From Facebook to Weibo and everything in between, social media is an ever changing landscape with new platforms launching all the time. But with so many social media options for your small business, which platforms should you invest in? All of them, or none of them, we're going to take a look at the considerations you need to make.

Why use social media?

If you're not already using any social media platforms to market your business you might ask why you even need to be on any of these platforms at all. It's another thing to think about, plan for and monitor, but when you consider that 79% of UK adults use Facebook and 44% use it daily can your business afford not to be seen on Facebook as a starting point to grow your sales.

Advantages of social media for your small business

It's not just Facebook either, with Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn and a bunch of new social media platforms springing up every month there are ample opportunities to grow your audience and customer base and this is the key advantage. Social media platforms give you an opportunity to talk directly to your current and potential customers and engage with that audience directly.

The social conversation doesn't stop their though, there are also increasing opportunties to sell to your social media audience through social media directly too with many platforms allowing companies to list products in a growing number of ways.

Which social media platforms should you use though?

As highlighted earlier, there are so many social media platforms that it can be difficult to know which ones to use. It's important to remember that unless you have unlimited resource to create content and respond to users through these platforms, it's probably not the best idea to try and market on all of them. Ultimately you run the risk of taking on more than you can handle and leaving potential customers unanswered and feeling disappointed.

Another thing to consider is whether you'll have enough different content to post across multiple social media platforms too. While using the same content everywhere might seem like an easy win, audiences on each platform won't respond in the same way.

Monitor the competition

The key to knowing which platform to use is to do your research and have a good understanding of your typical customers. A good way of doing this is to look at your competitors, which social media platforms are they using, what type of content do they post, how often and what kind of response does it get?

This will give you a great idea of which platforms to consider, but this doesn't mean you should only use the same platforms as your competitors. Experimenting with alternatives could help you to find a gap in the market, looking at the hashtags being used across the different platforms can also help you understand the conversation topics on that platform.

Think about your audience

As a business owner you should know your audience pretty well, what products they're buying, how often they're bought and what content your users read on your website. All of this information can help you to build a picture of your audience and therefore use this insight to understand which social media platforms your potential customers will use.

Consider what time you have available

We're all short on time and taking on too much will feel like a drain, quickly becoming overwhelming if not approached properly. This is where creating a solid social media content plan is essential, think about:

  • What hashtags can you get involved with
  • Can you share content from your website
  • How frequently you need to post
  • What existing conversations you can join

Planning the content you can share will have a huge benefit in terms of managing the time you invest in social media, while it's a great way to build an audience it shouldn't distract your from the core functions of your business. If you've only got a few staff, consider splitting the duties across your team to ease the workload; involving staff in this way may also encourage increased engagement, though guidelines are important here.

Review regularly

As a final point to consider, you should review your social media performance regularly. You can see insights on post performance through the various platforms and you should use these to inform your future posts.