One of the questions I get asked most is about which social networks should a business use.
With all of the options available, how do you know which ones to choose?
As you might suspect, there is no one right answer. It all depends on your social media strategy and what you want to accomplish via the social web (i.e. provide customer service, find new business, drive traffic to your site, etc.).
Once you’ve taken the time to determine your goals and how you want to use social media, you can look at the various options and determine the right network one for your business.
While this isn’t a complete list, here is a quick run-down of some of the most popular social networks to help you determine which one is right for you:
Facebook has more than 900 million users, so chances are good that your target audience spends time here. Although the user-base skews younger, the fastest growing demographic is for people over 45.
Facebook is great for customer engagement, testing ideas and getting feedback, and sharing coupons or deals. However, as Jason Falls aptly pointed out yesterday, people don’t go to Facebook to engage with your brand, they go there to check out pictures of their grandkids. That’s something to keep in mind if you focus your energy here.
Even though the user-base for Twitter is much smaller, more than 40 percent of Americans see tweets through the media on a daily basis. That’s pretty stunning.
Twitter is fantastic for providing customer service, finding potential business opportunities, engaging with your community and developing relationships.
Even if you don’t use Twitter, you can still reap the benefits of it by using it’s search functionality to learn more about what people are saying about a topic or scope out your competitors.
LinkedIn is more than just an online resume. Yes, it’s more serious than other networks, but it offers a great way find and connect with professionals without all of the fluff.
LinkedIn also offers the ability to connect with people through groups. I have one client who gets most of their traffic from LinkedIn because the owner is an active participant in various industry groups.
There’s much debate about whether Google Plus is a viable option for businesses right now. Google is undoubtedly forcing businesses to think about Google Plus because it is so closely tied to search results. Even if your business isn’t using Google Plus, how you rank in search results is still affected by how people use the network.
Although there isn’t a ton of action on the social network itself, businesses may want to add a “+1” button to their site to give users the ability to easily share your company’s content.
People love video, which explains why more than 4 billion videos are viewed on YouTube EVERY DAY.
Because YouTube is part of Google, there are great search engine benefits for having videos on YouTube. Also, adding video to your content mix, can help you appeal to a wider audience. If video is part of your plan, YouTube definitely needs to be in the mix.
Pinterest is a photo-lovers dream! It’s very visual, which is why food, fashion and crafts rank high among the content there. And, as a result, women dominate this network.
If you’ve got a visual business – photography, design, real estate, restaurants, stylists, retail – you might want to consider Pinterest, especially since it is driving more revenue per click than Facebook or Twitter.
Just Pick One
Although it may be tempting to rush out and create profiles on all of the social networks available, I encourage businesses, especially smaller ones, to just pick one network to start with.
That way, you can focus all of your time and energy mastering one network instead of several.
If you want more information, check out this infographic for a nice, visual comparison of some of the top social networks.
And, if you need a smart social media strategy for your business, drop us a line to see how we can help.
Does this help? Which social networks do you use for your business?