In today’s social landscape there are more platforms than you can count. There are veteran channels like Facebook and newbies like Meerkat. With so many options, how do you know which is right for your business? You could dabble in every one, but it’s better to be a badass at some than half assed at them all. So once you’ve realized that social media is vital for your business, and believe me it is, the hardest, most stressful part is selecting the best platforms for you. Before you sign up for multiple accounts you can’t maintain, consider these 5 things.

5 things to consider when selecting a social media platform

1. How much time can you invest?

A strong social strategy is work. It takes awhile to generate content, determine a voice, photography beautiful images and most importantly, engage with your audience. We’re talking anywhere from 5 to 20 hours a week depending on your business size and current brand awareness. Once you’ve determined how much time you have to invest, you can work backwards. If you’re managing social media yourself and only have one free hour a day, put social platforms that require a great deal of creation and curation at the bottom of your list–think Youtube, Vine, blog posts and Pinterest.

2. Who is your target audience?

As the social media industry grows, audiences change a great deal. What once was cool may no longer be of interest to some users. Since young adults tend to be early adopters of social platforms, when it comes to new channels it’s important to know who you’re trying to reach. Fringe or young market are often found on Snapchat, Vine, and We Heart It. The more progressive and visually strong channels can give your clients a behind the scenes look or exclusive coverage of your business or life–allowing them to feel like they’re part of your ‘family’ and not tied to something their mom loves.

3. What type of business are you promoting?

Another thing to consider is your business model. Are you a creative or technical business? Do you offer a product or service? Are you B2B or B2C? All of these questions combined do more than look like an incredibly boring questionnaire. They slash away social networks quickly. If you’re B2B, Facebook and LinkedIn are musts. If your product will end up with customers–even if you’re not managing that part–a visual platform that highlights your brand like Instagram should be added to your strategy. If you’re just starting out and want quick growth, create and manage a Facebook page, but don’t spend a bulk of your time building it up (more on why that is here).

4. What are your creative strengths?

Wits and good writing skills can carry you far in social media. If you feel more comfortable verbalizing the benefits of your business, focus on platforms that utilize this skill. On Twitter you can be witty, share important info, interact with your customers and show true personality. Pinterest and Instagram should make the ranks if you have an eye for stunning design. It’s about embracing the platforms that you feel most authentic on. Every post shouldn’t feel like a chore, but an exciting sharable moment that will get your personal and professional brand out to those who need it most. 

5. Do you have a budget?

When social networks are first released people come running. They are free and streamlined for interaction. At some point these channels grow to a level that they want to monetize their own business, meaning you have to pay to get real attention. If you don’t have a budget, it’s best to focus on platforms that still have organic growth potential. With a small budget you can get your name out there with Facebook boosts, promoted Tweets and paid Pins. Growth can occur without paying, but it will be much more difficult on some platforms if you don’t have any other promotional methods in place. 

Combined, these 5 questions will help you determine where your business should be found online. It’s a good rule of thumb to only commit to 3 platforms. That way you can give it your all. If you’re still unsure where to start, don’t fret–FDM can help.