It’s almost a certainty that every small business I consult for will ask me how to set up their accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Youtube, etc. because they “know how important it is to be on social media“.
To which I say, “All businesses should not be on each and every social platform.“
My first year out of college, I worked for a well-funded startup as part of the marketing team. We had grown a Twitter following of about 40,000 and an email list of about 50,000. The rest of our metrics were minuscule—but the company was able to get in the black (become profitable) within 3 years, while most businesses take at least 5 years.
We didn’t become profitable just because of Twitter and email, but those were the vehicles that drove the brand awareness and product information needed to do so. One of the key things we did for growth was keep our focus on the platforms that yielded the fastest results for the company, and left the others alone until it was time to expand our reach further.
When starting a business, time is valuable, and spreading your efforts thin across too many different platforms will yield jack-of-all-trades results, rather than focusing on one goal that you can see great results from.
In addition to results, social media has become a platform for fast customer service as well.
A 2013 study showed that customers have increasingly high expectations for customer service through social media. Over 50% of customers expect brands to respond to a question within an hour. Over 70% expect a response in under an hour when they have a complaint.
Without the proper time and resources to post regularly and interact with followers on multiple platforms, your accounts can become stale, and be detrimental to your brand rather than helpful due to the lack of consistency and service provided to the followers.
So, Which Social Media Platforms Should You Focus On?
That depends on your product and your target market.
For example, if your company sells vacation packages, you’ll be better off focusing on visually-dominant platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. If your company is selling B2B software, LinkedIn is probably your best bet.
In addition to tailoring your choice to platform-product compatibility, you also should consider demographics.
For example, if your product is 75% male dominated, you probably shouldn’t choose to focus on Pinterest to start out since it’s user base is about 90% female.
Choose your first couple of platforms wisely, and focus on growth there until you have the time and resources to expand. Quality over quantity.