There are many social networks available today that provide a platform for connecting with your customer base and target audience. Big enterprises have the advantage of large marketing teams, which means they can be on as many platforms as makes sense.

A different team member (or even team) can focus on creating content for each specific platform, ensuring it’s unique, engaging and optimized for the social network it’s being posted on. After all, there are different sizing options that work better for different social networks, and there are even different timing options that work for different platforms.

However, small to mid-sized businesses don’t always have the luxury of hiring multiple social media managers. In fact, sometimes it’s a struggle to find the budget to hire even one marketer or one agency.

So, how do you take advantage of social media if you’re strapped for time? Focus on using just one platform to the best of your ability. Instead of spreading mediocre content around to multiple platforms and not being able to truly engage the community there, just pick one network to spend all of your available energy on.

How do you decide which network to focus on? Today’s post is going to be your go-to guide for picking the right social media site for you.

brand engagement

Facebook

The beauty of Facebook is that it’s been around the longest and has the largest user base. As of March 2017, the network sees 1.28 billion daily active users per month. The demographics of Facebook range from young teenager to senior citizens and everyone in between.

A group of people from any walk of life – from interests to financial status to career choice – can be found on Facebook, making it a great platform for any company, right? Sort of.

Whether you’re B2B or B2C your audience is on Facebook because, at the end of the day, even a business buyer is a real person making him or her likely to have a Facebook account. With 1.28 billion daily active users, the Facebook crowd encompasses everyone.

Because there are so many people and brands using Facebook daily it had to develop an algorithm to decide which posts to show its users in order to surface the most relevant content for each person.

This algorithm prioritizes friend updates and makes Facebook Page updates less of a priority unless a person engages with that page a lot. According to Facebook some pages will achieve less than 2% organic (free) reach. That means of the total number of people who like your Facebook Page, you can only reach 2% of them.

In order to gain more reach you’ll need to pay Facebook to get to the 98% of the other people that Like your page. You can do that in the form of Boosted Post which is a type of ad that Facebook offers.

So, essentially if you select Facebook as your platform of choice you’ll almost certainly find your target audience. However, you’ll need to be prepared to have a daily budget to ensure that your posts are seen by your customers and target audience.

Pinterest

Pinterest launched as a destination for women to curate images of items they loved. This included home decor, fashion, makeup and other primarily shoppable options.

To date Pinterest is still seen as a visual shopping engine but it’s no longer just for women. According to the social network “More men are using Pinterest in the U.S. than read Sports Illustrated and GQ combined.”

That being said, according to a 2016 Pew Research study, 45% of women use Pinterest compared to only 17% of men. Additionally the top goods that are pinned fit into the categories of: food, home decor and clothing.

If you are an e-commerce brand or a service that can help with food, home decor or clothing it makes a lot of sense for you to make Pinterest your social network of choice.

This is especially true because Pinterest users like to shop. According to Piquora, each pin generates about $0.78 in sales. Further, a 2014 study by Javeline Strategy and Research found that the average order value from Pinterest referrals was $123.50.

Pinterest offers brands the option to boost pins with ad money, which could be helpful in particularly competitive categories, but it’s not required. If you optimize your pins correctly you should still see good organic reach.

Instagram

Instagram marketing has long been thought to be more of a branding play than a lead generation or sales pipeline. This is primarily because Instagram doesn’t allow brands to link posts back to a website.

Instead, companies must rely on the single link in the bio section of the Instagram profile to do all the heavy lifting. This is why you’ll often see Instagram captions that read, “check the link in our bio.”

The best entrepreneurs are always the ones who want to learn. Learn from the best with #foundrv1 by clicking on the link in our bio or go to foundrmag.com/book Credit to @shuttersweet

A post shared by Young Entrepreneur Magazine (@foundr) on

That’s all changing now that Instagram is becoming more brand friendly. It has begun rolling out Shoppable Posts which allow brands to tag products in their Instagram images. This isn’t yet available to all brands though, and it also doesn’t really address concerns that services or software oriented companies face.

Similar to its parent company, Facebook, Instagram allows brands to use the social network in a business friendly way if ads are purchased.

In fact, Instagram offers a robust set of Instagram ad offerings which are powered by Facebook’s ad engine.  This means you can target Instagram users based on everything from their gender, age and location to their interests, financial status and even shopping habits.

Need to reach someone who shops organic? You can do that. Want to get your ads in front of NBA fans? No problem. Want to advertise your products to runners who have a household income of over $75,000 and who own a home in Florida? Not an issue.

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company your target audience is almost certainly using Instagram. That being said, Instagram is a visual social network whose primary content consists of photos and videos. This makes the network perfectly suited for B2C companies with great looking products to photograph and sell. In fact, product photos tend to garner better engagement than lifestyle photos.

While many software or services companies may not have product photos to share, there are other options that make for compelling images, for example:

  • A white paper download graphic
  • A well designed software diagram graphic
  • A small infographic about the industry
  • Industry quotes

You won’t be able to link these type of informational products back to a real life, tangible product, but you can reach your audience on Instagram with these graphics.

Just remember, similar to Facebook, you’ll need to set aside a healthy advertising budget to drive traffic back to your site from Instagram unless you can use Shoppable Posts or the Link in Bio strategy works for you.

Getting Started

Now that you have a better understanding of three of the top social networks, it’s time to make your decision. Which social network is going to be the one that you focus on?

Don’t allow decision paralysis to set in. If you select a network that doesn’t work out you can always make the switch to a different one. And in the future hopefully you’ll be able to use them all!

brand engagement

Jonathan is the Content Crafter and Marketer for Foundr. You can often find him happily writing about anything to do with entrepreneurship and the startup scene. Or spending way too much time pretending to be the next MMA star at the gym.

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