You know your business should be on social media, but how do you choose the right social media channels? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr, Vine, Flickr, Whatsapp, Periscope, Foursquare… the list goes on and on.

Relax – you don’t need to master them all. In fact, trying to be on every platform you hear about is probably not a very effective way to grow your business. While most major social media platforms are free to join, each takes time and effort to build a following and make an impact. So use your time wisely and focus on the social media channels that will give you the most efficient return on investment. It’s better to be really good at one or two social media platforms, than mediocre (or bad) at six.

How do you know which social media platform is right for your business?

Using Facebook on a laptop

For starters, that old phrase, “Location, location, location!” rings true online too. Just as a business that relies on walk-in customers would want to be in a busy location, your business should be where the majority of your customers are when it comes to social media. For the most part, this means Facebook. With over 1.71 billion monthly active users, it’s by far the biggest. So before you search for success on any other platform, you should probably try Facebook first.

However, the type of business you’re in and the target demographics of your customers should be taken into account when deciding where to get social. Further, different platforms require different amounts of work and types of content to be successful, so you should also consider your available time and resources.

For example, Instagram might make a lot of sense for a bakery, where they can easily post several photos daily of delicious desserts. But Instagram probably doesn’t make much sense for a heating and air conditioning company. To be fair, there are exceptions and some not-so-glamorous companies have been able to achieve success on Instagram (with a lot of work). But for the most part, since Instagram is a visual platform, it’s probably best for visually-focused businesses.

And every social media platform is different: The largely female user base on Pinterest might be a very successful way for a women’s fashion brand to reach potential customers by pinning photos of new arrivals and accessories. Meanwhile, a corporate law firm might see great engagement by posting content and news on LinkedIn, a social media channel that is more focused on professionals and businesses.

Because every social media channel is different, and every business is different, there really is no solution that works for everyone. You need to evaluate each platform and choose the channels that best fit your business.

Learn more about what makes each social media platform unique: Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the most popular social media channels today, from Futurpreneur Canada.

Clear Image can help you navigate the overwhelming number of social media channels available for your business to help you reach more customers and build your brand. We offer social media management and social media marketing services as well as content generation, photography, video production and more, to effectively and efficiently grow your business.