Which social networks are right for your business?

Which social networks are right for your business?_Built for Marketing.jpg

It’s becoming ever more important for a business to have some kind of social presence. In fact, it’s increasingly becoming an expectation – not just in B2C, but also in B2B markets.

Although running and maintaining a social media page doesn’t cost a penny, all business owners and managers will know that it’s the time investment that’s most significant. Businesses should focus that investment in one or two specific social networks, rather than the whole lot.

Of course, deciding which social networks are right for your business is a hugely important decision. Let’s look at each of the most popular platforms in turn.

Facebook

Monthly active users: 1.71 billion (1.13 billion daily)

Facebook remains the most used social network in the world, and tends to be popular with all demographics. Businesses can use it to post updates, share content, and interact with users. Text posts, photos, gifs and native video content are all supported.

Facebook’s News Feed algorithm decides which content is most relevant (and important) to individual users. User interaction numbers for each post contribute greatly to the algorithm.

Why should you use it?

Facebook is a great platform for building up your brand’s reputation amongst customers and the wider community. Highly shareable content (such as amusing videos and memes) can go viral and be seen by huge numbers of people. Facebook also offers an array of targeted advertising options.

What doesn’t work?

Dry, business-heavy text-only content that isn’t likely to gain likes or shares. This content will never appear on news feeds and won’t gain traction.

Twitter

Monthly active users: 313 million

Share anything on Twitter – as long as it’s 140 characters or less. Breaking news, company updates and (almost) real time events commentary are what it’s known for.  Hashtags are used to keep track of specific topics.

Why should you use it?

Twitter is a great platform to reach a tech-savvy crowd. It’s the perfect place to go viral by contributing to a hashtag or trending topic, and works well for customer service. By building up a network of influential followers, your tweets could potentially be seen by thousands of people in just a couple of minutes.

What doesn’t work?

Longform content, too many text-only tweets.

LinkedIn

Monthly active users: 106 million

LinkedIn is the social network for professionals. Connect to business colleagues and contacts, build your network, contribute to groups and post your own content on your business page.

Why should you use it?

LinkedIn is ideal for B2B companies who are looking to reach out to top influencers and brands in the industry. Joining groups lets you share specialist content and find your way onto the radar of potential clients.

What doesn’t work?

B2C content.

Instagram

Monthly active users: 500 million+ (300 million daily)

Instagram is a photo and video based social network. Although it’s growing fast, the most popular topics remain food, travel, celebrities, and fashion.

Why should you use it?

Instagram is becoming increasingly popular, and it’s almost ubiquitous amongst the younger generation. If you’re trying to reach young people, Instagram is your best bet. Its focus on visual content is particularly valuable for brands with an eye-candy product.

What doesn’t work?

B2B content will struggle on Instagram, and you can’t post clickable URLs on individual posts – only on your bio – so it’s not great for getting visitors to your website or elsewhere.

Pinterest

Monthly active users: 100 million

Pinterest is a photo-centric social network where users can upload, share and manage ‘pins’ (photos or other images) to ‘boards’ – and pin other users’ content, or content from other websites, to their boards. Businesses use it to showcase product collections or share related images posted by fans and customers.

Why should you use it?

Pinterest is great for building niche communities in fashion, beauty, and food. It’s also a female dominated site, so if you’re targeting that market in these sectors, Pinterest is ideal.

What doesn’t work?

Dry, non-visual B2B content.

Takeaways

There are many other social networks that we haven’t mentioned here, but you might still consider. YouTube should be used as a video hosting site rather than as a social platform, Reddit can be useful but only if you’re open and honest about your brand affiliations. Tumblr can also work for visual brands, particularly those targeting young people. It might be worth signing up to Google+ for the SEO benefits alone, but even those are now in doubt.

It’s important to remember that social networks evolve all the time. Instagram was once niche and hipster – now it’s mainstream and used by most of us each week.

Whichever social networks you choose to focus on with your business, keep measuring how your channels fare. Adapt based on results.

After more social media advice, tips and tricks? Speak to the experts at Built for Marketing.