When I meet new people and tell them that I’m in charge of Global Communications for the leading Social Intelligence platform, without fail, I’m asked the same question within a matter of minutes. In fact, in my days working at PR agencies and running social media accounts, I also received the same question quite often. “What social media network should I be using for my business’ social media marketing?”
A recent research report from the Pew Research Center states that approximately 70% of Americans are currently using “social media to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information and entertain themselves.” So if for whatever reason you didn’t think that in 2017 you needed to be on social media to reach your consumers, then let this put that question to rest. Whoever your consumers are, whatever their age is, whatever they do, they are on social media. Now that we’ve gotten this out of the way, I always answer with a question of my own: “Who is your audience, how old are they and what do they do?”
There are many ways to break down your social media audiences and learn useful information from them, and in fact, I’ve written about that exact topic before on this very blog, however, before you can even get to that point, you need to know what social media networks you should be using. I have found that the best way to narrow down the list of social media networks to find the right ones for your social media marketing is to look at the age, interests, etc. of your target consumers since statistically, you can learn a lot about how your audience is using each platform. With that in mind, I have broken down each major network below and explained what audience is most likely to use that platform, and hopefully, this will finally answer the question about which social media network is best for your business and your social media marketing campaigns.
Facebook may have more than 2 billion active users, and while it has become less popular with younger audiences, it remains a strong social media destination for those between the ages of 25-54. In fact, did you know that only about 9% of Facebook’s active users are between the ages of 18-24, meanwhile men and women between the ages of 25-54 make up 61% of all active users?
In other words, if your consumers fall into the age range of 25-54 then Facebook is the right place for you, as 44% of these users regularly check Facebook multiple times a day. However, you should also be aware that Facebook is working hard to make it as difficult as possible for brands to penetrate the newsfeeds of its users. They are currently testing a concept of having two newsfeeds (one for sponsored posts and one that is your regular news feed) to keep your friend’s posts at the forefront of your Facebook experience; therefore presenting a challenge for brands trying to reach their target audience.
LinkedIn is by far viewed as the social media network for B2B social media marketing. However, that doesn’t mean that if you are a B2B (or if you are a B2C) organization that absolutely should use it (or that you shouldn’t).
LinkedIn boasts over 450 million business professionals as its users, and I emphasize business professionals because as opposed to other platforms, the users are comprised of those who have at least some level of work experience, and was created to mostly be a networking site to help you advance in your career. However, now it has become a B2B marketer’s dream as it is fairly easy to find specific audience breakdowns (for example, people with the title “Marketing Manager” that work in hospitality) and share your content with them.
However, as with any other platform, there are also things to be wary of. For example, LinkedIn users are not the most active in regularly visiting the platform. In fact, of the major social media networks, LinkedIn has the least daily visitors to its site with only about 18% of its users regularly visiting the network daily (compared to 76% for Facebook or 42% for Twitter). This means it could take longer to reach your audience via LinkedIn, or it could become easier to have your content buried at the bottom of a newsfeed.
59% of Instagram’s 500 million users check the app regularly at least once a day, however, Instagram, like Facebook, make it hard for brands to expose their audiences to their posts. Instagram is likely one of the better brand building tools out there, especially if you have great imagery or video to share, but it is a very difficult platform to make a real impact on if you are only going to use one social media network. Having said all of that, this is still definitely an important social media network for brands in fashion, art, home decor, food or any other industry that allows for your brand to present itself through imagery that really brings to life the old adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
Twitter, with over 328 million active users has one of the widest reaches of any social media network. 36% of its users are between the ages of 18-29 and when combined with the 22% between 30-49, the very wide age demographics of 18-49 represents 58% of those users (or approximately 190.3 million users).
Twitter has become the go-to space for consumers who need to interact with a brand for customer service purposes, and when a brand responds properly it can do wonders for them when anyone can see how well they handle customer services issues and potential crises. Twitter is also an amazing tool to share content and information that can easily spread throughout your audience through retweets. However, the biggest mistake that brands make on Twitter is not being able to find a good balance in what they tweet. In other words, if you only share your own content with your audience your consumers will look at your account as being something just shy of an ongoing advertisement. A brand’s Twitter account is best used as a one-stop shop for useful and relevant information for your audience and customers, for example, share interesting articles that relate to what you do but also aren’t about you. As I said, it’s all about finding that balance.
Now that you know what social media network works best for you, make sure you know all the proper social media marketing lingo that you will need to know as you embark on your digital campaigns by downloading our Social Media Marketing Dictionary eGuide.