Choosing the Best Social Media Platform for Your Small Business
JIM FREDERICKS, Executive Director, PPMA
For small businesses, it can be difficult to know what is necessary for your growth and what is not. While social media may be written off by companies because they don’t think it makes sense for their goals, not participating can have detrimental effects on your business. Depending on the platform you use, social media can increase your brand awareness, build trust with your customers, and establish your business as a leader in the industry. On top of that, social media allows your business to remain top of mind for customers who may not need your services at that moment but will help them recall you at a later date.
The Core Social Platforms
Since the launch of the first social networking site in 1997, social media usage has grown to an estimated 4.89 billion users with plenty of businesses, big and small, being part of that group. There are several top social media platforms, but they might not make sense for your business as they each offer different benefits and uses. The following are some of the most popular social media sites used today and information about each that can help you decide which should be your focus:
This platform is great for nearly every type of business, including pest control. It is the most popular platform for adults ages 35-44 and nearly 70% of adults use it, which aligns with most businesses’ target audience. Facebook is great for a variety of content, including photography and video, and also has the option for Facebook Live events during which you can interact with your customers and answer their questions in real time. Unlike other social platforms, your content doesn’t necessarily have to be high-quality to get noticed. For companies with a budget for advertising, Facebook posts can also be turned into ads tailored for your goals.
Another benefit of Facebook is that it can be a great alternative for a website if you’re tight on budget. Keeping up with the monthly maintenance and initial development of a website can be costly, so many companies have started to use Facebook as a replacement. You can use your Facebook bio to house important contact information and the history of your company and use in-feed posts to share the services you provide.
Over 61 million companies are currently using LinkedIn. This platform is the best option for companies looking to position their executives as industry thought leaders. It can serve as a “blog” for your company, as much of the content shared is longer posts and articles. For B2B companies, LinkedIn offers the opportunity to network with potential commercial clients. Pay attention to the keywords you’re using in your profile as these can help current and prospective clients find you.
When the COVID-19 outbreak began in 2020, many people turned to TikTok for entertainment. The platform saw a significant increase, an astounding 180% among 15- to 25-year-old users and its popularity continued to rise over the last three years to become the most engaging social media platform today. Although the algorithm can be difficult to navigate, it is great for companies on a shoestring budget because the content doesn’t necessarily have to be long or high-quality, just engaging. It’s important to use trending sounds or hooks to get the attention of the algorithm and potential followers. Additionally, many businesses are using TikTok to connect with younger audiences through humor, so this can be a relaxed environment for your company to have some fun (and possibly go viral).
There are over 25 million business profiles, which accounts for over 70% of businesses in the United States, on Instagram. For a small business, an Instagram account would be great to have, but shouldn’t be a priority. Instagram is a high-quality photography and video-focused platform, which may be difficult for businesses with a tighter budget to achieve. Additionally, while the platform is used by older adults, it is geared towards a younger audience with approximately 1/3 of users between 18-24 years old. If you are still interested in creating an Instagram account, it could be worthwhile as following and researching brands is the second most popular activity.
Believe it or not, users watch over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos every day. Another video-focused platform, YouTube might not make sense for your business to prioritize unless you have a library of high-quality video content. But, even if you don’t have high-quality content, your business can still have a presence and upload the video content you have. That said, your focus should be directed to other platforms that can help your business grow.
In the end, having a presence on social media, no matter which platform, is great exposure for your business. We’re living in an everchanging digital age, so it’s important to stay in-the-know with the platforms you are on and pivoting your strategy to ensure it’s following industry recommendations. You can sign up for free industry newsletters, such as ones published by great social media companies like HootSuite and Sprout Social, for helpful tips and news that can keep you updated on what is happening with these social media platforms.
No matter which direction you go in, stay consistent and don’t give up even if you feel like your audience is small. Just one or two followers could land you a lifelong customer.