Written by Dave Shrein

Choose the Best Social Networks for Business

Have you neglected social media for your business? Are you concerned it won’t be worth it? Have you wanted a simple way to choose the best social media platforms to use for your business?

You’ve probably created several social media accounts and after some initial setup and a few sporadic postings you are unconvinced what you’ve done has added any value to your business. You’re not opposed to investing more time or money into social media, but you want to be certain you’ve chosen the right platforms to use, platforms that will actually produce a return on your investment.

In this post you will discover how to choose the best social media platforms to use for your business by answering three simple questions.

Three Questions Business Owners Can Ask to Help Determine Which Social Media Platform is Best for Their Business

There are plenty of statistics that demonstrate who is using social media according to age, gender, background, and more. As of this writing, one of the more recent set of statistics to emerge is the Pew Center’s 2018 Social Media Use survey. You can read the entire survey results here, but in short – YouTube and Facebook are king.

It should be noted that results don’t come easy. To find success on any platform it’s important to have a good content strategy (what you choose to share), a good engagement strategy (how you choose to interact on the platform as a whole), and a consistent presence (regularly providing good content and regularly interacting with others).

By answering the following three questions you will gain clarity regarding which platforms give you the best opportunity for success:

  • Do I enjoy this platform?
  • Does this platform fit within my workflow?
  • Is our audience on this platform?

Choose the Best Social Platform by Asking, “Do I Enjoy This Platform?”

If you have been trying to run social media for your own business, you know the frustration of not knowing what to say in your next post. You will open up the app, stare at the screen, and try to think of something to say.

Opening up a social media app and staring at the screen trying to think of what to say is a titanic waste of time.

As business owners, we don’t have time to waste experimenting to discover if a platform is worth our team. Whether through reading articles, listening to podcasts, heading the advice of authorities in your industry, or listening to the thoughts of someone on your team, you have developed thoughts about which social media platforms you should be active on if you want your business to succeed online.

No matter what you believe about what platforms you should use, sitting in front of a screen waiting to think of something to say is a titanic waste of time. The less you (or an employee) enjoy a platform, the more time you’ll waste trying to conjure up content to share.

The first question you must ask yourself when using social media for your business is, “Do I enjoy using this social platform?” If someone else is running your social media, the question for them is the same, “Do they enjoy using this social platform?”

If you don’t enjoy something you’ll be prone to put less time into it – rushing through your responsibility and pushing out work to satisfy a task requirement. The alternative is to embrace the task at hand and be interested in how to improve the end result. Social media success comes when you don’t just agree to use a social platform: you embrace it.

Using enjoyment and fun as a part of the “should I be on this platform” test will help you stay away from platforms that will frustrate you every time you log on. In addition, you’ll create better content over the long haul because you actually enjoy what you’re doing.

Choose the Best Social Platform by Asking, “Is Our Audience On this Platform?”

As your business succeeds you learn more and more who your audience is. You’ll see customers have common pain points, share similar business traits, and have a desire for similar solutions. There will always be outliers, people who don’t fit the normal mold of who you are best suited to help, but your main audience is who you want to target.

The better you know your audience and can describe them, the easier it will be to identify where your audience is spending its time. So, in regards to social media, you want to choose the platforms where your audience is present.

“Is my audience on that platform?”

The clearer you are on your audience the easier it will be for you to research and explore where your audience is and make a decision on what platform to spend time on.

Two Resources and One Tip for Discovering Which Social Platform Your Audience Is On

You are most likely not a market researcher and you probably don’t have a market researcher on your staff, so here are three insights to discover where your audience is at right now.

  1. The Pew social media survey mentioned earlier has data as recent as 2017-2018 that provides extensive insight into who is using which social media platform.
  2. Lots of statistics exist giving demographic breakdowns on social platform users and this article from Hubspot is their ultimate list of social media statistics. Spend some time here learning about who is using what platform.
  3. As proved through the two resources above, you can have confidence that your audience is on Facebook. Even if you’re targeting teenagers and you hear anecdotes telling of how “teenagers aren’t on Facebook” that statement is only half true. They are on Facebook, just not in the daily active numbers they are when it comes to, say, Snapchat. Facebook is a great starting point for nearly anyone looking to be more intentional about using social media for business.
Hubspot is a great resource for discovering current online marketing and social media trends, best practices and industry reports. Attribution, Rebecca Churt.

Use the data provided by HubSpot, Pew, and other research sources – but don’t make your decision solely based upon analytics, use it as one contributor to your decision. Be intentional with the platforms you choose and know exactly why you’ve chosen those platforms.

You will have plenty of opportunity to improve, adjust, and tweak your audience approach, but right now you need to get moving so you can accelerate the process of discovering your audience.

Choose the Best Social Platform by Asking, “Does This Platform Fit Within My Workflow?”

When you are building your business the last thing you need is distraction. Unfortunately that is what social media has become for most business owners, a distraction.

Larger social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are baked into many areas of your life. They are also deeply integrated into the devices and apps you use regularly. The popularity of these social platforms makes them easily accessible and because of that accessibility we can be consistent on these networks with very little effort.

Other platforms, such as Snapchat and Instagram Stories, have very few integrations and these social media platforms require you to post from within their app in real-time. Instagram itself will allow you to schedule images to automatically post, but to gain full access to all the features, you have to use the app in real-time. The pressure to create good content consistently and post becomes a major distraction and takes you out of your productivity zone – unless you have a method for integrating the platform into your workflow.

That is the third question business owners need to ask for themselves or for those who are managing their social media: “Does this platform fit within my workflow?”

One Social Platform that Destroys Productivity and Simply Doesn’t Fit In My Workflow

I desperately want to use Snapchat. I like the simplicity of the platform. I like how I can keep up with people who interest me. The problem is that everything must be done in real-time and unlike Facebook or Twitter, I cannot do a quick visual scan to decide if I want to give a particular story or Snap more attention. Either I look at the picture or I don’t. Either I watch the video or I don’t.

The time required to actively engage with other users on Snapchat is the single greatest reason that Snapchat doesn’t fit into my workflow. I can’t quickly create or consume content and doing anything in Snapchat requires me to pick up my phone and live in Snapchat.

For me, Instagram presents very similar challenges to me as Snapchat does, however, I enjoy Instagram more and thus, it becomes easier to overcome this challenge.

You Can Overcome Any Limitations of Any Social Platform with Strategy and Purpose

When you have a specific strategy for a platform, it becomes easier to pull that platform into your workflow. For instance, if you use Periscope to do a daily show then that daily show is scheduled into your calendar and it becomes a natural part of your workflow.

Another example, this time from Snapchat, is DJ Vallauri and his weekday “business prop” segment. For months, DJ would start every day on Snapchat with his “business prop”. He used the same intro and the same format every day. It’s a rhythm and it just works.

DJ Vallauri does an excellent job of highlighting how to use a real-time social platform like Snapchat in any workflow.

DJ gives us a very good example of what one aspect of a social media strategy can look like. Having a strategy like DJ’s means you know what you’re going to create and you know when you are going to create it. The third part of the strategy is that you know how it is going to impact your overall business.

An Exercise for How to Choose Which Social Platforms Are Best for Your Business

Choosing the platforms you will use for your business social media becomes much easier when you ask yourself the three questions we shared above:

  • Do I enjoy this platform?
  • Is our audience on this platform?
  • Does this platform fit within my workflow?

As helpful as the questions are, how do you handle a social platform when two answers conflict, such as, “I hate using this social platform but my audience is there.”

At Shrein Media, we have created a very simple tool that makes deciding a cinch. Grab a piece of paper and take a moment to draw out a chart that resembles the slide below:

In the left column, list every platform that you’ve attempted to use for your business (or want to consider for your business). On the top row place each question in a column:

  • Brings Joy
  • Audience is Present
  • Fits In My Workflow

Once you’ve created your table, go through and rank each platform against each question. For instance, if you’re ranking Instagram, give a 3 if you agree that it “gives you joy” or a 1 if you don’t agree.

You can see my completed table below.

You can see individual networks rise to the top when you rank them against the criteria we’ve covered in this article.

Once you’ve gone through and ranked every platform against every criteria, highlight the columns that have the highest ranking.

You will see certain networks rise to the top and it is up to you to decide which networks you’re going to use.

The highest ranking platforms are the platforms you may want to consider using regularly. While I have highlighted four platforms, perhaps you only want to use two or three. Maybe, you highlight three platforms and none of those three reflect a platform that you truly want to use. That’s fine. This is simply a tool in your tool belt. Use it if it’s helpful, disregard it if it is not.

What makes this exercise beneficial is that it provides you with a visual breakdown of the platforms that offer your business the best chance to succeed on social media based upon criteria that means something to you.

The #1 Benefit to Choosing Specific Social Media Platforms for Your Business

There are millions of articles, trainings, courses, guides and checklists that will bring you up to speed on how to use social media for business on any given platform. When you identify 1-3 platforms that you are going to focus on, you can focus on consuming material that focuses on those same platforms.

You don’t have to put pressure on your shoulders, or the shoulders of whoever is running social for you, to learn about platforms that you have said “no” to. Dedicate your time and energy only to those networks that you have identified as best for your business.

The overwhelming sensation you feel by trying to show up everywhere is not unique to you – anyone who is using social media for business shares that same feeling. Choose to rid yourself of that frustration and give your very best to only those platforms that you’ve determined will work out best for you and for your business.

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