How to choose which social media channels you should be on

Social media can be a double-edged sword at times can’t it? On the one hand it’s a brilliant way to connect with your audience, share your story, show your understanding of their needs and ultimately sell. On the other, if not used correctly, social media can be a complete time drain and leave you at best feeling overwhelmed and unsettled, or at worst, like giving up completely.

So how can you make sure you’re being seen in all the right places without feeling like social media is taking over your life? Here are my top tips.

Firstly, accept that you can’t be everywhere (at least until your small business is a few years old) and that you don’t need to be in order to be successful. My first business Step It Up Dance has turned over well in excess of six figures for the past six years – and we concentrate all of our social media efforts on just two channels, facebook and instagram.

The next step is to figure out where your audience is hanging out online. Are they on facebook, and if so, are they engaging with pages or inside groups? Do they prefer twitter or is instagram their jam? You need to work out where your audience is and invest your efforts there. Fish where the fish are.

Having said that, there’s absolutely no point developing a strategy that you’re unlikely to follow consistently. For example, if your audience are spending time on LinkedIn, but you really dislike that platform and know that you definitely won’t be able to stick to a content schedule on there, then don’t include LinkedIn in your plans.

Find out where the next most popular platform for your audience is and invest your energy there. Your strategy needs to include both your audience’s and your own preferences. There’s no point in forcing yourself to spend time somewhere that you know you won’t be able to be consistent. Marketing is a long game and you need to be able to sustain your efforts if you want results.

Spend some time trying out the different platforms and discovering which ones you enjoy the most. Sounds simple and it is, what we enjoy doing, we do more of. I love instagram, but know that the majority of my audience is on facebook. So I invest time in both. More specifically, I know that the majority of my audience feels most comfortable inside my free facebook community, so that’s where I spend time hanging out and engaging with them too. I still post regularly on instagram because I have a slightly different audience on there that I want to grow and because that’s where I find it easiest to sustain my efforts.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been testing, learning, monitoring and developing my social media strategy and scheduling methods for this, my second business. This means that I’m now at the stage where I feel ready to add in another channel. For me, this is LinkedIn. For you it might be a different one, but what’s important is the fact that I’ve done the work mentioned above BEFORE adding anything else in. Without putting in this work first, the potential to waste time, energy (and money if you’re outsourcing) is huge.

If you feel worried about not being visible on every platform, there are some simple fixes. Make sure your profile is up to date on the key platforms where people might search for you. For example, you might not want to include facebook in your social media strategy for now and that’s absolutely fine. All you need to do is to make sure your contact details are up to date then direct people to the platform that you ARE using the most, for example instagram. People often use facebook as a search tool, to find your address, opening hours, or whether you’re still in business. So make sure your profile includes all of this information, but be upfront and let them know you spend most of your time elsewhere and include links so that they can find you there easily.

Ultimately, you need a social strategy that will both suit you and serve you. Once you’ve nailed that, you’ll start seeing results.

This is just a quick introduction into how to choose the social media channels that will work for you and your business. If you want to find out more and discover how to use social media to grow your small business specifically, I’m running a series of in-person and online workshops during the first quarter of 2020. Sign up here to join the waiting list and you’ll be able to book in as soon as I open up the dates.