You want as much buzz around your business as possible. So the best idea for getting yourself visible on social media, and getting your name out into your marketplace, must be to sign up for as many social media platforms as possible. The wider the net, the bigger the haul, right?
Keeping your content updated in 25 different places including Reddit, Myspace and WeHeartIt (seriously, Weheartit is a thing!) is a life-force sapping activity. If you want to end up a dry old husk of a business owner, go for it.
Of course, I’m joking about some of those second (seventh) tier social media sites – they wouldn’t ever be top of your list. But, even keeping yourself active on the big six for business owners – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and now, Clubhouse* – is a full-time job, or, at least almost full-time. I’d estimate 25 hours a week to get all of these working. It’s certainly not something you can squeeze into five minutes at the beginning and end of the day.
Instead of committing yourself to an extra five hours work a day, I’d suggest picking one (or two, if you MUST) of the big six and making a commitment to focus on that one (or two) to get it working for you, before you consider branching out to another.
When I say ‘focus’, what I mean is: develop a campaign, have a planned programme of content, (created by you and curated from other sites) invest in imagery, use hashtags, identify online influencers who can help you to grow, use the advertising options, etc, etc, etc. And, yes, advertising is virtually the only way to grow your page and get in front of your audience, on Facebook at least. Sorry.
To figure out which one is going to be most effective for your business start by looking at recent statistics on the demographic splits for users on each platform. The platforms* are broadly characterised as follows (updated in April 2021):
The most well-used social media site in the UK: in terms of both user numbers and how regularly they visit. Slightly more women than men and the biggest user age group is 25-34. Older generations are starting to pitch in and it is considered an ‘aging demographic’. It’s very much a marmite platform, people tend to love it and spend a lot of time there, or hate it and have a profile but never visit. Nevertheless, the majority of people have a profile.
Twitter doesn’t make its official user stats available but it is known to have a more even split in terms of males vs females and be more businessy and London-centric than Facebook. You can build great communities here, but it takes more time. This is a place where journalists and ‘experts’ tend to hang out, to make sure they are at the forefront of news as it breaks, and can gather intel about consumer sentiment.
In the last two years, LinkedIn has found its mojo, evolved and become the place to be. It used to be where you went when you were looking for a job. Now it has a vibrant community of users who tend to visit every day. It’s a bit like Facebook ‘when it was good’, except that users are in a ‘business state of mind’. For that reason, some people have strong feelings about the type of content that should be shared here, so tread carefully.
It currently has nearly 31 million users in the UK, of which 58.1 percent were between 25 and 34 years old. LinkedIn is all about connection and conversation, and the algorithm on this site reflects that. It’s one of our social media channels of choice, where we are most active and Sian has even ‘been viral’ on this platform.
Far more women than men (I believe it’s a 70/30 split). Tends to be used by more affluent groups of society. Pinterest is all about projects, so if you’re selling a product that people research as part of a project such as a wedding, or an extension, you should be all over this.
The fastest growing platform (apart from Clubhouse). More women than men, excellent for branding your business visually. It has a younger audience than the other platforms. Because of the visual nature of the platform, you need to be able to commit to creating a LOT of visual content, and have a good eye for photography. But, these days it’s very acceptable to use graphic images as well as photography, which makes things easier. Instagram is another one of our favourites, it’s big on community, and growth comes from astute use of hashtags and relationships with influencers (not just Love Island celebrities, nano-influencers are also a thing now).
The new kid on the block, Clubhouse is leading the charge for ‘audio-only’ social media platforms (more are following so get used to the idea). It’s so new it’s still in Beta-testing phase and operating an invite-only policy, but it’s not hard to get an invitation (let us know if you need one – we have quite a few to share). Official stats are hard to come by for Clubhouse, but it’s had over 3 million downloads to date, and it’s estimated around 2 million of those equate to active users. Clubhouse is a great place for those who want to grow a reputation as an industry expert – for businesses like coaches and consultants there are opportunities to grow an audience quickly now, before it becomes over-saturated. But beware – it’s very (very!) easy to get lost down a Clubhouse rabbit hole and end up spending a lot of time on there, with nothing to show for it. From the perspective of its usefulness to the majority of small businesses, it’s safe to say the jury is still out on Clubhouse – watch this space.
The next step is to compare the audiences for each platform with exactly who you are targeting as your ideal customer. Sorry, but it’s back to the good old customer profile. Precisely who is your dream client? What sort of demographic group do they fit into?
For example, if you’re selling funky leggings to female millennials, Instagram is your best bet. That’s why companies like Lululemon and H&M are all over it.
To help you whittle your choice down further, think about the way your audience is most likely to use social media. If they’re commuting to a busy job, they could be just doing a quick Twitter check-in morning and evening. If they are a stay-at-home mum or they work from home, you can bet that they’re using Instagram for inspiration, or Facebook and its sense of community to keep loneliness at bay and stay in touch with friends.
The key here is to go where your audience is, and invest your precious time and money building your community there. Once your platform of choice is working well, and only then – add in the next one. No potential customer will judge you if you aren’t on every single social media site. But they will make a judgment call if they visit your pages and see nothing but a few very old posts and the occasional tumbleweed. Take my advice, don’t set it up until you’re ready to keep it busy.
Get in touch to find out more about social media campaign planning and how to make it work for you.
* You’ll notice we aren’t mentioning TikTok…..there is a strategic reason for this. We are too old to hang out on TikTok, our kids would die of mortification if they stumbled across their mums on their favourite platform.