How to choose the best social media platforms for your business

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By Hannah Fillmore Patrick
October 25, 2019
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The best way to use social media depends largely on the type of business you run. Learn how you can benefit from six different social media platforms.

The average person now has more than five social media accounts on different platforms, according to GlobalWebIndex. Businesses like to meet customers where they are, which is why nine in 10 retail brands also use more than one social media platform. Today, many small businesses grow their sales by becoming fluent in multiple social platforms.

Other small businesses and individuals have built powerful brands by using a single social media platform very effectively. FEAT, for example, became a well-known brand through its popular behind-the-scenes stories on Snapchat. If one social media platform fits your business better than others, it’s sometimes best to focus on creating content primarily for that platform.

So which are the best social media platforms for small businesses? And should your business establish a presence on multiple platforms or just focus on one? To answer these questions, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each top social media site.

Tips for choosing the appropriate social media platform

The best way for small businesses to use social media depends largely on the type of business you run. Here’s how different social media platforms elevate businesses in different ways:

Facebook

Pros:

  • Facebook has the largest user base of any social media platform. Depending on your audience and budget, this platform has the potential to be the best way for your business to reach the maximum number of people online.
  • Facebook users fall into a wide range of demographic categories, especially when it comes to age. Facebook is an especially effective way to reach internet users 25 and older, who are less likely to have accounts on other platforms such as Instagram or Snapchat.

Cons:

  • The reach of Facebook posts has been steadily declining as users spend more time on newer social media platforms.
  • The company has been mired in controversy in recent years after issues with user privacy and data security.

Facebook is the standard social network, so most small businesses will benefit from maintaining a presence on the platform. Facebook includes many features – such as business hours, links, “call now” buttons, and detailed analytics – that make it attractive to businesses.

Instagram

Pros:

  • Instagram has fewer features than Facebook, which makes it easier for small businesses to learn how to use the platform. Plus, the interface is sleek and simple.
  • Powerful visual content goes far on Instagram.
  • Instagram is becoming a particularly powerful tool for retail sales for some e-commerce segments.

Cons:

  • Businesses often struggle to measure their return on investment on Instagram, since posts can’t contain the links that help them track their click-through rates (CTRs) and conversions.

All types of small businesses can post compelling content that goes viral on Instagram, but keep in mind that the platform is primarily a visual one. If you produce video content or sell a visually appealing product, Instagram is an excellent way for your small business to reach customers.

LinkedIn

Pros:

  • LinkedIn is the ideal social media platform for companies engaged in business-to-business (B2B) sales. People use LinkedIn to network with other professionals, so small businesses can make valuable connections by engaging with users on the platform.
  • Because its users are typically professionals, LinkedIn is a good platform to make B2B sales introductions and to establish thought leadership in your industry.

Cons:

  • Because people often use LinkedIn for professional interactions rather than personal ones, businesses focused on business-to-consumer sales won’t typically see the same benefits from investing heavily in the platform.

Snapchat

Pros:

  • Many social media platforms lose their appeal as they add more features and users. Snapchat has managed to stay young and fresh. Thirty-five percent of teens say Snapchat is their primary social media platform, according to Pew Research Center, versus 10% who use Facebook and 15% who prefer Instagram.

Cons:

  • Snaps are temporary, at least for now. To maintain a presence on Snapchat, your business will need to consistently upload new content to the platform.

Snapchat is an excellent platform for businesses to engage with younger internet users, particularly if that business has a compelling brand voice or produces video content.

Twitter

Pros:

  • The majority of users on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are female, but about two-thirds of Twitter users are male. Businesses with mostly male customers might find a larger audience on Twitter than on other social media platforms.

Cons:

People often turn to Twitter to learn about current events or to put their own spin on viral hashtags, making it a particularly useful platform for small businesses in the media industry. Other businesses can use Twitter effectively by creating or participating in hashtags.

Pinterest

Pros:

Cons:

  • Pinterest restricts the number of paid posts on the platform, which leaves few paid advertising options for small local businesses.

Pinterest is an excellent way for small businesses to present their products to an engaged user base and ultimately influence household spending. Businesses in the food, home, beauty, or fashion industries are most likely to benefit from using the platform.

Protect your business against social media risks

Whether your small business maintains a presence on multiple social media platforms or focuses on growing a community on one platform, online exposure opens you up to increased risks, including:

Your business can mitigate some of these risks by adhering to best practices that include changing your social media passwords often, using a secure internet connection to log on to social websites, and preventing copyright infringement by getting permission from anyone who participated in a post. It’s also important to create guidelines for sharing content on your business account.

The right insurance policy can protect your business from social media risks. For example, cyber liability insurance offers protection against issues related to real or perceived data breaches. General liability insurance can cover legal defense fees, settlements, judgments, and other expenses related to advertising injuries - including libel and invasion of privacy.

Compare social media insurance quotes with Insureon

Start a free online application with Insureon today to compare insurance quotes from leading carriers for policies that protect your business from social media risks.

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