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By now, you probably know that using social media is a must for any modern business. It’s not necessary, though, that you’re on every social media platform. In fact, it’s almost impossible since there are so many sites beyond the most famous ones.

social media platform

Most small- to medium-sized businesses only have enough resources to have a steady presence on two to three sites. Luckily, that’s all you really need as long as you choose the right ones. Here’s how to find the right social media platforms for your business:

Identify Your Target Audience

As with any marketing campaign, you first have to define your target audience or the people you hope to reach with your social use.

You should already know who your customers are. Identify characteristics a lot of your customers have in common and reach out to new people with those traits. You can also analyze your products and services, describe the benefits and list what kind of person needs or wants those things.

Outline the characteristics of the customers that most want your products or services and are also most likely to purchase them. Get as specific as you can.

If you’re B2B, you want to target other businesses. If you’re B2C, you want to reach individual consumers. For B2B companies, identify aspects of your customers and likely customers such as:

  • Industry
  • Location
  • Size
  • Revenue
  • Years in business

Those are just a few examples. Come up with as many descriptors as you can. You may also want to identify who, within an organization, would decide to purchase your product or service and target them specifically.

social media platform

B2C organizations should identify the demographics as well as the psychographics of their target audience. Demographic information you should consider when choosing a social media platform includes:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Marital status

Psychographic information is more personal, subjective information about your customers, such as:

  • Interests
  • Personality
  • Beliefs
  • Values
  • Lifestyle

Of course, feel free to ask other questions so that you can define your audience in as much detail as possible.

Once you know who you want to reach, you need to figure out what social media platforms they use. Then, set up profiles there. Look at research on usage demographics for various social media sites by different organizations. You can use these insights to inform your social media strategy.

For example, if you’re looking for people with college degrees, you’ll find a lot of them on LinkedIn. If you’re targeting users between the ages of 18 and 29, Instagram is a smart bet.

Define Your Goals

Another typical part of creating a marketing strategy that also applies to social media is defining your goals. Make sure that everyone involved has a clear understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish both in the short-term and long-term.

What need do you want your social media content to fulfill for your followers? Some common functions include:

  • Sharing information and updates about your company and industry
  • Providing entertainment and lighthearted interaction
  • Serving as a customer service portal

You should also define your marketing goals from a business strategy perspective. These objectives could include driving more traffic to your website, improving brand awareness and reaching new potential customers. These will also contribute to longer-term targets such as increasing sales and increasing customer satisfaction ratings.

If you plan mainly to share company and industry details, you might like LinkedIn since it’s geared more toward professional content. Twitter, on the other hand, is good for customer service because of how easy it is for people to get in touch with other users.

Consider Your Content

Since different platforms work for different types of content, what you plan to create and share will also impact your decision. You might be interested in blog posts and articles, videos, photos, infographics, podcasts or just short bits of text. Likely, you’ll use a combination of various kinds.

Some platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, are mainly visual. You can upload pictures or short video clips. If you want to upload longer videos, these sites won’t meet your needs. You could, however, share a snippet of something and then post the whole thing on your website or another social site.

On Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter, you can share, or at least link to, most types of content. Twitter, though, limits the amount of text you post so it won’t work for you if you mostly want to post long status updates.

social media platform

Find Your Target Audience Now

Once you decide who your target audience is, what your goals for your social strategy are and what kinds of content you’ll post, you’ll be much closer to finding the perfect social media platform for your business.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is a technology writer that focuses on the latest developments in tech that influence business practices and strategies. To stay up to date on his latest articles, check out his blog, Finding an Outlet.