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Social Media for Small Business: Which Social Media Platforms Should You Use?

It’s no secret social media plays a significant role in every small business’ marketing strategy. This rings especially true for businesses relying on their eCommerce website to sell products. But approaching the rapidly changing world of social media can be a bit daunting. With all your social media options available to small businesses, where do you start?

Before diving into the world of social for your business, it’s critical to ask a few questions:

  • Who am I trying to reach?
  • What are my goals for social media?
  • How much time do I have to dedicate to these channels?

Start with understanding your audience

Many small businesses make the common mistake of trying to dive into all social media channels. But every social media channel serves a different purpose, and consequently has different audience demographics. Map out who your target customers are, keeping in mind their age, their buying habits, and where and how they consume information.

According to data revealed by Pew Research, Facebook remains the most popular social media channel among people aged 18 – 64, with 76% of these users actively using the app on a daily basis.  Instagram comes in second place, with 32% of the nation’s active users, and Pinterest comes in third with 31% of users.

small business social media statistics Pew Research


how often users use social media

The bottom line is, you must gain a better understanding of who you’re trying to reach before deciding upon which channels make the most sense for your business. For example, if you’re a company selling clothing to millennial women, it’s safe to say that Twitter and LinkedIn aren’t going to be your top priorities. Rather, you’re going to be creating more visual content, and need powerhouses like Pinterest and Instagram to drive traffic to your website and use Facebook to promote your sales.  

On the other hand, if you’re a company selling software to businesses, your audience is more than likely not using Instagram to make business decisions. Perhaps LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter would make the most sense for you.

Think about who you’re talking to and the types of content you’ll be creating to start narrowing down which social media channels might make sense.

Map out your goals for social media

You’ve got to know where you’re going and why to ensure you’re setting yourself up to produce the outcomes that will help your business. Define your goals for social media and map out a plan to get there.

With built-in tracking systems, and easy-to-read dashboards within the social media platforms, you’re able to clearly define, monitor, and measure your social media progress. Your goals might include:

  • Brand awareness
  • Website traffic
  • Lead generation
  • Sales
  • App downloads
  • Engagement

Think about the roles social media plays in your sales funnel and then define your goals. Your goals could be a combination of any of the above, depending on your sales funnel.

Speaking to the aforementioned example of the software company selling to businesses, your sales cycle is much lengthier than a B2C company. Therefore, your users are using social media to conduct research well before purchase, but not necessarily using them to purchase immediately. Your company will use social media channels to establish your company as the industry go-to, and provide helpful and valuable information to your target audience. You’ll even create “lead magnets” used to capture email addresses in exchange for some valuable content, like an ebook or a toolkit. Your B2B social media goals will ultimately be brand awareness, website traffic, and lead generation.

Given the target audience, and goals, you’ve now come to the conclusion that LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook make the most sense for your business.

Master your social media channels

With more than 56% of all online adults using more than one social channel, it’s clear that having a multi-channel approach is critical to the success of any business’ social media marketing efforts. But be aware that seeing social media ROI can take time, and it takes a solid brand, engaging content your users care about, and an understanding of the particular roles each social media channel plays in your business. So keep testing and trying new things. Try out different types of content, expanded target demographics, and even social media channels!


Chalease is the Marketing Manager of Iron Springs Design. A creative juggernaut with a knack for creating mind-blowing digital strategies, social media campaigns, and branding initiatives, she's helped small businesses produce powerful results and attract not just customers, but loyal fans.