Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Not to mention…Snapchat, Tumblr, and Pinterest. It seems like every day, a new must-have social media platform rolls out. For a business that’s looking into the best way to take advantage of the power of online marketing, it can be difficult to discern which platform is best for reaching your target audience.

First things first, let’s get a big one out of the way: you don’t need to, or want to, use them all. It can be tempting…but don’t do it. Think about it like this: if you wanted to get into shape, you wouldn’t take on Yoga, weight-lifting, running, pilates, lap swimming, and rock climbing all at once. Why? You wouldn’t be able to do any of these well enough at first to get the results that would make your efforts pay off.

Here’s a quick and easy guide to figuring out which social media platforms will work best for your business:

Who Do You Want to Reach?

Different platforms for different folks. Which platform you want to focus your efforts on really depends upon who you want to reach.

People of all ages use Facebook – which makes it a great platform for any demographic. That being said, according to a Pew research report, 72% of 50–64 year olds use Facebook, and 62% of 65+ year olds use Facebook. That makes Facebook an excellent platform for reaching an older audience.

If, on the other hand, you want to target a younger crowd, you may want to look at a newer platform such as Instagram or Snapchat. 59% of 18–29 year olds use Instagram, but only 18% of 50–64 year olds use Instagram (and 8% of people 65+). Meanwhile, 60% of all Snapchat users are under 25 years of age

What is Your Goal?

Different social media platforms result in different results. Why? People use the platforms for different things. Twitter is fast-paced and it’s a great place to convey quick messages to your audience, such as “All-You-Can-Eat Pizza Night Starts at 5 PM. Retweet for a chance to win a free meal.”

Instagram, however, doesn’t lend itself to sharing content as easily. What is it great for? Sharing images of your services – and photos are gold as far as online content is concerned (images account for 93% of the most engaging Facebook posts). So, if your goal is to get people commenting, liking, and following your content, Instagram would be a great place to get started.

Facebook, meanwhile, is a wonderful platform for spreading the word about events – or for engaging in more in-depth discussions with your customer base with an online group.

Bottomline?

In the time it took you to read this article, it’s likely that another social media platform has been launched. We live in an interesting time for marketing, and although it’s a bit overwhelming, it’s also extremely powerful when you learn to take advantage of your new ability to reach more people than was ever possible before.