regularly published blog posts that include images. Without at least some of your pins pointing back to your site, there’s little point in spending hours on this platform as it won’t increase your web traffic but it may increase your competitors’.
Nice to have: Time spent engaging with followers and searching out new followers. A plan for how you will be seen as an “expert” when people look through your pinboards.
Pass: Auto-posting from Pinterest to other platforms can be dicey. Have a careful strategy in place if you do so. You also want to be very sure not to re-pin competitors’ content – it’s an easy platform to lose track of who posted what as well as what site it posts back to. There’s layers to this platform, player. Make sure you understand what you’re doing before you do it. If you don’t, get some training before diving in.

Tumblr
Must have: An interest in wooing millennials and hipsters.
Nice to have: A great sense of humor. Plus, a succinct writing style doesn’t hurt.
Pass: The desire to do a lot of “educating” on this platform.

LinkedIn
Must have: Actual business or professional networking related content to share and a reason to share it.
Nice to have: An understanding of SEO and keywords. LinkedIn can be an important platform for getting found if you know what you’re doing.
Pass: Posting lifestyle pieces or products that clearly are not work related. This is also a platform where many individuals and brands start to spam other people. Don’t do that. It’s irritating.The right social media platform depends a lot on what your brand is looking to do and who you’re looking to reach. If you’re trying to maximize your time on social media, make sure you think through what your platforms require before you jump in. And if you ever need a shoulder to lean on while making these decisions, just call on us and we’ll be there.

About KristinZaslavsky (283 Posts)

Kristin has spent her career designing marketing applications that are easy to use, making technology adoption easy on businesses and their clients. She loves nothing more than to patiently show people that technology doesn’t need to be scary (even though it sometimes feels like it does).


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