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How to Choose a Social Media Channel as a Small Business Owner: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating can be exhausting.

Developing something like a social post or an email for your business that receives little to no attention or traction can seem like such a waste of time, too. 😩

I know intensely how frustrating it can be to pour your energy into something you really believe is the key to success only to see it fall flat or fizzle out.

I know the regret it causes knowing you could have used that time to connect with others, work billable hours or get some much needed rest. 😴

Sometimes all it takes is a step back and forward in the right direction to make all the difference.

I love helping small business owners with their marketing strategies and tactics. Sometimes implementing small tweaks like where and HOW you spend your time can have a 100x impact on your return on that investment.

So, let’s get clarity on what channel you should be focusing on and why for your small business. It could be the missing key to an easeful, fruitful marketing system.

(Want a deeper dive into effective, comfortable strategy? Check out the Stress-Free Strategy for Women in Wellness & Beauty.)

First of All, What ARE Channels?

Channels are actually a subset of media types (see breakdown below). You probably know of Instagram vs Facebook but marketing channels can also include Billboards, ✉️ Mail, Radio Stations 📡 and Streaming services 📺.

Media types:

  • Print

  • Online

  • Out of Home

  • Television commercials

  • Radio

Media Channels:

  • Magazine, Newspapers, Mail

  • Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/LinkedI/Email Etc.

  • A-frames/Billboards/Yard Signs, etc.

  • Literal Channels, Streaming vs Tradtional

  • Lieteral Channels, Subscription vs Traditional

For simplicity’s sake, let’s dive into how to choose the most effective online channel for your business in this post.

How to Choose the Best Online Channel(s) for Your Business

Choosing the best online channel is like a relationship. It’s a marriage of sorts between your perfect audience (something you should invest some time and energy into realizing) and yourself.

1. Describe your Perfect Client or Customer

Your perfect customer or client has a specific set of qualities. Oftentimes they’re demographics such as age, sex, income bracket, life stage or level of schooling.

Sometimes your perfect clients/customers are connected by a lifestyle or belief structure.

For example, I worked with a counselor once (let’s call her Ruth) who, after taking some time to hash out her perfect client, we realized age and sex weren’t as important as their underlying beliefs and even political stance.

It was important for Ruth to work with people who were open to and believed in her modalities, so we started crafting her branding and languaging around that mindset.

Ruth was just starting out and I’m sure a few years in she’ll have realized she really does work better with men and women 25-54 rather than the large scope she initially planned on.

So, depending on where you're at in your business journey age and sex are demographics to keep note of. We can dive into target audience a bit more on another post, but this understanding is pivotal for choosing the right channel.

2. Understand WHERE Your Perfect Client/Customer Spends Their Time

With a quick Google search you can easily see that men consume the most online media GLOBALLY. However, many of these data come from populace countries like India.

In the United States, women (78%) are on social media more than men (66%). (don’t trust a google search blindly!) (Pew Research)

Social Media Users by Sex in the U.S.

Ok, Let’s quickly break down where your clients spend their time time by sex.

Social Media Channel Usage by Sex in the US

I would say age range is probably going to be the biggest differentiator for most small businesses. So, let’s break that down, too. (double click to expand view)

Social Media Channel Usage by Age Range in the U.S.

3. My Go-To Methods (Minding step #4!)

This is normally how I go about determining where we should spend our time when it comes to marketing channels for small businesses. Now, this is totally depending on the service or product you offer so take this with a grain of salt and don’t forget step #4!

​Men 18-65+

YouTube + Google Ads

​Men 20-30

YouTube + Instagram + LinkedIn (Depending on your business) + Google Ads

Women 18-35

Instagram + Email + Google Ads + Facebook Ads (if you have the budget)

Women 35+

Email + Instagram (If you want to) + Facebook Ads (If you have the budget) + Google Ads

Women & Men 18-29

Instagram* + YouTube + TikTok (if you have the desire for it)

Women & Men 30-65+

Email + Google Ads + YouTube + Facebook Ads (if you have the budget)


​Google my Business

•I’ve bolded the absolute ones for growth. A good strategy would have all of the options covered and would add a channel or two based on your service or product. (Pinterest, for example, is great for digital products or blogs but practically useless for local businesses unless it’s a paid ad.)

I say Facebook Ads instead of Facebook because that’s what I’ve found to be most effective in terms of return on investment. 💰 You may get away with finding favor in the Facebook algorithm to have a stellar strategy on that channel (I’ve seen it done!) But in my experience, organic Facebook isn’t a fruitful place for small businesses to spend their time.

4. Take Into Account What Channels You Naturally Show up on

This is key.

People can tell if you really don’t want to be on social media, let alone if you're outside of your comfort zone.

Now, there is a time and space to increase your skills in order to meet your business goals. But, if your 100x times more comfortable posting stories, articles and short videos to Facebook than YouTube, then by all means, stick to what you know (provided that it matches up with who your audience, that is).

EXAMPLE: If my perfect client is a 30-54 year old woman, 💃🏼 and I’m most comfortable using Facebook or email, then I can skip Instagram all together (no big deal!) (maybe create an account there just to have a presence) but I could spend my time creating valuable, engaging emails and the occasional offer or photo of the team on Facebook.

Final thoughts

It really is about relationship … a social interaction between you and your audience. In order to nurture that we want to:

  1. Show up where they are,

  2. Consistently offer valuable content that helps them know, like and trust us

  3. Interact with them! (be social)

I hope you have a better idea of what channels to invest your time in, moving forward.⏩

If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email or leave a comment below!

If you’re in need on a deeper dive into what it looks like to have and implement an effective, efficient marketing strategy that’s fruitful and easful, check out my Stress-Free Strategy Marketing program. Together, we go over every detail from start to finish in doing just that!

Bee Well,

Renee Wells, MBA, BA

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