PSA: Social Media and You

We need to talk about something very important and serious. We need to talk about getting your business on social media platforms.

gritty black-and-white background. Text reads psa social media and you

It’s almost a requirement for any business to have some kind of social media presence. I hedge this statement with “almost” because there are certainly a few odd businesses out there that are doing fine without. For most of us, however, it’s a requirement.

Social media platforms aren’t just for people to dick around online while they wait for their day to end. They have value. It’s how people talk to one another. It’s also how people talk to businesses. If they have questions about a product, they can tweet to a business’ twitter account and (ideally) get a response more quickly. Communicating through social media is often faster than searching for the right phone number or driving to the business’ store.

The instant gratification is a major part of the appeal.

How and when we use social media has evolved from its early days. It’s now a viable way to create organic traffic to websites, to find leads, and to build brand authority. In fact, there are content marketers who specialize in social media.

Social Media Statistics

To understand the value of social media, look at the numbers. Around 3.2 billion people use social media on a daily basis. That’s roughly 42% of the world’s population.

bar chart depicting number of social media users. Facebook has the most and declines in this order: youtube, whatsapp, facebook messenger, wechat, instagram.

Facebook is king. In the United States alone, roughly 2 in 3 adults use Facebook.

69% of adults use at least one social media platform.

40% of digital users use social networks to research a brand or product.

Let’s reframe this. If your business is based in a town with 40,000 people, around 28,000 are on at least one platform. 28,000 potential new customers.

But which social media platform should you choose?

Which social media platform should a business use?

To answer this question, businesses need to develop a good understanding of their customers. Who are they? Parents? Young adults? Seniors? What income levels? Etc.

And where/how do they use the Internet? Certain demographic groups tend to favor one platform while others will use a different one.

While you should have, at minimum, a presence on all platforms, it makes sense to focus on one if a majority of your existing and potential audience favor it over the others.

Instagram

  • Roughly half of US Instagram users (a little over 100 million people) are between 18 and 34 years old.
  • 72% of teens are on Instagram.

If your target audience is teenagers, perhaps Instagram is the right platform for your business.

Facebook

  • Of 167 million American users, 41% are seniors.
  • 68% of adults use Facebook daily
  • 76% of mobile Facebook users are Android owners compared to 14% for Apple

If you make, for example, an Android-platform app, Facebook would be a good platform to create a social media campaign.


To reiterate, it’s important to understand your target market so that you know how and where to share awesome content and advertise, but also where to interact with your customers. Engagement is an important factor in creating brand authority and presence.

Tip: All businesses should create a persona or two to help them understand their target customers and to help them stay on point with the brand voice/style.

However, there is a better question to ask:

How should a business use each platform?

It’s not enough to understand your target audience. You also need to understand how to use each of these platforms. One mistake some new businesses make is tweet links to their blog articles all day long and do nothing more on Twitter. That’s not sufficient. Businesses also need to engage.

They need to engage in a specific way with their users.

Note: You should of course adjust these recommendations to make it work for your business. There’s no one-size-fits-all tactic.

Facebook

Facebook isn’t just for sharing family news and selfies. It’s an excellent platform for sharing information about your company and its products or services. Businesses can advertise itself by posting links to products or blog articles. However, in contrast with Twitter, you cannot post the same link over and over. When visitors view your Facebook business page, it should not look like an infomercial on crack.

All content should be unique and tailored.

Twitter

40% of Twitter’s 330 million users are on the platform daily. It’s an excellent platform for reaching B2C and B2B audiences as well as the general public.

This platform is more suitable to sharing a piece of content on a repeated basis. Because tweets are shared chronologically in an almost real-time format, a twitter follower who logs in the evenings might not see your tweet from earlier in the day. For this reason, it’s acceptable to tweet the same link to a blog article four or five times a day.

While Twitter is a “noisy,” high-volume platform, there are ways to reach new people. Using hashtags is one. Hashtags are like SEO keywords. When a twitter user searches for a particular hashtag, they’ll be fed a list of all the recent tweets that have included this tag.

Chatting with a user, both publicly and in DMs, is a great way to answer their questions and demonstrate that you are listening to their problems or concerns. This form of engagement is considered high-value because it helps build your brand authority and trust.

Instagram

The core demographic group is 18-34 years old (though there are certainly older people on the platform). If your business targets that age group, this may be the platform for you.

It’s a very visual medium. Although you can post simple catalogue-style photographs of your products/services, it’s a great platform to demonstrate them in use. Or behind-the-scenes look at various products. Anything you can do visually that’s also creative will be great for this platform.

Similarly to Twitter, you can use hastags to help find your audience. When a user searches for a hashtag, that’ll be their main way to discover your Instagram channel.

The engagement value and organic traffic potential are extremely high. The more faves and comments you can rack up, the easier it is to get your brand out there to be discovered by new users. One caveat, however. Buying followers, faves, and comments may work in the short term, but it can end up harming you in the long run. Instagram has been cracking down on artificial behavior and may penalize your account.

LinkedIn

With 250 million users, both individuals and businesses, logging in every month, this is a great platform for business owners. You can build a network of fellow business owners, potential leads, and customers.

The engagement value is a little lower on this platform due to the built-in limitations, but it’s still a good platform to showcase your business and its products/services as well as to network. As of 2019, company pages are…I’ll be tactful…not well designed. But having one makes a company seem a little more legitimate, which may be valuable if you are new.


The real key to success on all of these platforms is to engage. Talk with people, rather than at them. These social media channels are a way for you to interact with your audience in a way that you can’t through emails, brochures, and websites.

This is how you build an online base of loyal, rabid fans.

Want to get started, but unsure how? Let me know what your stumbling block is.