When it comes to social, sometimes less is more.

I cringe every time I hear marketers tell their customers or clients about all of the places that they “need to be” on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Tumblr, Periscope…I watch the eyes widen and glass over.  This is an intimidating list for most small business owners.social media, small business social, social media rules

Starting out with my own marketing consulting business, I often hear the people I meet with rattle off the places they think they need to be with concerned expressions – like they are missing out on a huge business channel by not having a presence in some of these spaces. But, in reality, not every customer or buyer persona is on most of the social networks that are out there. Small businesses likely cannot and should not invest in long-term committed strategies for many of these platforms. It is overkill, plain and simple. And it won’t move the needle.

For me, at most, a small business with limited resources should focus on 2 social media channels maximum. Unless you have an employee (who isn’t going anywhere) who is a social media whiz, or the budget to hire a dream team of folks to manage your planning and posting, there is no need to stretch yourself any thinner.

Think about what it takes to be a successful social media content provider. It takes carefully curated content posted in a timely manner on a consistent basis. You need to build real relationships with thoughtful posts, information, resources, contests and news.

How do you decide which two are right for you? It is as simple as thinking about your target audience or customer. For most of the businesses I work with Facebook is an absolute no-brainer, and then it is either instagram or a blog. In some cases it is Twitter and facebook. You can think about choosing social media platforms in the same way you think about choosing where you advertise. Where are your potential customers spending their time online?

Here are some helpful insights:

Facebook – You should do it. With over 1.4 billion active users, you can bet it is worth your time.

Instagram – You should do it if: your customer is under 30, and you love taking pictures on your phone to document the daily ins and outs of your business.

Pinterest – You should do it if: you have a primarily female audience, and you sell beautiful, fashionable or delicious things.

Twitter – You should do it if: your customer is under 40 and you are very involved in your community and you have a smartphone addiction. Twitter is a conversation and it is a big commitment to do well.

I could go on but Sprout Social has a great breakdown of demographics and information about all of the social media platforms here.

At the end of the day, any social media efforts that you do should be part of your overall business strategy and your marketing plan. We can agree that when done well, a social media presence for a business can take brand awareness and customer engagement to the next level and turn into a force when it comes to pleasing current customers and discovering new ones. However, if you can’t commit the time to consistently use social media as a tool for your business, don’t beat yourself up for holding off until the timing is right.


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