Which social media platforms should you focus on? Which can you ignore? - Kathleen Celmins
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Which social media platforms should you focus on? Which can you ignore?

Does the phrase “be everywhere” when it comes to social media platforms make you want to turn and run for the hills?

I don’t know who coined the term specifically, but the first time I heard about it was from Pat Flynn, of Smart Passive Income.

“Be everywhere?” I thought, not without panic.

The article is over eight years old, and the winds have changed, so you don’t have to “be everywhere” anymore. But at the same time, it’s more vital than ever that you’re engaging with your audience on social media. Social media platforms have an enormous influence over people’s buying habits. More and more people are using social platforms to discover new small business, so you can’t afford to miss out on a piece of the action.

In fact, instead of being everywhere (YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.), focus instead on being everywhere your customer spends time. There’s no sensible reason to waste time and resources marketing and engaging on a platform that your target market doesn’t even use. Instead of being everywhere, spend more time being in the right place. Focus your efforts where it matters the most.

Not sure where your customer spends their time? It can be a tricky one to figure out. Luckily, it’s not a case of throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks — there’s science and reasoning behind what kind of people are using what social platforms. Read through our list of the most popular channels, who’s using them and how to make the most of them.

Five social media platforms to focus on:

1. YouTube

YouTube has so much potential for marketing. With nearly 1.6 billion active monthly users there’s a huge audience. Before you dive into YouTube marketing, here are some quick facts about the demographics of users so you can see if it fits into your target market:

  • 62% of users are men
  • 80% reside outside of the United States
  • The age groups which are growing the fastest on YouTube are 35+ and 55+
  • 37% of users are aged 18-34 (source)

YouTube is a great place for marketing and engaging with your audience if you’re consistently creating great video content. Keeping your feed active is important for increasing your presence and helping you grow a following on this platform.

YouTube is the second largest search engine and with over 300 hours of video content uploaded every minute, you’ll have a fair few competitors. YouTube was bought by Google in 2006 so works in quite a similar way for search ranking. Be sure to use your keywords in the title and early on in the video description. You can also use tags to help optimize your video for YouTube’s search engine and again, be sure to put the most important keywords first and use a mixture of long-tail and common keywords.

2. Facebook

Way back in 2013, Facebook hadn’t really gotten the hang of advertising just yet. Those were the good old days before paid ads started dominating news feeds. Facebook’s search algorithm now seems to be putting organic results under the radar. Everything has to evolve over time, and Facebook certainly has. But how can you use this ever-changing platform to help grow your business?

Quick facts:

  • Over 2 billion active monthly users, over half of which are on mobile devices
  • 53% are female and 47% are male
  • 87% are aged 18-29
  • 82% of these people are in the US
  • 79% of 30-39 year-olds in the US use Facebook
  • 72% of all social media traffic comes from Facebook (source)
  • 56% of people in the 65+ age range in the US are also on Facebook (source)

With more active monthly users than any other social platform and a more varied demographic, your audience is bound to be there somewhere. All you have to do is find them. But as Facebook has changed, how can you leverage it to work in your favor?

Obviously, Facebook wants to compete with Snapchat, YouTube Live, and all the other live video platforms. In order to encourage people to use their social platform, they reward Facebook live videos over any other content type. To add to this competition between Facebook and YouTube, every video which is uploaded directly to their platform will see a “Reach bump” over a video uploaded via YouTube.

Ads are a better option for business growth on Facebook compared to their organic search. With the cost per click being low, you can almost think of Facebook ads as an alternative to Google Ads. Using targeted advertising is a great way to get in front of your audience and market your products.

3. Instagram

With so many influencers and celebrities on this platform, it can be quite intimidating. Chances are, you’re not looking to get famous — you just want to create a following and tell people about your amazing products. Instagram is a fantastic place to do this if you’re able to consistently create amazing visual content (or have someone to do this for you).

Quick facts:

  • 800 million active monthly users
  • 68% of users are female
  • 80% come from outside the US
  • 32% of all internet users are on Instagram
  • 38% of female internet users use Instagram and only 26% of male internet users
  • 17% of teens say that it’s the most important social platform (source)

Seeing as Instagram is owned by Facebook, it uses the same ad network and you’ll need a Facebook account to create ads for your Instagram account. Up until 2015, only large companies have access to ad features on the platform but now all you need to do (if you haven’t already) is switch your account from personal to a business one.

It’s vital to research and use hashtags on Instagram more than any other platform. You can use up to 30 per post which gives you a large scope, and audience, to get in front of. With 32% of all internet users on Instagram, it’s a huge platform and visual content always seems to be a winner.

4. LinkedIn

As a social platform, LinkedIn is more for B2B marketing and professional individuals, rather than teens and the younger market. If your target market is mature business folks, then dive right in! LinkedIn is full of these kinds of professionals.

Quick facts:

  • 500 million users, only half of which are active
  • 70% of LinkedIn users come from outside of the US
  • 57% of users are male and 43% are female
  • 13% of 15-34 year-olds use LinkedIn
  • 44% of users earn more than $75,000 a year (source)

There are three ways to market to your audience on LinkedIn. Sponsored content, self-service ads, and managed ad campaigns. So whatever your goals, target market or the size of your business, there’s something for everyone — not to mention that the ad rates are comparatively cheaper than other platforms.

So long as your target market is hanging out on LinkedIn, this is a platform you can’t afford to neglect. LinkedIn is not only great for marketing, it’s also a fantastic place to network and help to grow your business alongside other entrepreneurs. This platform holds so much potential for building your business, you just need to put the time in, to achieve great results.

5. Twitter

Twitter can be a funny place, but once you get the hang of it and grow a following, you’ll wonder why you ever overlooked it.

Quick facts:

  • 330 million active monthly users
  • 24% of all male internet users are on Twitter compared to 21% of all female internet users
  • 79% of Twitter accounts are outside the US
  • 37% of users are ages 18-29
  • 25% are aged 30-49 (source)

Compared to the four social platforms we’ve looked at already, Twitter has fewer active monthly users. So why am I telling you it’s so important? The demographics of Twitter users are nearly as diverse as Facebook, with a mixture of the younger and older audiences using this platform. So it stands to reason that your target audience is probably using this platform.

Twitter is one of the most active social platforms. The recommended number of daily tweets is up to 30 times a day! If this isn’t going to help you engage with and create a relationship with your audience then I don’t know what will. Not only does Twitter allow you to market and advertise, it also allows you to build on your brand’s image through 280 characters. Not a lot, I know, but it can be crazy effective.

And don’t forget Pinterest!

Pinterest is one of the more up and coming social platforms. It was only launched in 2010 but it has experienced a larger growth in users than Facebook. Pinterest users have grown by 57% while Facebook’s have only grown by 6% (source).

Quick facts:

  • 175 million active users
  • 81% of users are female
  • 40% of new sign-ups are men while women make up the other 60%
  • The average age of those on Pinterest is 40 but the majority of active users are below 40 years old
  • 60% of users are from the United States (source)

Most pinners are crafty and creative individuals who like to spend! 88% of users purchase a product that they’ve pinned and 49% purchase more than five pinned products! (source) More and more small businesses are using Pinterest to help grow their business and their following. Like Instagram, Pinterest is a visual platform. So make sure to take some amazing snaps of your products to get people pinning. Anything on Pinterest should link to a product or sales page as that’s how this audience is going to find your paid content. At the rate this social platform is growing, it’s certainly not one to be overlooked.

One to ignore: Snapchat

Released in 2011, Snapchat’s tagline is ‘The fastest way to share a moment’. This is true, but the platform targets the younger generation to help them keep in contact with their friends more than anything. Having received some pretty negative press over the years, if you want to forget about a social platform, this would be the one.

Quick facts:

  • Over 300 million active monthly users
  • 71% of users are under 34 years of age
  • 70% of users are female
  • Those under the age of 25 spend, on average, 40 minutes a day on Snapchat
  • The age range 18-24 make up 45% of Snapchat users (source)

From this, you can see that Snapchat is really only good for the reaching a younger, predominantly female audience. If this is the market you’re going for then you should dive right in. However, if your ideal customer isn’t a teenage girl then steer clear of Snapchat. You could spend all the time in the world on this social platform and reap no benefits. From my experience, while you can market and advertise on Snapchat, it’s not overly successful because that demographic are not actively looking for small businesses, let alone to make a purchase from one.


While the importance of being on social media as a small business had skyrocketed over the years, it has become less important to ‘be everywhere’ and more important to be ‘in the right place’. Do your research and find out where your target market is hanging out and meet them there. They’re not going to come to you. Find them and show them how awesome your businesses is through marketing and consistent engagement.

The top five social platforms to consider are YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. While I don’t expect you to be on ALL of these platforms, select 2-3 that house your target market and would, therefore, have the most potential clients and customers. There’s no use using all 5 platforms sparingly. By choosing a few that you know you can manage properly, you’ll create a more consistent presence and loyal following.

By no means should you forget about Pinterest. For the right business, this could have some serious benefits. It uses visual content which is always a winner and its audience is growing faster than any other platform. Not to mention that it’s users like to splash their cash on the products they’ve been pinning!

The one and only platform I would urge you to overlook is Snapchat. Unless of course, your target market is teenage girls, then you should dive right in! If these are not the people you want to be reaching, then steer clear.

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