For restaurateurs or other business owners, social media has become a necessary part of a thriving business presence in today’s world. Around three-quarters of American adults use social media, spending roughly 12 hours a week on average on these platforms. In addition, social media has passed search engines in directing consumers to websites. For example, millennials in particular often turn to social media for advice on where to eat.

Since the majority of the population is spending the better half of a part-time job’s worth of hours on their social media, it makes sense to use it to your advantage. The real question is how? Let’s take a look at a few important steps to earn you more loyal clients and higher revenue with social media.

Know Where Your Audience Hangs Out

The first step to identifying the right social media channel for your business is something you’re most likely already an expert at: your customer. Understanding your target audience will go a long way in developing your social media preference. Just like your signature dish, no two are exactly alike.

While it may sound ideal to have a strong social media presence across all major platforms, if you’re starting out with one or two, choose a platform where your audience spends most of their time. Essentially, you want to meet your customers where they are and draw them in.

For example, only 8 percent of those aged 65 use Instagram as opposed to the 62 percent who use Facebook. Men and women use Twitter at the same rate, but LinkedIn favors men, and Facebook and Instagram draw more women. Take a look at the demographics of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Pay close attention to age, gender, region, income, education level and more.

Although some of these statistics are close in impact, there are drastic differences between some. Having accurate, cohesive information will empower you to select and prioritize the platforms where your target audience spends their time.

Customize Your Marketing Strategy

Every social media site has a different set of strengths — so you need to play matchmaker. Instagram is the place for pictures. Twitter is great for quick and witty ads. Facebook is perfect for giveaways and contests. And LinkedIn is great for dispensing information. But, don’t forget about Pinterest: it is home to 5.7 billion food-related pins. The kind of content that you plan on sharing will dictate which platform will fit into your marketing structure.

If you plan on posting blogs that drive clients to your accounting firm, you may want to use LinkedIn. You may like Instagram and Facebook if you like to post beautiful pictures of your best dishes and customers dining on the outdoor patio. If you own a sports bar that wants to give a play-by-play commentary on major sporting events, Twitter might be your best bet.

Almost all social media platforms offer pay-per-click advertising so you can boost posts and create sponsored ads to reach more users. This is a very beneficial feature to employ in your online presence to build a following. Most social media ad campaigns start at only $5 with no limit. You can invest your capital to grow your business by way of social media posts.

Boosting Business on Social

Once you’ve identified where your audience and customers spend their time online and which platform coincides with your media of choice, it’s time to find an effective strategy — one that includes engagement, consistency and interesting content.

For now, take some time to do your research on different social media platforms. Begin to pinpoint where you’d like your online presence to begin or expand. Ask your customers which sites and ad campaigns resonate with them, and you’ll be on your way to a compelling and profitable social media presence.

To learn more once you start utilizing the right social media channel, read “How to Find Out if It’s Working.