Many of the business owners and professionals I speak with have the same question: “Where should I be spending my time on social media?”

Because time is such a precious resource for so many people, most opt to invest in only two or three social media platforms that are going to be the most relevant and impactful for their businesses. Makes sense, right? Right.

That’s why I wanted to put together a simple guide to help you identify the places you should be spending time on social media.

Let’s look at each platform.

Facebook

Facebook is a powerful tool for businesses selling a product, for non-profit organizations, and for those who are interested in building general brand awareness. This platform is becoming increasingly a place for sharing information—a bulletin board of sorts—for older users.

Pew Research found that Facebook is used by:

  • 71% of adult Internet users
  • 58% of entire adult population
  • 56% of Internet users age 65+

Not best for: If your organization is B2B based or geared toward teenagers, this might not be the best option for you.

Try this: Share info about upcoming events, promote new products, and highlight the ability of your business’s product or service solve customer pain points via Facebook ads.

Twitter

Twitter’s quick-moving stream of activity is intimidating for some, but when you participate actively, it can be a great place to jump in to relevant conversations and share your two cents while promoting the content you’ve created as well.

Pew Research found that Twitter is used by:

  • 23% of adult Internet users
  • Men and women under 50 with a college education
  • Households with incomes of <$50,000

Not best for: Twitter is great for building personal relationships, but it might not help you sell oodles of product.

Try this: Use Twitter to track keywords and participate in relevant conversations in your field to build brand awareness and to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

Instagram

If your business is geared toward all things aesthetically pleasing, Instagram is somewhere you should be investing time and energy. Again, it might not always lead to direct sales, but can help project the lifestyle you’re trying to connect with.

Pew Research found that Instagram is used by:

  • 26% of adult Internet users
  • 53% of young adults age 18-29
  • Women in suburban/urban areas

Not best for: Older demographics with high incomes

Try this: Show your products being used in real life on this platform, but through an artistic lens. A picture really is worth a thousand words here.

LinkedIn

If you’re a professional or a business owner, you should at least have a well-updated personal LinkedIn profile. This platform can be used to share content in different active groups, connect with your business network, and to recruit new hires as well.

Pew Research found that LinkedIn is used by:

  • 28% of adult Internet users
  • 23% of the entire adult population
  • College graduates
  • Adults age 30-64

Not best for: This is not the platform to use to make the hard sell or to market your products—it’s all about personal resume and content sharing.

Try this: Share your blog content here within relevant, active groups to gain a following and increase profile views. You may get a new lead just by consistently posting here.

Important Note

The second half of that initial question about where to spend time is usually followed with a second part, which is: “Which one will help me make the most sales?”

In the modern state of social media marketing, these tools are best used as a way to build trust, gain a following, and earn sales over time. Unless you’re advertising, social media often isn’t a direct source of profit.

It takes time to understand your social media audience—what they want to hear, what their pain points are, who they trust—and it’s not until you fully discover where you fit in to that niche that you can make the ask that really follows through with your audience.

The Bottom Line

If you have to choose selectively, opt for the two or three best platforms that your target demographic uses. Study your competitors to see what they’re doing. Watch the research that shows what tactics are working effectively. Test out ads on those platforms.

Don’t just pick a few and give a half-hearted attempt—dive in and be an active participant (or hire someone who can do that for you.)

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