How to Decide What Social Network is Best for your Business

December 23, 2015

A guide to help you choose the social networks that best fit your business goals

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What’s This?

You may have heard that your brand or business needs to be active on all forms of social media but the list is exhaustive and growing all the time. Let’s face it. If you are a small to medium business, a free lancer, or just are on a tight budget…this is just not going to happen. The question then arises: How can you tell which social media platforms would work best for your type of business?

Certain platforms naturally lend themselves to a specific business niche, and once you understand the utility of the platforms themselves you will have a better bet at picking the right one to help promote your brand. One of the initial steps in choosing a social media platform best suited for you is to match up your brand’s demographics with the demographics of a given platform.



Facebook

According to Digital Insights, Facebook comes way ahead when it comes to user-base size:

Facebook: 1.28 billion
Google+: 540 million
Twitter: 255 million
Instagram: 200 million
LinkedIn: 187 million
Pinterest: 40 million

With over 70% of the adult population of the U.S. on Facebook and billions of pageviews per month, demographics is not a major consideration on this platform. It would be hard to justify NOT having a Facebook account for your business or brand, because Facebook not only has the most users, it is the most frequently used social media platform.




Evenly-distributed demographics and a first-rate advertising targeting model make this social media platform a no-brainer for nearly all business types. Add since this highly-targeted audience booster is actually quite reasonable from an ad cost perspective, you’ve got a winner when you’re looking to improve overall SEO and awareness of your brand.




Creating a fan page or a brand page on Facebook is important for nearly every type of business –unless you’re specifically targeting teens and very young adults, who have been ditching Facebook in record numbers ever since their parents started using it! When posting on Facebook, be sure to include a visual element to help boost audience engagement by 120%, and try posting daily, but especially on Thursday or Friday, which are well-known to be the best days for organic reach.

One note, Facebook is probably the most challenging networks to get organic reach in, so while we recommend that you be active on the network, make sure that the content you publish is superb.

Google+

Google+ comes in second place when it comes to user-base size. But with the exception of LinkedIn, Google+ is the most business friendly social media platform, and Google reigns supreme when it comes to search engine optimization. As a result, Google+ will enhance your search engine results, which is why you should include Google+ in your selection.

Twitter

While Twitter usage has declined in recent years, teens and young adults especially are picking up the platform again. Brands that do best on Twitter have breaking news or special offers that can engage people quickly. Twitter is a good choice for businesses concerned with time sensitive news reports and insights. This platform’s effectiveness is contingent on timely two-way communication with followers.

Flash sales, contests and special offers with a short end-date are especially effective, showing that social media for business doesn’t have to be in-depth and include a full-blown editorial calendar. Just like with Facebook, images and short Vine-like videos can drive extraordinary engagement on Twitter, with nearly a 90% increase in favorites and a 150% increase in retweets versus plain text images. Utilizing industry hashtags also lets you join the conversation without extensive investment in time.

YouTube

YouTube is the biggest search engine after Google, yet most people, even experienced marketers, do not realize the search power of this video powerhouse. If you’re creating visual content, or even if you need to tell people how to use your product or service, this is the platform to be on.

On top of that, YouTube content tends to rank incredibly high on Google searches, so creating content for this network can be a great SEO and branding boost.

We had to sneak Vimeo in here. Vimeo is a distant second in terms of audience size, but since you’re creating content for YouTube anyway, you might as well add Vimeo to the mix as well. YouTube works exceptionally well for businesses whose social media strategy includes direct interaction with users in the form of shared videos, or the creation of singular entertainment.

LinkedIn

Vastly different from most of the other platforms mentioned, LinkedIn has a more professional feel and purpose. One of the best reasons to promote your business on LinkedIn may be for recruiting purposes or to find potential customers for your SaaS or digital-based business. Professional marketers abound on LinkedIn, and if your business includes tools marketers would use to excel, LinkedIn would be a valuable consideration. Business leaders can also be quite active, as well as freelancers. LinkedIn has always been the professional network, and as such it is frequented by people who are highly educated and who have a higher income, in fact, 44% of Americans who use LinkedIn have an icome of $75,000 or above.

Pinterest and Instagram

While the two platforms truly are different, with differing demographics, they share the concept of being highly visual and engaging people more with arresting photography and visuals than in written ideas. Bear in mind that Pinterest appeals to, and is very popular among women, so if your’re interested in that target base, Pinterest can attract and boost engagement. Imagine this, of all US female internet users, 42% say they use Pinterest…whereas only 13% of US men use the network.

Moreover, for customers whose buying choices may be highly influenced by images, Pinterest is the perfect network. Pinterest still doesn’t allow advertising, but does have the potential for great direct sales, often of crafty items which do well with lifestyle imagery.

With Facebook’s purchase of Instagram, businesses and brands now have the potential for much greater insight into their Instagram followers, and will soon have microtargeting abilities much like Facebook. Instagram users tend to be attracted to food, fashion, luxury brands, and lifestyle issues. And while Facebook is the biggest platform, Facebook’s active usage is declining. According to research published by the GlobalWebIndex, Instagram is growing the fastest of all social media sites worldwide.

Keep in mind that Instagram is one of the most valued social networks by teens in the USA. 32% of teens say it is the most important social network for them. If you have a product or service aimed for this demographic, you absolutely need to be on this network as well as….

Snapchat, Vine, Tumblr

Snapchat, Vine, and Tumblr are best if your audience is younger. These networks are dominated by 18-24 year olds. 45% of Snapchat users fit that demographic, followed by 28% on Vine, and 28% on Tumblr.

Questions To Consider

You may be thinking platforms with a larger user base will translate into more customers, but users on a larger platform could be a completely different demographic to your desired target audience. User-base size by itself is not an accurate metric when it comes to choosing a social media platform. You should consider your target demographic, how you will engage with your audience, and the level of competition on each platform. To gauge platforms based on your target demographics, check out this Gender Difference graph and this Age Difference graph.

Social Media Brand Dependence

Brand Dependence measures how strong of a connection people have to a brand. According to Brand Dependence research on 15 popular social media brands using the Brand Dependence methodology, surveys were conducted related to which social media brands US consumers feel they can’t live without. The combined metrics resulted in a Brand Dependence score that ranged from 0 to 100.

Results

Facebook (43), Instagram (42), YouTube (39), Pinterest (38) and reddit (38) had the strongest scores overall. Tumblr/Snapchat (37), Foursquare (36), Vine (35), Google+/Twitter (33), Flickr/Vimeo (32), and LinkedIn (31). These results reveal that excluding Facebook, the platforms with the biggest user base have the lowest engagement. In other words, your decision should not be based on user-base size alone.

Placing Content on the Right Platform

Another consideration for a successful social media campaign is knowing what type of content is on each platform. Jayson DeMers has identified the most common content types on each major platform:

1. All content and niches: Twitter and Facebook
2. Image content: Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr
5. Video content: YouTube, Vimeo, Vine
4. Business orientated: LinkedIn
5. SEO & business: Google+
6. Local: Foursquare, Yelp
7. Niche specific: reddit

Find Brand Influencers Using Socialdraft SmartID

SmartID is a tool that gives you the top 4 people to interact with a social media post from the past. This is particularly useful if you had a post go viral and you have had hundreds or thousands of likes and comments.

Simply click the link, the top 4 influencers will be listed. Then, click on the influencer to learn more about them. Who are they? Why are they influential? What are they influential in? Best part, we help you connect with them on other social networks so you can cross engage.

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