Which social media platform should I use for my business in Canada?
The first step in answering this questions is to identify as many characteristics as possible from your current clients. After doing this, looking at some statistics of platform usage and topics discussed in each platform can give you a good starting point in choosing the best social media platform for your business.
The following statistic show the penetration of the different social media platforms in Canada:
Penetration of leading social networks in
Canada as of 4th Quarter 2016
Source: We are social: GlobalWebIndex, Canada Q3 and Q4 2016; 16-64 years; among internet users, Statista.com
Out of the total number of social media users in Canada (22.69MM users) YouTube and Facebook have the highest penetration rates reaching a 75% of usage within the country.
Frequency of usage is another relevant statistics to take into account to assess how many times a day you will need to be posting on each platform.
The following graph shows the frequency of usage of social media platforms by Canadians:
2016 Canadian use of social media platforms
Source: InsigthsWest.com via CanadiansInternet.com
Looking simply at this information might drive you to the conclusion that being in Facebook and YouTube is the answer, but not quite.
Facebook users use the platform for a different purpose than YouTube, or Twitter. Although some information might be replicated on two or more platforms the purpose of usage is different.
A restaurant will have a set of clients with certain attributes that are different from a company providing professional services. Restaurant clients will need to have a very visual engagement with the business. A professional services company on the other hand will look to share some of their knowledge with their audience to build trust in their professional capabilities.
Being the platform used by most and also the one showing a higher frequency of usage it’s consider a must for many businesses. The highest ranking pages within Canada for Facebook is Justin Beiber’s fan page with more than 78 Million fans. It’s not a brand, it’s a person who has a strong community of people that share the same interest on his music.
Should your business have a presence in Facebook? The answer is: it depends. In a very general form the answer to this question is: if the audience you are trying to reach is keen of being part of an online community were people share their experiences in a non-professional manner, then Facebook is a good option. If you are a B2B company then FB might not be the best option. LinkedIn is a better option for you.
A great advantage of Facebook is the Facebook Audience Insights section where you can customize the audience for your ads according to age, gender and preferences which is very useful.
Should you have a fans page or use your own profile? If you are a life coach, a writer, or a public personality then using your profile might be a good option. If you are a brick and mortar business then having a Fan page might be better for your business. Keep tuned for a future post regarding this differences.
YouTube is an awesome platform because it allows you to communicate with your audience in a multimedia way (sound and video). Even though it might be a must for some businesses (such as online learning) it’s not for every business.
YouTube is great for users, but…. it demands either significant work or budget to create videos to post on the platform. Creating a video might take days of even weeks and in some cases required the use of a video studio. It all depends on the message you are transmitting.
If you are a business writer that does consultation work and has regular training courses then posting parts of your lectures on YouTube can provide your audience with a live sample of your work.
If you are a chef, writer of a travel blog, or a do-it-yourself blogger then webcasts and webinars are a must have. If you need to post products demonstrations, short tutorials or explainer videos that substitute infographics, then YouTube is also the channel you should be considering.
Channels in YouTube with higher popularity are those that post consistent content frequently, so remember that being on this platform means you will have to create lots of video material to post.. Lots!
YouTube has become the do-it-yourself place to go. Need to learn: a new recipe, how do you change the light bulb in your car, or even learn about social media, the YouTube is THE place to go.
The first question, as with any other platform is: Are your potential customer currently using twitter? If the answer is yes, then the next step is to define your participation in the platform.
Twitter is not about spamming with product announcements, it’s about posting relevant information, on short phrases that are of interest to your audience. Do you have a new promotion this week? Are you a restaurant with different band playing every weekend and you need to inform your audience about it? If your business has quickly changing information that you need to share with your audience, Twitter might be a good option.
It is also a good platform to find out what your customers are saying about your brand or products, what they like the most or more importantly, what they dislike.
Pinterest is a platform being used by more specific industries such as: food, women’s fashion, travel, garden, DIY, health, hair and beauty. Subsequently there is also a relevant presence of brands and influencers associated to this topics. The growth of this platform has been quick, being the “fastest site in history to reach 10 million users” according to Statista.com.
78% of Canadians using Pinterest in 2016 were female. So if your business is oriented towards these topics and your client is typically female, then you should consider having a presence either of yourself or of your brand in Pinterest. Should it be you or your brand is a topic on its own.
Pinterest is a platform used for inspiration: “Pinterest inspires action,” … “Almost 2/3 of Active Pinners—and 84% of Daily Pinners—are inspired by Pinterest to try something new once a week or more often. Almost 3/4 (73%) of Active Pinners—and 89% of Daily Pinners—have bought something new they discovered on Pinterest.”
So, if you are planning on generating a call to action within these specific industries and mainly among a female audience, then Pinterest is the place to be.
Creating a Google + page for your business will allow your business to show up on google result with a map location, reviews, contact information and even photos of the place! If your business is a gym, a flower shop or a place that attracts clients to a specific locations (brick and mortar) then Google+ can give you a good hand in making it easier for your customers to get to your business or look at reviews before visiting your business
Instagram has the highest user engagement with brands compared to other platforms, yet the engagement is still low (2.2% in 2015). Instagram is a very visual platform. These are the top industries using Instagram:
Top Industries for Using Instagram
You can find sub categories among these mayor categories here in case you need to take a look at the subcategories within these mayor categories.
The fact that these are the main industries using Instagram does not mean you cannot use it for your business, but keep in mind that this is the result of a natural selection process of users among the platform.
LinkedIn is the widest professional network currently on the web. Whatever type of business you have, you should have a profile on LinkedIn. It’s a great place to do networking in a professional way.
Should your business have a LinkedIn page? If you are offering professional services such as: online marketing, accounting services, financial advising, real estate services or other professional services, then your business can benefit from having a LinkedIn page.
Deciding on a platform
Understanding the use and some basic stats of each platform should help you to identify where your business can benefit the most from having a social presence.
You might figure out that you can benefit from being in 2 or even 3 platforms, but remember you have to consider the amount of time it takes to have consistent content being posted and most importantly provide prompt responses to the engagements of your audience.
My advice would be to start up with one platform, I would strongly suggest Google+ to start up with a basic company profile and then choose one additional platform.
Once you’ve chosen the platform start posting, just to get the feel of it. As your audience grows you might need some help in generating content and responding to engagements.
If you’re business has already got presence in social media and you need help with content creation and answering engagements or simply want to start off in this world of social media check out our social media plans here. We’ll be glad to give you a hand managing your business within the social media world!