Demystifying Social Media Platforms for Business


Published: April 20, 2020 Author: Jason Holicky - Hometown Design Studio Inc.
Demystifying Social Media Platforms for Business

Social media is quickly becoming one of the most important marketing tools for businesses because it’s been proven to be effective. Almost 95 percent of adults online between the ages of 18 to 34 are likely to follow a brand on social media and it’s time that brand was yours. It might be tempting to come out with guns blazing on every possible channel, but your money will be better spent focusing on fewer platforms with content that is highly focused.

How to know which social media platforms are best your business? Let’s take a look.

What Type of Business Are You?
In general, there are two types of businesses: those that work mainly with other businesses and those that mostly interact directly with customers. Of course, there’s always going to be a bit of both, but when looking at your marketing strategy, you should always start by thinking about your best audience and your primary customers.

When choosing social media platforms for business, both the best channel and the type of content you produce will depend on whether the bulk of your marketing will be for other companies (B2B, or business to business) or individuals (B2C, or business to consumer). If you already knew all that, pardon the interruption. We just didn’t want to lose anyone with a bunch of acronyms right out of the gate.

The Major Players
There are dozens of social media platforms in use today with more than 3 billion total users worldwide. That’s a lot, and far more than most businesses will ever have to engage with. When looking at social media platforms for business, there are a few major players and a few supporting actors to focus on and the rest can be saved for an advanced course in social media marketing.

The biggest player on the scene is Facebook, and that’s likely not a surprise to anyone. With more than 2.3 billion active users worldwide, it probably seems like everyone you know is using Facebook. There’s not much to demystify here as there’s room for everyone on this platform, including B2Bs, B2Cs, little guys, big guys, and individuals.

Industries that do particularly well on Facebook are ecommerce and retail, with financial services, entertainment, and consumer goods also performing well. The Facebook News Feed has become increasingly supportive of business posts, and Facebook ads are some of the best at reaching an incredibly specific slice of your audience.

Twitter is another powerhouse social media platform for business with more than 330 million active daily users. The fast pace of this channel means that it won’t be right for everyone, but it will be particularly useful for some. Every big B2C brand should be on Twitter, along with B2B companies of every size. Twitter also has evolved into a more informal space, which makes it the perfect place to work on your brand’s voice by directly interacting with people.

With more than 260 million active monthly users, LinkedIn has cornered the market for social media platforms that focus on business. Along with everyday job seekers looking for contacts, LinkedIn has evolved into a conversation space for business owners and workers of every kind, making it a natural fit for B2Bs of every type and size. B2Cs, on the other hand, can probably skip this one as there are not many opportunities for reaching people while they’re in consumer-mode.

What was once a small network for friends to share photos, Instagram now boasts more than one billion active users. You’ve probably heard the term “Instagram influencer” by now, and that should give you an idea of how well marketers are doing on that platform. Of course, not all of us can spend 12 hours a day posing with pretty cupcakes to get just the right angle, but B2Cs of almost every type can find a welcoming audience on Instagram. Generally speaking, if you have products for sale, especially if your target customer is under 35 years old, Instagram will pay off. Plus, there’s room for a variety of service-based B2C businesses, especially anything relating to health, beauty, food, and entertainment.

Supporting Actors
If you’re trying to reach a niche audience, you’re likely to find them in one of these supporting social media platforms for business. If you’re considering one of these channels, make sure you’ve already got a solid strategy going for one of the major players as these probably won’t have the same payoff as platforms with broader audiences.

If your products are pretty or you are in the health, beauty, fashion, and food industries, you need Pinterest. If your business supports the wedding industry in any way, you belong here. Anything that’s fitness related is also likely to do well here. More than 80 percent of Pinterest users are women, so keep that in mind when targeting your content. Pinterest is primarily useful for B2Cs; B2Bs, not so much.

Need to reach young, trendy people? They’re on Snapchat. For B2Cs in the entertainment or gaming industry, Snapchat is particularly useful. Keep in mind, however, that the most active age group for this platform includes 13 to 15-year-olds, so it’s definitely not for everyone.

This is another limited social media platform for businesses, but for the handful that it’s right for, it can be a tremendously valuable piece of your marketing strategy. With more than 330 million active users worldwide, there’s certainly enough people to reach, but they can be a finicky bunch. B2Bs and B2Cs have potential here, but it’s important to keep in mind that this is a hub of conversation--back and forth communication--so you’ll need someone who can engage in this activity as it’s no good for blasting a one-way message.

Which One is Right for You?
In case this attempt at demystifying social media has only muddied the waters for you with all these choices, let’s cut to the chase. In our experience, here are the best matchups:
  • Local B2C Companies: Facebook and Instagram.

  • Large, National B2C Companies: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

  • B2B Companies: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
One thing to keep in mind about social media platforms for business is that you must be active for it to work! If you’re interested in reaching new customers and growing your business using social media, but you don’t have time to dedicate to socializing every day, let us know. We can help keep your feeds full and followers happy so you can focus on running your business.

About the Author

Creative Director Jason co-founded Hometown Design Studio of New Lenox, IL in 2013. He spends his days guiding and consulting industrial clients and small businesses owners on their marketing strategy and projects. Jason enables everyone to be successful and grow their business by sharing his knowledge and experience.
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