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7 Signs You’re Using the Wrong Social Channels for your Business

Picture this: you’re at an elegant event and someone offers you a platter of canapés, each one different from the other. They all look delicious. But, would you even consider grabbing the tray and making a run for it? Thought not. So why do some businesses adopt the same slapdash approach when it comes to their social media channels? Just because it’s available, doesn’t mean it’s appropriate.

Each social platform has its unique audience, features and benefits. Selecting the wrong ones can waste your time and drain your resources.

So, how do you know if you’re using the wrong social channels for your business? Keep an eye out for these seven signs:

1. Low engagement and interaction

If you notice that your posts receive minimal likes, comments and shares, it’s a clear sign that you might be on the wrong social media platform. Low engagement can indicate that your target audience isn’t active or interested in your content on that particular channel.

Or it might be a sign that you’re not posting the right content on that channel, or using tools and techniques designed to increase engagement. (More on this later!)

2. Mismatched demographics

Your target audience should align with the demographics of the social platform you’re using. For instance, if your business primarily targets professionals, platforms like LinkedIn might be more suitable. If you’re targeting younger consumers, platforms such as Instagram and TikTok could be more effective. (See social channel snapshot below for more details.)

3. Ineffective content delivery

Some social platforms are better for certain types of content. If you’re struggling to deliver your content effectively, it might be a sign that you’re on the wrong channel. For instance, if your business focuses on visual content, a text-heavy platform such as X (formerly known as Twitter), might not be the best choice.

4. High bounce rates

High bounce rates on your website from social media traffic can be a sign that the visitors from a specific platform aren’t finding what they’re looking for. This might indicate that your content on that platform isn’t resonating with your target audience or that the platform isn’t the right fit.

5. Lack of conversions

If your social media efforts aren’t leading to conversions, it’s a strong indication that the channel isn’t driving the right type of audience or that your messaging isn’t effective. Conversions can include sign-ups, purchases or other actions that align with your business goals.

6. Limited analytics and ROI

If you’re not able to track and measure the return on investment (ROI) of your social media efforts on a particular platform, perhaps consider an alternative channel. Effective social media marketing requires data-driven decision-making, and limited analytics can hinder your ability to assess your strategy’s success.

If it’s a case of the analytics being available but you don’t have the in-house expertise to set them up correctly, consider working with a social media consultant or agency to ensure everything is talking to each other correctly. (You might find that your social activity is performing better than you realise!)

7. Competitive struggles

If your competitors are dominating a particular social platform and you’re finding it challenging to stand out, it might be a sign that you’re using the wrong channel. It could be more effective to focus on a less competitive platform where your business can shine.

So, more importantly: how can you make sure you’re on the right social channels?

  • Conduct audience research: Understand your target audience‘s demographics, preferences and online behaviour. This knowledge will help you choose the right social channels.
  • Analyse competitor strategies: Study your competitors’ social media strategies and identify where they are finding success. This can provide valuable insights into the right platforms for your business.

As mentioned, you might find that a competitor is dominating a particular platform, but this might mean they’ve given less attention to another social platform that’s equally popular with your audience. Could you swoop in there and focus your time and resources on dominating this platform, rather than try to compete with goliath when starting out?

  • Experiment and test: Don’t be afraid to try new platforms and test different content strategies. Monitor the results and adjust your approach based on what works best for your business.
  • Utilise analytics tools: Invest in social media analytics tools to track performance and measure ROI accurately. This data can guide your decisions and help you identify the most effective channels.
  • Seek professional guidance: Subject to your available budget, consider consulting with social media experts or digital marketing agencies to get personalised advice on selecting the right channels for your business.

Now that you’ve worked out the best social channels for your business, how do you encourage engagement on them?

While engagement techniques vary from platform to platform, audience to audience, industry to industry – here are some overarching crowd-pleasing approaches and tactics that can add some jet fuel to your engagement metrics:

  • Craft compelling, relatable content
  • Use eye-catching visuals
  • Ask questions and encourage responses
  • Post consistently
  • Leverage hashtags
  • Collaborate with influencers
  • Run contests and giveaways
  • Interact with comments and messages
  • Analyse data to refine your strategy

Social media experts and digital marketing agencies can also advise on the best strategies for encouraging engagement and boosting results. Again, this comes down to available budget, but it’s worth considering to ensure you’re setting up the best channels and strategies as part of your long-term business plan.

In order to have real results with social media, you have to start with building a community, then a conversation. From there, savvy social media marketers can drive referrals and leads. Many small business owners jump straight to lead generation without building a community and a conversation first.

Jodie Shaw Chief Marketing Officer at TAB

Here are some popular social media channels and their typical users:


  • Typical users: A wide-ranging user base from all age groups, making it versatile for most businesses.
  • Pros: According to Statista, Facebook – with an active user count of close to 2.9 billion – is the most important B2B and B2C platform for marketers. Excellent for building a community, sharing multimedia content and running targeted ads.
  • Cons: Organic reach has declined, and it’s increasingly pay-to-play.


  • Typical users: Primarily younger users, especially under 35, with an interest in visual content.
  • Pros: Ideal for businesses with visually appealing products or services, influencers and storytelling.
  • Cons: Competition is high and it’s essential to maintain a visually cohesive feed.

X (formerly known as Twitter)

  • Typical users: A broad demographic, but popular among professionals and those seeking real-time updates.
  • Pros: Quick engagement, customer support and a platform for industry news and trends.
  • Cons: It’s easy to get lost in the constant stream. You also need to pay for a subscription to X Premium to access app customisations and new features to have more creative power over your content.


  • Typical users: Professionals, B2B businesses, job seekers and those interested in networking.
  • Pros: Ideal for lead generation, building industry authority and connecting with other professionals.
  • Cons: LinkedIn is typically more formal and business-oriented, which may not appeal to the casual user. While LinkedIn advertising is known for its cost-effectiveness compared to other social platforms, it can still be an expensive investment (particularly for small businesses).


  • Typical users: Predominantly women, especially those looking for creative inspiration.
  • Pros: Great for businesses in fashion, home decor, DIY and recipes. Visual content shines.
  • Cons: Smaller male user base, marketing on this platform can be a slow burn.


  • Typical users: A wide range of users, particularly those looking for video content.
  • Pros: Ideal for video marketing, tutorials and storytelling. Offers a global reach.
  • Cons: Requires significant time and effort for quality video production.


  • Typical users: Younger audience, predominantly under 30, with a penchant for short, entertaining videos.
  • Pros: Opportunity for viral content, challenges and trends. Great for creative businesses.
  • Cons: Content needs to be concise and engaging and competition is fierce.


  • Typical users: Primarily younger users who enjoy ephemeral content and augmented reality filters.
  • Pros: Suitable for behind-the-scenes content, exclusive promotions and playful engagement.
  • Cons: Limited reach among older demographics.


  • Typical users: A diverse range of users, especially those seeking niche communities and discussions.
  • Pros: Perfect for businesses catering to specific interests, but requires careful engagement.
  • Cons: A risk of negative comments, strict self-promotion rules and the need for a nuanced understanding of each subreddit’s culture.


While not traditionally classified as a social media channel, many argue that WhatsApp can be considered as one due to its capacity for social interaction. It facilitates communication, sharing multimedia content, group chats and status updates. Users connect, share updates and engage with contacts. However, it places a stronger emphasis on privacy and direct communication rather than content sharing for wider public engagement.

If you find during your research phase that a large proportion of your target audience uses WhatsApp, consider ways you could harness it more effectively across your business. For example:

  • Create a verified WhatsApp Business account to send product updates, promotions and offer customer support through chats.
  • Use WhatsApp broadcast lists to send targeted messages to specific customer segments (ensure you have consent to do this – see How to comply with the WhatsApp Business Messaging and Commerce policies).
  • Share engaging multimedia content and stories via the status feature to boost brand visibility.
  • Encourage customers to reach out via WhatsApp for inquiries and support. This will foster a direct, personal connection.
  • Integrating WhatsApp with your website and other social media channels to streamline communication and enhance the customer experience.

Ask yourself: What can your business currently cope with?

Inactive social accounts will do more harm than good to your brand, as it tells your audience that your eye’s off the ball and you have nothing to say-!

Once you’ve analysed your priority channels, consider staggering each launch until you have the strategy and in-house capability in place to launch, post regularly and manage your community effectively (e.g., keeping an eye out for comments, messages, engagement opportunities, etc.). Start with your essential platform first, then expand into other relevant social channels as your business – and in-house capabilities – grow.

(Avoid biting off more than you can chew!)

Don’t forget: Your time is money

Without a well-informed roadmap, your social media marketing activities aren’t going to provide the results you want (or need). You run the risk of flying blind in the crucial early stages of your business. Select the wrong channels, publish content that misses the mark and you’re wasting everyone’s time, and your money.

While it can feel like the world of social media is your oyster, focus on the pearls – the specific channels that will deliver the best ROI. Especially in the early days of your startup – every pearl counts.

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Jenny Lambert

Jenny Lambert is a freelance writer, interiors blogger and Etsy shop owner with extensive experience working in marketing, digital and publishing roles.

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