Social media platforms, or sites, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat have become the prominent social networking tools for millions of online business owners. They’re using these channels to share hundreds of links that promote their business, products, and services.

When it comes to using social media as a promotional tool the question that I get asked the most often is “how do I decide which social media platform is best for my business when there are so many channels to choose from?”  This mainly depends on the nature of your business, your ultimate goals and which social sites your target audience uses the most.

Eventually, you’ll want to have a presence on multiple platforms, but when you’re just getting started you’ll want to focus your time and energy on one or two platforms, then branch out from there. I see so many business owners jump into social media marketing, set up profiles on every social site they can find only to find themselves overwhelmed and unable to keep up with all the daily activities required to manage them effectively.

 

Consider Your Main Goals

Maintaining a solid social media presence takes lots of time and effort. The type of business you have will help determine your main objectives. That’s why knowing exactly what you want to achieve with your campaign will help you choose the right platform to focus on. For instance, do you want to engage your customers and increase brand awareness? Do you want to target new leads and generate more revenue? Knowing what you want to achieve will help you in choose the best channels for your business.

 

strategyKnow Your Target Audience

Now that you have a good idea of what your main goals are, you need to figure out who you’re trying to reach. When you know who your target audience is, it will be much easier to find out which social media site the spend most of their time on and what type of content they respond to best.

For example, people between the ages of 18-24 hang out on sites like Snapchat, while more mature people gravitate towards Twitter and Facebook. If you’re not sure where your audience hangs out, look at where your competitors are at. Find out where they invest their time and where they’re getting the most engagement.

 

Find Out What Your Audience Wants

After you know where your audience hangs out take some time to figure out what type of content they get excited about. Once you have determined what they want you can focus on creating content that you can use to connect with them. This is where paying attention to your competition will come in handy again. Keep an eye on where they are sharing content, what type of content they’re posting and what kind of response they get from their audience. For instance, if they’re posting a lot videos on YouTube and Facebook that are getting a lot of likes, shares and comments, then you can be pretty sure that those platforms will work great for your business too. But if they are spending time posting images on Pinterest and Instagram that their followers love then you’ll want to explore those channels instead.

 

Determine How Much Time…

As I mentioned, maintaining a solid presence on social media takes a lot of time and effort. Some platforms are more time-consuming to maintain than others so focus on the ones that you’ll feel most comfortable posting on. If you only have an hour a day scheduled for social media, it’s a good idea to keep your reach limited to one or two networks that will make the biggest impact. This will make your job much easier.

Once you have developed a good presence on one or two sites you can then branch out to others to expand your reach even more. As you become more successful you can consider outsourcing your social media management so that you can have a strong presence on multiple channels without spending all your time posting and responding yourself.

When you take the time to consider these things it will be much easier for you to decide which social media channels will help you achieve your goals and reflect your business values.