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Aug 20, 2019 Emma Gorton

Social Media Platforms - Choosing the Best Ones for your Business

social media platforms
With so many social media platforms available, it can be difficult knowing which ones will actually work for your business.


We all know the importance of social media but how do you go about choosing the right social media platforms for your business? These days so there are so many different networks to choose from it can be tough knowing which ones are actually going to work for your brand.

Whilst it can be tempting to try and have a presence on as many platforms as possible, it is not a good idea to spread yourself too thin and some platforms are just not going to be suitable for your business and ultimately won’t help you reach your target audience or accomplish your goals. Choosing just a few platforms and really focussing on the key features they have to offer, is a much better strategy.

Before putting together a social media plan, there are a few important things to consider including who your target audience is, the benefits of each platform and ultimately, what your main objective is.

But how do you know which social media platforms will work for you? Our handy guide is here to help.


Things to consider:

When choosing the right social media platforms for your business, there are a few important things to consider:


1. What type of business do you have and what are your goals?

One of the first things to do before putting a social media strategy together is identify what your primary business objectives are. Your goals might include:


  • Building brand awareness
  • Gaining a large follower base
  • Build good relationships with your customers
  • Generating more website traffic
  • Getting more sales


Of course, you may want to achieve all of these things and they normally go hand in hand with each other. For example, you may want to run a viral campaign in order to generate more website traffic - it’s likely that in doing so you will build brand awareness and grow your following as well as generate website traffic and then subsequently more sales.

The type of business you run will also be a deciding factor in choosing the right social media platforms for your business. A lot of brands use social media to promote their products and services through creative imagery and videos. Others use it for providing news, updates and offers whilst others rely on it more for customer support. A service-providing business is going to benefit from using a different set of social media platforms to a more creative, image-based company such as a hair salon or travel company.

Take a look at your current website visitors - if they spend most of their time looking at visuals then Pinterest and Instagram would be a good place for you to reach more potential customers. If your business is a B2B service provider, you may want to use LinkedIn for networking and recruiting and Facebook for brand awareness. Every business will have different goals.


2. Who is your target audience and where are they?

The next thing to do is identify who your audience is. Ask yourself the following questions:


  • Who is your typical customer?
  • How old are they?
  • Are they male or female?
  • What is their income and education level?
  • What are their interests?


Ask yourself as many questions that are relevant to your brand and customer as you can in order to build up a full profile of them. For some more information you can read our blog about building customer personas.

Knowing your customer and where they are on social media will make it easier to determine which platforms you should be focussing on. There’s no point being on Twitter and LinkedIn if most of your customers are on Facebook and Instagram!

It may also help to identify where your key competitors are on social media. There may be a particular brand that stands out online with a large engaged audience very similar to yours. Or perhaps there’s a social influencer who you feel would appeal to your target market. Which platforms seem to be working for these brands?


3. How much time can you spare?

Most social media platforms are free so the biggest investment you will need to make is your time. Bear in mind that it’s not just about writing a few posts - you need to factor in time for setting up each account, writing bios, ongoing posts and promotions and also engaging with your followers and replying to any messages and comments.

It is considered very bad form to post the same content across all of your platforms (this is known as cross-posting) as it can appear lazy and unoriginal. Planning your social media posts can therefore take a lot of careful thought - each platform is different and requires its own different post length, frequency, image specification etc.

You don’t necessarily need to post on each platform every day - just make sure you are posting consistently and that your posts are engaging. When it comes to social media, quality always wins over quantity, your audience will come to you if your content is informative, unique and relevant to your brand.


Different Social Media Platforms - The Benefits of Each One


Now we will get to the nitty gritty of what each platform has to offer and who it is best suited to.



social media platforms - facebook
Facebook is still one of the most popular social media platforms.


Facebook continues to be one of the most popular and powerful social media platforms. It has the largest number of users of all the social media networks and it has an even spread of male and female users. Because of its huge user base, every business can find their audience on Facebook. The downside of this is that organic posts can get lost in the noise and many businesses on Facebook turn to Facebook ads to pack more of a punch with their marketing efforts.

Facebook excels at brand awareness. Its customisation options allow you to control the look and feel of your Facebook page making it easier to put across your brand's personality. It’s a community building network so you should bear in mind that this isn’t the platform for doing the hard-sell. It’s about gathering followers and building relationships with them by being friendly and approachable. Behind-the-scenes images and videos work well - this makes your following feel more connected with your brand and will encourage them to share your content, further growing your following.

Facebook has excellent targeting options and paid advertising campaigns can be used for all kinds of objectives such as generating website traffic and running competitions. For more information you can read our blog, "Facebook Ads - 12 Reasons Why Your Business Should Be Using Them".

Facebook recently introduced “stories”, short videos which only last and can only be viewed for 24 hours once posted. Stories on Facebook are not as popular as on Instagram but that can actually be an advantage for smaller brands. According to Carolyn Mann, this " your content a better chance of being seen. You really have first-adopted advantage right now." Read more about social media stories in our blog.


Key Benefits of Facebook:


  • 71% of UK adults can be reached on this platform
  • People use it every day
  • It's perfect for building relationships with existing and potential customers
  • You can easily encourage people to share your content
  • It has good customisation options
  • Facebook stories are another way of reaching new customers
  • Facebook ads offer excellent targeting
  • Analytics allow you to track results
  • It's easy to connect an e-commerce store to your Facebook page


Main Disadvantages of Facebook:

  • Organic posts are being seen less and less
  • To really make the most of Facebook, you will need to invest in Facebook ads


Most Suited to:

  • Both B2B and B2C businesses
  • Businesses with e-commerce stores




social media platforms - twitter
Twitter is perfect for brands who are "in the moment" and constantly evolving.


Twitter is more fast-paced than most of the other social media platforms. It is more about conversation so is great for posting updates, announcements, questions for your followers and any other up-to-date information. It is used more for textual content so if your business tends to have lots of articles, quotes or information for users, this is a good platform for you. Its user base is 60% male and 40% female.

On Twitter, hashtags are used to organise conversations around words or phrases. This means that you can easily find out what hashtags are popular, or “trending” and craft your tweets around them in order to get your brand noticed by more people. One downside to Twitter is that it has a character limit of 280 (although this was recently increased from 140 characters) so sometimes it can be tricky cutting your tweets down to a more concise format.

This is more of a real-time platform, so there is subsequently a need for brands to be constantly engaging with their following and replying quickly to messages and comments. This makes it suitable for customer service and many businesses use it for this sole purpose. Maintaining a good presence on this platform can be very time consuming.

Because of its faster pace and emphasis on conversation, account set-up is a lot quicker than on platforms such as Facebook. The emphasis is more on the tweets you write rather than your profile page or brand personality.


Key Benefits of Twitter:

  • 24% of UK adults can be reached on this platform
  • It helps brands build relationships with existing and potential customers
  • It's perfect for keeping customers updated
  • It has great targeting potential with the use of hashtags
  • It's perfect for more textual content such as articles and quotes
  • Twitter insights allow you to see what hashtags are popular/trending


Main Disadvantages of Twitter:

  • It can be very time-consuming as people expect constant engagement and quick responses
  • Tweets have a character limit of 240


Most Suited to:

  • Both B2B and B2C businesses
  • Brands who are “in the moment” and constantly evolving
  • Brands looking for a customer service platform




social media platforms - instagram
Instagram has a higher engagement rate than the other social media platforms.


Instagram is becoming an increasingly popular platform and currently has around 24 million UK users with slightly more female users than male (54% female, 46% male). It is a very visual platform so is particularly suited to B2C businesses such as shops, travel agents, artists or beauty brands offering attractive products and therefore imagery that will inspire people. It is also good for businesses who are targeting a younger demographic, with the largest number of users being aged 18-34.

Like Twitter, Instagram uses hashtags to organise content allowing you to target new audiences and potential customers. Instagram is integrated with Facebook so using the two together in your social media strategy can work well.

As stated earlier, Instagram has a “stories” feature similar to that on Facebook. Instagram Stories have become very popular and brands have realised that they are a brilliant way of getting their content seen by a large audience in a more exciting and immersive way. They are great for improving engagement, website traffic and even making e-commerce sales. Read our article here about using Instagram Stories for business.

Like Facebook, Instagram allows you to easily promote products if you have an online shop. Images can be tagged and connected to your website making product promotion and generating website traffic to your online store easy.


Key Benefits of Instagram:

  • 42% of UK adults can be reached on this platform
  • It has higher engagement rate than the other social media platforms
  • It allows you to build relationships with existing and potential customers
  • It has great targeting potential with the use of hashtags
  • It has good integration with Facebook making sharing content between platforms easier
  • Instagram ads offer excellent targeting
  • Instagram Stories are growing rapidly in popularity and allow great opportunities for getting content seen by a large audience in a more exciting and immersive way.
  • There is an ability to tag products if you have an e-commerce store


Main Disadvantages of Instagram:

  • Instagram posts don't support clickable links
  • Unless you are targeting millennials, it's less likely that your audience will be on this platform


Most Suited to:

  • B2C businesses with visually appealing content
  • Brands with a younger audience




social media platforms - linkedin
LinkedIn is primarily used for recruitment, lead generation and professional networking.


If you want to make business connections and promote your business from the comfort of your own home or office, LinkedIn is the platform for you. LinkedIn is primarily used for recruitment, lead generation and professional networking. As it is a much less visual platform it is more suited to B2B businesses and those offering services rather than products.

27 million people in the UK use LinkedIn and 60% of these are male. It also has the oldest user base of the social media platforms with most of its users being aged 30-49.

Like Facebook, LinkedIn has impressive targeting options for advertising allowing you to reach people based on company, job title, skill level etc. Advertising on LinkedIn is pricier than on Facebook however, so careful consideration must be made before using its advertising capabilities.

LinkedIn is perfect for building your company's profile and establishing yourself as an expert in your field - there is an ability to give and receive testimonials and endorsements on this platform.


Key Benefits of LinkedIn:


  • 51% of UK adults can be reached through LinkedIn ads
  • It helps you to establish yourself as an expert in your field
  • It's good for generating new leads
  • It has excellent opportunities for networking
  • It has great targeting capabilities
  • It's a great way to stay up-to-date within your industry
  • It allows you to easily see people’s skills


Main Disadvantages of LinkedIn:

  • Advertising can be pricey
  • It's a lot slower paced than other social media platforms - people can take months to respond.


Most suited to:

  • B2B businesses
  • Companies looking to recruit
  • Businesses looking to network and generate leads




social media platforms - pinterest
Pinterest is one of the fastest growing and underrated social media platforms.


Pinterest is an extremely underrated social media platform but also one of the fastest growing and currently has around 250 million global users. The female user base is predominantly female but male presence on the platform is growing rapidly. According to Neil Patel, the number of male users has doubled in the last year.

Pinterest differs from the other social media networks in that it is actually a visual search engine. Content is saved by “pinning” images to a virtual board. Being a very visual platform means it is suited mostly to businesses with aesthetically appealing content although any business can benefit from this platform with the right strategy. Strong visuals are a must and infographics work really well on this platform. Although people tend to associate this platform mostly with recipes, interior design and travel photography, a surprising number of less visual businesses are on it. Read a great article here on Ways B2B Marketers Can Use Pinterest.

Pinterest can also be hugely beneficial to SEO and driving website traffic. To learn more about the benefits Pinterest can have on SEO and how to apply certain techniques read this article from the Search Engine Journal.


Key Benefits of Pinterest:

  • 250 million people across the globe use Pinterest
  • It can help drive large amounts of traffic to your website
  • Conversion rates tend to be higher than on Facebook and Twitter
  • It easily integrates with your website, Facebook and Twitter
  • Pins have a much longer life span than the average Facebook post
  • You can link images directly to your website or e-commerce product pages.
  • It has great targeting potential with the use of hashtags
  • Pinterest ads allow for greater reach and targeting
  • Analytics allow you to track results
  • It can have a significant effect on SEO


Main Disadvantages of Pinterest:

  • The Pinterest audience is still largely female at present
  • The image size requirements for Pinterest are quite different to the other platforms (tall and thin) so time is needed to create Pinterest-specific graphics
  • The scheduling and tracking options are quite limited


Most suited to:

  • B2C businesses
  • Brands with visually appealing content
  • Businesses with blogs and infographics




social media platforms - youtube
YouTube can be hugely beneficial to business for growing brand awareness.


YouTube is the UK’s second most popular social media platform and now has almost as many users as Facebook. Many businesses use YouTube for hosting longer form content and it is perfect for DIY videos, tutorials and educational content. YouTube boasts over 1 billion users but because you don’t have to have an account to view a YouTube video, reach is actually far greater.

YouTube users differ from other social media users in that they intentionally search for videos to watch as opposed to passively scrolling through news feeds.

YouTube can be hugely beneficial to business for growing brand awareness. The use of video is becoming increasingly important for business marketing and can help to create authenticity and build trust in your brand. However, it can also take a large amount of time and skill to execute effectively.

One disadvantage of YouTube for businesses is it's use of related content. This means that when users view one of your videos, your competitors, who are likely to have used the same tags as you have will get exposure through the related videos that show up on the right-hand side of the page. However, this does of course work both ways!

SEO can also be positively affected by YouTube. Videos are appearing more regularly these days in Google searches - this is because Google considers video to be just as important as text-only pages. If you are consistently posting videos to your YouTube channel with backlinks to your website, you are going to reap the benefits of people finding you on Google more often.


Key Benefits of YouTube:

  • Approximately 31 million UK adults use this platform
  • It is useful for creating longer form content
  • It helps develop trust in your brand
  • It's easy to integrate with other social media platforms
  • It gives you the ability to get your videos embedded on other websites
  • You can associate your domain name with your YouTube channel
  • It can significantly increase your SEO
  • You can target your audience with Google Adwords for video


Main Disadvantages of YouTube:

  • Because there is such a vast amount of content, videos can get lost in the noise
  • It can take a lot of time, money and skill to effectively execute a YouTube marketing campaign
  • You can lose prospects to your competition


Most suited to:

  • Both B2B and B2C businesses
  • Businesses with longer-form content to share such as how-to videos and tutorials



Choosing the right social media platforms for your business doesn't have to be difficult as long as you know exactly what your brand stands for and what your goals are. If you can find social media platforms that complement your brand and support your business goals and put a well thought-out strategy into place, you will reap the benefits of positive business growth.


How can we help?

Cambray are a digital marketing company based in Cheltenham, UK.

We have many years of experience in social media marketing. We offer support and advice to help businesses choose suitable social media platforms for their businesses and implement their social media marketing campaigns. We also provide ongoing consultancy after implementation to help businesses make the most of their social media presence.

For more information, contact us today. 


Published by Emma Gorton August 20, 2019
Emma Gorton