Choosing the Right Social Network for Your Business

Choosing the Right Social Network for Your Business

This blog post originally appeared on Your Marketing Made Easy.

There is a pervasive myth when choosing a social media network for your business that you should do what you know. That's why so many businesses are on Facebook. Was the first network you joined Facebook? Maybe you haven't started yet, but be honest - you're probably planning on Facebook first!

Think about this for a second: you sell blankets and bedding. Every year in your city there is a big Business to Business Expo, and a small Home and Garden Show. In previous years you've gone to the Business to Business Expo as attendee in order to shop for business services. This year you put aside money to buy a booth at a trade show - which one is going to be best for your business? Seems pretty obvious, doesn't it?

Just because you're familiar with the Business to Business Expo and pretty much everyone who is attending has a bed doesn't mean it's a good use of your advertising budget. You go to the Home and Garden show because the people there are specifically interested in the type of products you sell and may be actively looking for them.

The lesson: know where your audience is. Do your research on each social network, understand the purpose and use of each one, know who (gender, age, etc.) is on which network not only in general, but also for your region and city. Even though networks are "free" they are still a time investment and so you need to choose wisely!

If you are ever asking someone about using certain networks for business and they say "You should use it because it has one billion users!" back away slowly - it doesn't matter how many or which people are on a network if they are not your best audience. Here are a few general guidelines to get you started:

Facebook

  • 18-24 and 25-34 are still the largest age groups on Facebook, but it's the older demographics that are now growing more quickly
  • great for brick and mortar businesses because of check-ins, maps, address, and hours of business features

Twitter

  • 18-29 is the largest age group, but like Facebook, the older demographic is growing more quickly
  • is one of the greatest tools for social customer service

LinkedIn

  • the average user age is in the 40s and annual income tends to be around $100,000 (these are the managers, executive, and decision makers)
  • more focused on B2B services than B2C or retail

Pinterest

  • is still predominately used by women
  • is all about visual interest marketing
  • is one of the rare networks where you can get great results by sharing other people's content (less focus on producing your own, though your own content can still get you a big boost)

Instagram

  • the overwhelming majority of users are under 35 and mobile
  • users split evenly between men and women
  • good quality photos or graphics are important