There are a lot of social media platforms to choose from when marketing your small business. Here’s how to decide which ones will work best for you.

What Social Media Platforms are Right for Your Business? 1 What Social Media Platforms are Right for You

Social media is a free and effective marketing tool that can be used to promote and grow your small business. You’ve probably heard of so many different platforms—from Facebook to Snapchat—that you might wonder where to begin.

First and foremost, it is crucial to understand what each social media platform offers and how each can be used to market your business. You don’t need to create an account on every social site; in fact, trying to keep up with more than a few social accounts would probably be a waste of time. Instead, you should devote your time and resources to the one or two sites that matter most to your customers.

Here are a few pointers to help you decide which social media platforms are best for your small business:

1. Facebook

Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform. This platform is easy to use and a must-have because it is so versatile no matter what type of industry you are in. You can share pictures, videos and basic information about your business. You can also easily interact with customers, answer their questions, and provide support—all while having access to detailed analytics about your audience and their interests.

2. Twitter

Twitter is a good platform for keeping your marketing messaging short, sweet and to the point. This platform allows you to send out Tweets that can be up to 228 characters with room for gifs, photos, and polls. The format emphasizes fast, timely responses, which makes it popular for news headlines and quick chats. If you are interested in instant customer feedback, Twitter is an easy way to lead conversations.

3. LinkedIn

This platform is primarily a professional networking site. It’s great if your business is B2B focused, if you’re in the recruiting industry or another professional services field. LinkedIn is an excellent way to create connections, seek referrals from clients, and share business-oriented content.

4. Instagram

Do you enjoy taking photos of your work? Are quick videos or before-and-after images a good way to market your business? If so, you may want to explore Instagram. This popular app is a great way to establish your brand through visual content. It also gives you a chance to tap into your creative side through artistic filters and “Stories” that combine photos, videos, graphics and text.

5. Snapchat

This social app has been growing at a rapid rate among millennials who have a strong connection with their smart phones. Unlike other social media platforms, Snapchat is not desktop-based. The mobile app allows users to share photos and brief videos that disappear after a few seconds. This platform is worth considering if you target demographic is between ages 18 and 35.

6. YouTube

YouTube allows you to post and share video content. Does your business thrive on videos or ads of your products and services? If so, it is worth exploring this option. In addition to being able to show customers your products or service in action, search engines like Google tend to favor videos in search results and can assist you in getting the views you are after.

7. Google+

Think of Google+ as Google’s own alternative to Facebook. As such, Google+ will get indexed immediately and show up in Google search results. If you are looking to boost your search-engine optimization (SEO) through a popular and powerful online community, Google+ usually has the most impact alongside of Twitter and Facebook.

8. Pinterest

Pinterest is a perfect site for sharing creative, visual content. If your business is centered around fashion, food, design, travel, or anything do-it-yourself (DIY), consider Pinterest for sharing content with customers.