Select the right social platform

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If you’re confused about how many social media platforms to use for your business, you’re not alone. It’s a conversation I often find myself having with marketing teams, no matter what their industry.

Does your engineering firm also need a Facebook page or should you publish useful articles on LinkedIn? Are you a product retailer wanting to drive traffic to your website? If so, Pinterest allows you to include links to your website – Instagram doesn’t. But Instagram is edgier, highly shareable and appeals to a younger, more active, demographic. So how do you choose?

Before you do anything, get clear on your objectives. Do you want to increase sales through your website? Get sign ups to your e-news? Engage your employees? Confirm that the platform has the functionality you need to achieve your goals. Each has its own quirks.

And before you choose a platform, carefully study the environment and tone to get a feel for the audience (both who they are and how they act). Each platform has it’s own unique feel and reason for being.

Broadly, Facebook builds communities around a common interest, Twitter is like a cocktail party conversation, Instagram works for attractive visuals that benefit from filters, like food, art and fashion, LinkedIn is great for building credibility in your industry and connecting with business contacts, and Pinterest is ideal for retailers and anything with strong visual appeal.

If you’re looking for inspiration on this topic you can’t go past Gary Vaynerchuck’s humorous and high-energy rant on Skillshare.com Context is Key: Social Media Strategy in a Noisy Online World. If you haven’t already seen it, it’s worth a look. He clearly explains what types of businesses should use each platform and what type of content works on each one, and he also strongly advises against trying to do them all.


To make his point, he publicly names and shames some big brands for simply churning out content for the sake of being seen, demonstrating how this can ultimately do more harm than good, especially if you’re crashing the party. He encourages businesses to understand the etiquette of the room before walking in. To be in tune with the existing audience, and above all “bring the value”.

As with anything in life, it’s often better to choose one thing and do it well, rather than do a number of things badly. It’s the same with social media. Feel confident to recommend to your business that you don’t need to be across five platforms – yet. Become a master at one first and then add in others, and only when you have a clear rationale for doing so.

Written by Andrew Mathwin.