Get and keep customers Choosing the right social media platforms for your business

You’ve got your company or side hustle up and running. Great work! Now it's time to think about how to get and keep more customers. You’ve heard that social media is a useful and free way to do this. The only problem is that there are so many channels to choose from. So, how do you know which is the best? How do you go about choosing the right social media platforms for your business?

The answer to this is relatively simple: You go to those platforms where your customers (or potential customers) are. Each channel caters to a specific audience and posts different kinds of content. By knowing who your target audience is, you can best decide which channels they prefer and what kind of content to post. Let’s then look at the five most popular channels.

Facebook

Facebook is ‘the watercooler’ network as it’s a place, like the watercooler at work, to meet up and casually chat. Facebook is all about interacting with your audience and building customer relationships. Companies usually benefit by posting useful, engaging content and encouraging conversations in the comments section of the posts.

LinkedIn

You can think of LinkedIn as ‘the boardroom’ as it’s the place where professionals meet up. Unlike Facebook, which is more about social interaction and fun, LinkedIn is the channel to develop professional partnerships and look for jobs. It’s also a great place for smaller companies to establish business connections and position themselves as industry experts. If you start your own LinkedIn page, be sure to post industry-specific content, either your own or curated, that shows off your knowledge and competence.

Twitter

Twitter is ‘the newsroom’ channel where people go to get up-to-the-minute news. Like LinkedIn, Twitter is a platform where you can establish yourself as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source. Content on Twitter includes sharing useful, industry-related information, sending attention-grabbing tweets or retweeting experts. Twitter is also a great platform for connecting with journalists and bloggers or for companies attending industry events.

Instagram

Instagram is ‘the storefront’ of the social media channels as it focuses the most on (often promotional) photos and images. Small companies can show off their products and services with eye-catching photos and images. For instance, a florist looking to exhibit images of a beautiful bouquet of flowers or a baker wanting to display the latest batch of cupcakes would probably use Instagram.

Pinterest

Pinterest is sometimes referred to as ‘the showroom’ because it’s the place where people find things, like recipes and home decorating ideas, that help them organize and develop aspects of their life. It’s the main channel for gathering ideas on projects and events. People who run clothing, food or craft-based companies usually drift toward Pinterest. Like Instagram, it is an image-based platform where you can show off your products and services. ‘Gimmicky’ things like contests and competitions often work well on Pinterest.

Though each social media channel is unique, they are alike in that each of them is a great place to engage customers with high-quality content. They also allow customers to share something of interest.

So, now that you know the differences between the channels, which do you think works best for what you are trying to achieve? If you answer ‘none of these’ then you can always try other channels like YouTube, TikTok, Reddit or some other niche platforms. There are endless possibilities on the internet. It’s just a matter of knowing what each channel offers.

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