There are 6 platforms with over 1 billion users (with a B) and dozens with more than 100 million users. You CANNOT be everywhere. Some have tried. Most have failed.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the big ones. You probably post. You might tweet. You might snap. But when it comes to your business, how do you know which one is right for you?

Knock Knock, Who’s There?

The first question that you need to ask yourself is, “where are the users?” It’s not enough to know that Facebook has over 2 billion users. You need to know if THOSE users are YOUR people. This is especially true as you move down the list to more and more niche networks. If the people you want to talk to aren’t using a platform, then don’t bother. Sure, there is some value in getting there first but unless you have a very robust content strategy, you want to go where the people are.

Figuring that out can be a challenge, but here are a few tips.

First, look at your competitors. Unless you’re breaking totally new ground, you’ve got to have some competition. If they’re ALL on a particular platform then they’re probably there for a reason.

Second (and far more important), if you are an existing business, dig in and see if your customers are there. Take your Top 20% of your customers and find out if they’re on the platform you’re considering using. If you’re a brand new business, do some market research and find out if the people that you WANT to use your product or service are on that platform. There’s no point in selling iOS games on LinkedIn (generally) and you don’t go to Instagram to look for senior citizens homes (mostly). Don’t think, “if you build it, they will come.” Instead think, “are they here? Ok build it.”

Do You Like It Here?

There’s a lot to be said for enjoying a platform. You don’t have to want to spend your whole day perusing IGTV or Facebook Live but you do want to feel like you enjoy yourself when you’re using a platform. If you’re going to be keeping your social media work in house, especially if you’re going to be doing it yourself, you want to use platforms that you feel comfortable engaging on.

It’s not about KNOWING how to use the platform. You can learn that. The real question is, are you going to USE the platform. Far too many businesses use social media as a one-way transfer of information. They use it to broadcast and the results are often not very good. Brands post tone-deaf content and fail to engage with their customers and fans because they’re not REALLY there. For them, it’s a billboard on the internet.

If you don’t think that you will login and connect with people on a pretty regular business, choose a different platform. Whether or not you enjoy social media can often show pretty clearly once you get going. Why not do something you enjoy?

Do You Have The Time To Make This Right?

When you’re trying to figure out if LinkedIn or Facebook or Snapchat or Instagram or Twitter or Vero or whatever else is the new thing is worth your while, you need to think about capacity. Do you have the time that it would take to put enough effort into a platform to make it work? If you don’t, and this platform falls by the wayside, customers will consider your lack of engagement and consistency as a comment on your attention to detail in other areas.

For each platform, look at how much time you have and how much time it takes. Subtract one from the other and if you’re still in the black, that’s great. But if you’re not then you need to reconsider your strategy.

If you’re doing social media in house, especially on your own, don’t burn yourself out. Pick the platforms that make sense for your customers, that you enjoy using, and that you’ll actually engage on.