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How to Choose Social Media Platforms for Marketing

How to choose social media platforms for marketing is one of the more complex questions we get from our clients. I used to just say, “Go where your audience is.” But my answer has become more nuanced than that.


Naturally, you want to be your audience is, but you also need to take into consideration the potential cost of getting in front of them. Can you be found organically, or do you need to advertise? How much time do you need to spend on the site to get some traction? 


Next, you need to think about future customers. You might already have a solid following of Gen Xers and Millennials on one network, but if you want to reach Gen Z, you might need to branch out to a new network.


Social media marketing is a big investment of time, energy, resources and money. You need to spend those wisely to see a ROI.

Hence, this guide. It’s been a while since I published a rundown of social media networks and how to best use them, so …


How to choose social media platforms for marketing



Best for: B2C companies (especially local ones) with deep advertising budgets


Don’t bother using Facebook unless you are willing to pay for ads. In 2021, the average cost per action (CPA) for Facebook ads was $18.68. Facebook’s users are “old” – Gen X and Boomers – so keep that in mind.


B2C companies that want to reach a local audience do particularly well on Facebook. Get in front of the locals with an ad, invite them to like your page, and then hyper-target followers with ads for specials, sales and upcoming events. 




Best for: Journalists, news junkies and PR and marketing people


Only around 23% of US adults use Twitter. They skew young, live in urban areas, have college degrees and fat incomes and go to Twitter for news.


Twitter has long been the best channel for joining conversations, sharing and learning. It won’t drive sales, but if you are active on it, it will greatly expand your reach and help you build thought leadership. 




Best for: Influencers, wanna-be influencers and consumer brands


Instagram users want to be inspired and entertained. Yes, some B2B companies (mostly huge ones) do well here, but it’s still a B2C channel. Video dominates thanks to both reels and the fact that people LOVE video (see YouTube below).


And here’s the cool thing about Instagram: If someone follows you, your posts will show up organically in their feeds! Imagine that?




Best for: B2B companies and professionals with (or building) personal brands


LinkedIn is also a great channel for building thought leadership, and in fact it’s the only channel I use for social media marketing. My audience is there, and they are active on it.


Publish thought leadership articles and share resources, but most importantly: respond to comments and comment on other people’s posts. This allows you to build real relationships that will pay dividends.




Best for: Everyone 


I’m not being facetious when I say YouTube is best for every company. According to Wyzowl, the amount of online video people watch has almost doubled since 2018.


Will you become a famous YouTuber with millions of followers? No. Sure, some people might find you on YouTube, but think of it as a hosting site for your videos.


Video can help you meet just about any marketing goal: raise awareness, generate leads, increase engagement, drive sales. And videos you create and load onto YouTube can be used in email, on your website and in digital presentations/sales decks.




Best for: B2C makers


Pinterest users want to discover new products and ideas, and they love to shop. According to Hootsuite, almost 9 in 10 people use Pinterest for purchase inspiration, and 98% of people polled by the company say they try new things based on what they find.


And they buy! 90% of weekly Pinners make purchase decisions on Pinterest and 50% have made a purchase after seeing a promoted pin. 




Best for: Companies that like to experiment


TikTok is definitely a young person’s app – the majority of users aren’t even old enough to rent a car – but don’t count it out. Users want to be entertained with video (especially if that video includes dance). Kinda sounds like Instagram, doesn’t it?


The key to getting found on TikTok is hashtags. Both B2B and B2C companies can use it; just remember to have fun with it. And don’t forget that older Gen Zers who use the app are tomorrow’s decision makers.




Best for: Companies that want to break through the noise


Snapchat might be a sleeper marketing tool. Here’s why: users want raw, authentic, behind-the-scenes content. And, it isn’t run by an algorithm that hides posts.


All you have to do is take a photo, add stickers, text and/or filters and send it. The majority of users are teens, but older Gen Z and younger Millennials use it, too. Again, they’re the decision makers of today and tomorrow!


Oh, and remember Clubhouse?


No one uses it anymore. 


If social media marketing is on your “must do better this year” list, may I suggest our Small Business Guide to Social Media Marketing? It will help you hone your strategy using eight basic steps – all of which are broken down into “doable” chunks. You can find it here


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