Does Your Small Business Need to be on Every Social Media Platform?

Author: Gina Hall | May 13, 2015

Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Instagram. Pinterest. Tumblr. Vine. Snapchat? There’s a growing list of social media sites and getting your business’s message out there is becoming more than just a full-time job, it’s on the verge of requiring its own staff.

Does your business really need to be on all of these social media platforms?

The answer is a definite maybe. Which is to say, maybe not. It really depends on the value that being on any single one of those sites offers your particular business. So there some questions you need to ask before devoting any further energy into your social media campaign.

What are the real costs of this supposedly “free” site?
When you factor in the man-hours spent tweeting or facebooking or whatever, how much is that time costing your company? Do you have a dedicated social media position or does all of the social messaging come at the cost of other work duties that could be performed? In other words, how much are you really spending in time and money on your social media campaign and is it worth it?

What is Your Target Demographic?
With more than 1.3 billion active users across the globe, Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform. It’s fastest-growing user base, however, is seniors (ages 55 and up). Meanwhile, now that their parents and grandparents are on the Facebook, teens and tweens are leaving en masse for hipper sites like Snapchat, which older users struggle to understand.

Pinterest has become one of the most popular sites on the Web. Maybe you’ve heard your mother talk about it. You probably haven’t heard your father talk about it. The reason is because 4 out of 5 users on the site are female.

And if you’re interested in business-to-business relations, LinkedIn would likely make more sense than Instagram.

The point is that it is important to know who you’re trying to reach and where they’re at. And if the audience you’re seeking isn’t on a certain platform, you probably don’t need to be either.

What are Your Goals?
What is it you hope to accomplish with your social media efforts? Do you simply want to have a presence or do you want engagement with your audience? Are you trying to reach new customers? Do you want to advertise new products? Are 140 characters enough to convey your message?

Know what your desired outcome is. The more quantifiable the goal, the better. But even if you’re unable to fully tabulate the results of your social media efforts, be sure you know what it is you hope to gain by being on a platform. Maybe it is as simple as being visible to a Millennial-age demographic or maybe it is to offer special advantages to your most socially engaged customers.

The truth is that you probably don’t need to be on every social media platform. Your best bet is to articulate what your goals are, identify who you’re trying to reach and understand where they’re at, and spend as much or as little time and money as you feel is warranted in that effort.

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