Where Should You Spend Your Time on Social Media? 5 Tips to Maximize Your Reach

Written by Laura Roeder

On February 22, 2017

By now, you may have discovered there are tons of articles about how often you should post your social media updates, or even the ideal times to post.

(Both are super useful things if you’re planning a social media automation queue.)

But there’s not a lot about where you should post. Expert blogs and articles are almost entirely focused on tactics for posting to each of the “Top 5” platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram – which is still cool and useful!  

In other words: There’s not much about which social media platforms actually matter.

In even more other words: Is it more worthwhile to dive into the trendy new social media destinations instead of the overcrowded bigger players?

The answers we discovered are astonishingly consistent. (SPOILER ALERT #1: We’re about to talk a lot about Facebook.)

Go where the people are

This can seem a little counterintuitive.

After all, it’s easier to get people’s attention in your own cornfield/backyard baseball diamond than in a Major League Baseball stadium, right?

“If you build it, they will come,” isn’t a terrible strategy. But if there are only a dozen people in your backyard, it’s probably not going to do you much good.

Statistically, it’s way better to get your message on the Jumbotron – and get people to notice it.

Consider this fact of 21st century life: Nearly 80% of internet users in America are on Facebook. That’s eight out of 10 of us!

Getting noticed on social media is a numbers game, and other social media platforms really do pale in comparison to Facebook. The rest of the Top 5 break out like this:

Facebook remains the most popular social media platform

Tactics like optimized paid ads (which are becoming increasingly relevant for small businesses and startups on Facebook) and social media automation through specialized social media tools are a couple of ways to boost your signal, and give your marketing efforts more time to circulate and percolate.

But if we’re being serious about time-saving and optimizing your content, you’ve got to be strategic up front.

That means not just going where your fans hang out, but going where they’re doing things – like talking, sharing, and searching. To that end:

Go where your fans are most engaged

No, we’re not talking about where people go to make romantic gestures.

We’re talking about SPOILER ALERT #2: Facebook absolutely slays social media engagement.

Forrester Facebook research

Facebook and its 1-2-3 platform punch (Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram – which they own) pack a wallop when it comes to total engagement: 75% of Facebook users use Facebook on a daily basis.

So, there’s a good chance that your audience is not only on Facebook, but is SUPER engaged on Facebook meaning, Facebook has a lot of active users who continually post and follow up on the things they post about on Facebook.

That’s a mountain of opportunity.

Long Cat makes the point Mt. Everest couldn’t

It sounds so simple: Find your target market and engage with them where they’re most engaged.

So how do you find where your audience is doing things like talking, interacting, and searching?

We’ve got some tips on how to find your audience on Facebook, and Social Media Examiner put together a fantastic guide on how to research and locate your audience.

(You can also find basic social media demographics in the report by Pew Research that we’ve referenced in this post.)

But maybe your fans aren’t on Facebook. Or, at least, maybe they’re not engaged on Facebook.

You probably do this all the time and don’t even think about it – you follow a brand or an influencer across a bunch of platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Snap), but only interact with them on one.

So, say you’ve got a dedicated audience on a niche or emerging social media platform. What now?

Not sure if we love the Snap Spectacles or his Christmas sweater more…

Slow your roll

Blindly chasing the newest and hottest platforms is a recipe for distraction – exposing you to an unproven learning curve with a lot of unknowns.

That doesn’t mean that you won’t benefit from being among the first on a hot new platform! (After all, we were beaten to claiming @Edgar by a lot of years – we didn’t exactly exist back then, though, so it’s okay.)

But sometimes the people who pioneer a good idea are usurped by the people who take that good idea and make it GREAT. Sometimes even an unstoppable force can come up against an immovable object.

It’s a fact that 90% of startups fail – and some of those startups are social networking platforms. So many social media sites that used to have a first-class ticket on the Hype Train are now back in steerage somewhere:

social media first movers

The Hype Train’s seen better days…

While early adoption has its advantages, in practice it carries big risks – and it can take a while for audiences, UX, and power users to settle out.

As an example: Snap is popular, and they’re doing cool experimental stuff (like those awesome Spectacles) – and it’s working for them. Their IPO is being compared a lot to Twitter’s.

But Twitter’s a proven business – it’s got longevity and strong user engagement, which are metrics that matter a lot when planning out a social media strategy.

Again, if you want to take a chance at a hot new platform, go for it! Just don’t go all-in on one. Mix it up with the Top 5 to max your reach.

Go where live video is

Streaming video isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s becoming a hot commodity across the major social media platforms, with Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Twitter, and Snapchat (naturally) all banking the continuing upward trend.

Internet video will account for 79% of global Internet traffic by 2020, which is somehow less than three years away, OMG.

That’s an audience that some might call “undeniable.”

A smart and safe bet is to be on the platform with the biggest investment in the space. (SPOILER ALERT #3: That’d be Facebook.)

(Side note: You can check out our full comparison of how live video works on different social networks right here.)

Conclusion? Focus on the “Top 5”

So, other than knowing what you already know – that Facebook is still staggeringly popular – among the key takeaways here is to put yourself in the position of your audience: Go where they like to go, come back often, and don’t be afraid to engage with them!

Everyone likes to build rapport and relationships with the people and brands who are active on the social media sites they’re most active on, too.

Spreading yourself too thin is a line entrepreneurs walk every day. Want to make more meaningful connections? Give yourself more opportunities by going where the people are!

Where on social media do you get the most engagement from your fans?

Have you discovered new audiences on new platforms?

Or do you stick with the tried and true?

Let us know in the comments below!

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