What are the top social media platforms for small businesses
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, social media marketing remains a popular choice for digital marketing in 2021. In fact, businesses having to adapt to new economic conditions accompanied an understandable surge in social media use. Still, despite this newfound appreciation for social media, social media marketing entails challenges. Picking the right platform alone is a crucial step, one that small businesses can’t often afford to miscalculate. Thankfully, the digital age is ripe with data that can dictate the top social media platforms for small businesses.
Social media marketing in 2021
The prevalence of social media marketing is a direct product of a few overlapping, lasting trends. In brief, among many, three key factors facilitate it:
- The worldwide penetration of the internet
- The advent and popularity of mobile devices
- The exponential use of social media platforms
In 2019, Hootsuite reported notable findings on all three. Within 14 years, the internet had surged from being used by 16% of the world’s population to a staggering 57%. Hootsuite placed the number of internet users at 4.388 billion, noting that active social media users followed closely. Indeed, 3.484 billion people used social media in 2019, 3.256 of whom did so through mobile devices.
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Furthermore, all three figures are only projected to increase, providing a massive potential audience pool for marketing professionals. Finally, with technological trends driving marketing and younger generations becoming increasingly tech-savvy, such audiences also become increasingly engaged. Unlike traditional forms of marketing, social media marketing finds willing audiences that, in many cases, actively seek engagement. These conditions, most analysts agree, make social media marketing a reliable business endeavor for the foreseeable future.
Finding the perfect platform for your business: the crucial first step
However, while digital marketing remains lucrative, social media marketing remains a challenge for many businesses. Its intricacies and advanced techniques aside, the very first steps have much room for error. Typically, these steps are the following.
1. Identify your key audience
As with all business endeavors, identifying your key audience is a fundamental insight. Businesses, small and large alike, will typically create 3-5 key buyer personas based on their research and historical data. These personas will account for demographic, psychological, and behavioral factors to fine-tune marketing and the customer journey across the sales funnel.
2. Tailor content and tone to your audience
Next, businesses will employ these insights to adjust their content and messaging for maximum effectiveness. One’s industry and target audience, as well as one’s own resources and staff, will inform content creation and content marketing.
3. Engage with your audience
Finally, social media marketing offers unconventional, innovative ways to engage with one’s audience. From 2-way communication to community-building, engagement options abound. However, a frequent challenge lies in where one’s ideal audiences reside. A poor choice of platform will hamper engagement efforts, despite proper audience research and content marketing.
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The top social media platforms for small businesses
Such mistakes are frequently costly, especially for small businesses with limited resources. Thus, with your ideal audience in mind, you may carefully consider which popular platforms best suit your business.
The primary factors when deciding should likely be three:
- What is the platform’s active user base,
- Which are its key demographics, and
- How does the platform facilitate my content?
Addressing all three, let us explore the 3 top social media platforms for small businesses.
Facebook is the leading social media platform today, with roughly 2.8 billion active monthly users. It is a prime platform for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns, in no small part because of this large audience pool. In fact, Facebook boasts roughly 70% of the global social media market share.
Facebook’s demographics are relatively balanced, with 56% of its users being female and 46% male. User locations are split somewhat evenly among urban, suburban, and rural areas. The majority of its users are between the ages of 18 and 49.
Facebook is ideal for small businesses because it focuses on building communities that incite engagement. It supports visual content, such as images and videos, but it is relatively less reliant on it. Finally, its paid marketing tools offer deep insights for accurate targeting and affordable PPC ad prices.
Another top social media platform for small businesses is Twitter. While the site has a more modest user base of 330 million monthly active users, it’s a very cost-effective platform.
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Twitter’s user base is primarily male (66%) and based in the US (69.3%). It is much more popular in urban areas and much less so in rural ones. The majority of its users are between 18 and 49 years old, and 80% access Twitter through mobile devices.
Twitter’s cost-effectiveness stems from its focus on time-sensitive, bite-sized text content. Its character limit of 280 per tweet encourages creative marketing, including injecting character over conventional corporate language. A notable example of this philosophy would be Wendy’s, which continues to find tremendous success.
Finally, Pinterest can be a very lucrative platform for small businesses. It has a user base of over 335 million and offers excellent opportunities for increased exposure. Notably, increased exposure is the leading benefit of social media marketing today.
Pinterest’s user base is primarily female (71%), with a median user age of 40. However, most active “pinners” are under 40, which should be noted. It has a balanced split between urban, suburban, and rural areas, and most users access it on mobile devices.
Pinterest is very visual-based, favoring vivid, enticing visual content. Pinned images and videos are collected on boards for users to interact with, which marketers can build on. This content discovery is increasingly akin to a visual search engine rather than a traditional social network. Small businesses will often find this favorable, as their search engine optimization (SEO) strategies largely apply to Pinterest as well.
To summarize, the choice of social media platforms for small businesses is multi-faceted. On the platform’s side, it hinges on user base sizes, demographics, and potential costs. Moreover, how platforms facilitate different types of content and where their focus lies is also crucial. Thus, small businesses will need to consider their budget, their industry’s style and tone, and where their key audiences reside. Still, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest should be excellent choices to consider first.
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Nick Djurovic (Author)
My success in the field is an uncanny product of having a Bachelor with Honors in Mechanical Engineering, Psychology, and Psychotherapy. With all these skills under my belt, I turned my focus to understanding and mastering Programming & Developing, as well as improving other processes. In 2019 I co-founded digitaldot.us, a digital marketing agency based in New York. I adore WordPress and I’m dedicated to a loving relationship with search engines and social networks.
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