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What's the Right Social Network for Your Business?

By July 27, 2016January 20th, 2021Community, Social Media Marketing

Companies know that it’s absolutely crucial to be present on social networks. It’s the best way to engage with customers, search prospects, build the brand and drive conversions. By the end of 2016, eMarketer notes, 90% of US companies with 100-plus employees will use social networks in their marketing efforts.

But with multiple social networks offering different strengths and audience members, how do you know which social network to focus on? Not ever social media platform is appropriate, depending on the brand, and it can be a chore to figure out how to best allocate resources to build a company presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and others.

To narrow narrow down your options, let’s walk through some of the key areas to consider.

Know Your Audience

Every business owner should know their target audience. If you own a credit card payment transaction company, your key targets might be CFOs, credit risk managers, investment VPs and others. To reach those people, LinkedIn might be the right network to make followers and connections, and to gain clients and referrals. It’s seen as the best B2B social network for business leads and conversations. But for the consumer-driven business owner, say, an owner of a boutique furniture store, Instagram or Snapchat might be the right social networks to tap into your creative target audience.

To understand your audience, build out a database of your customers’ qualities: gender, age, online buyer or in-store buyer, type of occupation, economic data, children, hobbies, etc. Knowing these basics for your target audience will help you deliver a targeted social media experience.

Online Research

Research can help cut down on wasted time, and more importantly, help you avoid embarrassing social media faux paus. Maybe you sell solar panels and equipment to residential homeowners. Find out if more homeowners are leasing or buying solar panels, where the majority of sales is occurring, what types of homeowners are buying. Having this information can inform your keyword searches on social networks and through search engines. For instance, you can search #solarleasing or #buysolar hashtags on Twitter to see more of the people in your industry discussing these topics. With this information, and your own Twitter account, you can start to target these ‘leads’ and convert them into Twitter ‘followers’ to build up your brand.

Build Social Profiles

While you’re analyzing the data above, start building a few social profiles, if you haven’t yet. These take some time to coordinate, especially for SMBs, as you need to coordinate images, logos, content wording for the pages and more. Once you’ve proofread the chosen profiles, you can turn them live.

Here’s a quick look at some of the top social networks worth pursuing, once you’ve figured out your company’s main direction.

  • LinkedIn: For B2B target audiences, LinkedIn is certainly the main route. The network counts 433 million global active users (about 130 million US only), who are searching to connect with other professional in business. If you need to connect with your industry influencers, LinkedIn is the social network for that.
  • Snapchat: Snapchat has, at recent count, 150 million daily active users on its network. That’s more users than Twitter (136 million active users) and Instagram and Pinterest, too, making Snapchat the 2nd leading social media network of choice, behind Facebook. Snapchat draws a young audience.
  • Twitter: Twitter has 320 million active users. It’s also the world’s news conversation outlet, with 500,000 monthly users who look at Twitter without logging in.
  • Facebook: Even if Facebook has tweaked its algorithms to emphasize live video, your business needs a Facebook business page. It’s the platform where your customers generally hang out during the day. It’s the top social media network for companies with 100-plus employees.
  • Instagram:  Instagram uses images and videos shared across its network and into Facebook feeds. (Facebook owns Instagram). If your business can show lively imagery of products and people, this could be the winning network for your brand. Nearly 50% of marketers polled earlier this year by eMarketer expected to use Instagram in 2016.
  • Pinterest: If your business is selling fashion, crafts, or apparel, Pinterest’s 100 million active user base may be the right social network for your marketing needs.