When my dad published a novel, “Sons of Jupiter,” by Scott Michael Brady, his publisher told him he would need to get on social media. He was already on Facebook, but his incredibly private settings made it impossible to share anything with the public. He adjusted his privacy settings and got himself real familiar with Instagram, Twitter and even Pinterest, real fast, because when it comes to marketing on social media (SMM) if you are not already in the game, you will be told it’s too late. Dad had no idea what he was doing, but continuing to just get his name and book out there made all the difference. He had no marketing experience, but it was pretty incredible what a couple photos, tweets and hashtags did for him.

Social media has changed the game of entrepreneurship and made marketing a manageable DIY project if you are dedicated to your project. The first (and arguably the most important) question you want to ask yourself is, “who is my audience?”

Who are you hoping will consume your products or services? That answer will determine which social media outlet is best for your business, and which outlet will give you the most success.

Facebook

With 1.57 billion monthly active users, your first go-to might be Facebook. Sounds great, how can you miss, right? Have you considered the demographics of Facebook users? They might not be the kind of audience you’re looking for. Let’s look deeper.

American men and women between the ages of 25 and 54 make up between 29 and 32 percent of all Facebook users. However, young adults between 18 and 24 only make up nine percent of users.

If your target audience is Americans between 25 and 54, Facebook is your best outlet – especially since 53 percent of users check their Facebook several times a day. However, if your target audience is younger than 24, you’re going to want to try out other options.

Snapchat

More than 100 million users spend 30 minutes or more checking their Snapchat everyday, and 60 percent of those users are under the age of 24. This outlet allows your audience to see any photos or videos you share with them – a marketing goldmine – all for free.

The problem with Snapchat is that it’s not much of a marketing outlet, but more of a brand-builder. Once you gain an audience, you can then gain their trust – and their loyalty – through sharing unique footage such as allowing a sneak peek at what goes on behind the scenes and sharing news and important information with them.

Instagram

Instagram has over 500 million users, and over 59 percent of those users are on everyday. This is the best outlet to tell a visual story. With simple, easy-to-use marketing tools such as hashtags and tagging, even the most novice entrepreneurs can build a strong audience.

You can share photos of events, new projects and even selfies of you and your team. Some companies will often offer free giveaways and raffles as a way to gain viewers and followers on their page.

Pinterest

Pinterest is the ideal outlet if you’re looking for a female audience. 42 percent of online women have a Pinterest account, and 62 percent of those users are between the ages of 18 and 49.

If your product or services have anything to do with health and beauty, fashion, organization, food and cooking, weddings, home decor or basically anything you can organize to make a pretty picture, Pinterest is your winner. Plus, Pinterest offers a “buy” button that allows for a quick, simple purchase of your product straight from their website.

Twitter

Second only to Facebook in users with 1.3 billion accounts, Twitter is a simple way of just talking about your business, and getting others to start talking about it. In 140 characters or less, you’re forced to keep things simple and sweet. Others can then share your tweets, gaining more and more readers. You can also attach photos, videos and gifs to your tweets to add a little flavor to your messages. It’s an ideal location to share your content and consume the content of your competidors. In fact, our our Marketing Director swears that she learned everything she knows about running her business, Work Spouse Consulting, LLC by reading articles on Twitter. So, use your voice to educate your clients as to why they can trust you with their purchasing decisions and you’ll be amazed how fast your follower count grow!

There are dozens of other social media outlets that could work for you, but while your primary focus is gaining an audience and getting people to start talking about your products and services, these five popular outlets will give you the most success. If you really take advantage of all the marketing and brand building opportunities, you’ll have success in no time.

Emily Brady received her Bachelors at Brigham Young University Idaho where she majored in Communication Sciences with an emphasis in journalism and professional management. She has written for Scroll News and Deseret Digital Media and is currently a freelance writer. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading and swinging in her hammock.