Stop Wasting Time. Find The Best Social Media Channel For Your Business

ollection of popular social media logos printed on paper:facebook, twitter, google plus, instagram, skype, pinterest and blogger on old wooden background Stop reading this post right now if you are still at the point of trying to determine whether or not there is any value in making social media part of your marketing mix.

If you don’t see any value in social media then this article is not for you. In all honesty you may be in need of a little therapy more than you need to read this article…but that is probably a discussion for another day. 🙂

As a social media and digital marketing consultant, one of the most common questions I am asked by businesses and professional people is “what social media sites should I be on?”

The question is often accompanied by a disclaimer that they have limited resources and very little available time to spend “all day on Facebook sharing pictures of their most recent meal.”

Many also make it very clear that they know nothing about this “social media stuff”.

I get it. I really do. If you are in business, you are busy. You have a finite amount of resources. When you combine that with the fact that for many social media can be an intimidating area. Not only learning how to use each social channel but, even more importantly, trying to figure out how using it can help your business grow.

There is no denying that social media and digital marketing will continue to change and evolve. And, there is nothing we can do about that, but you definitely can’t simply dismiss social media channels as if they are a flash in the pan, a small fire of interest that burns brightly for a minute and is then gone forever. Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay.

So stop ignoring it and at the very least start learning a little about it. Today, if you think negatively about social media and equate it with a waste of time and resources, I believe you are putting your business in peril. I can’t say it any plainer than that.

In the time and age that we live in, it has become one of the single most powerful means of building significant relationships with clients and potential clients.

The question is not “should I be on social media?” because the answer is clearly “yes.” The question is “which social media sites should I be on first as I make a rational plan to make the most of the great opportunities these sites afford me?”

So, before we start talking about which is the right social channel for you we need to ask ourselves several important questions.

  1. Is your primary client base other businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C)?

Why? Because although there is value in all social channels each one is generally better suited for a specific audience, particularly when you have limited resources (time, team and money) which most of us do.

Once you have determined whether your target audience is B2C or B2B then you also need to ask yourself these questions.

  1. What would your goals be on social media?
  2. How would you measure success on social media?
  3. Where are your competitors on social media?

Are you using social media to build awareness, promote your brand, generate new leads and opportunities, engage with your customers, etc.

Always, always, always establish goals before you begin. In order to know whether social media is helping your business you must set some goals. Whether it is size of audience targets or amount of engagement or number of new leads, you should have specific targets.

What channels do your competitors make use of on social media? What are they doing on those channels? What type of posts and information are they sharing? How active are they on social media?

In other words do a little research first. Visit the different sites and listen and observe. Learn what is being talked about. Make a plan.

So let’s take a look at each of the major social channels and how they stack up as of January 2016 according to the latest data from eBizMBA.

  1. Facebook: 1,100,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors
  2. Twitter: 310,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors
  3. LinkedIn: 255,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors
  4. Pinterest: 250,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors
  5. Google+: 120,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors
  6. Tumblr: 110,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors
  7. Instagram: 100,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors
  8. VK: 80,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors
  9. Flickr: 65,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors
  10. Vine: 42,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors

Keep in mind these numbers are not an indication of how many people have an account on that particular social channel, these are the numbers of unique visitors each month to that site which we can use as a measure of active users.

In terms of sheer size it is no contest. Facebook is the clear winner. In 2015 they passed one billion users in one day! Think about that, one billion people on Facebook in one day. That is almost 15% of the world’s entire population. They have now also surpassed one billion mobile users. However, even though these are very impressive numbers by any standard they don’t necessarily mean Facebook is the best choice for your business.

So let’s take a look at each one in a little more detail and see what we can learn. These demographic numbers are American based and can be found here at thePew Research Center.

Facebook

Considered by most marketers to be the best platform for B2C. Some interesting notes are 72% of all internet users are on Facebook, use by seniors continues to increase, audience is skewed more female than male but the highest percentage of users continues to be in the 18-29 category even though many believed they were all heading over to Instagram.

Twitter

Considered by most marketers to be of value to both B2C and B2B. 23% of all internet users are on Twitter and although this is considerably less than Facebook it is a significant increase over previous years. More popular among younger adults under 50. If your intended target is seniors then Twitter is probably not a good option for you at this point in time. 🙂

Instagram

If you are marketing to a younger adult, non-white audience, particularly with a product that can be visually appealing then Instagram is certainly worth considering along with Pinterest. Instagram is also showing significant growth in the 18-29 age group and skews slightly more female.

Pinterest

– Continues to hold steady at around 31% of internet users. Again, Pinterest is a very visual social channel so if your product or service lends itself to visual marketing and your target is females under 50 then it might very well be your number one choice.

LinkedIn

Considered by most marketers to be the number one option if your target is business owners and professionals. It is worth noting that LinkedIn is the only social channel for which usage rates are higher among 30-49 year olds than among 18-29 age group. It also skews toward higher levels of education and greater income.

Google+

One thing that the data tells us about the typical Google+ user is that they are male (almost 74% of users are male), the majority are based in the United States and in general they tend to be “techie” types (engineers, software and web developers). We should never forget that obviously being owned by Google doesn’t hurt.

YouTube

It is a little more challenging to find current demographic information on YouTube but I did manage to come up with the following: YouTube has become mainstream enough that usage is split fairly evenly between men and women. All age groups 18-65+ seem to like watching videos with the strongest representation being in the 25-44 age range. Where we start to see major differences are in the types of videos watched. With male primarily interested in sports and gaming and female in makeup and skin care. However, we all seem to like watching videos about dogs. 🙂

Other points that make YouTube of interest are:

  • As stated previously it is owned by Google
  • It is the second largest search engine after Google
  • In general, everyone likes to watch videos
  • Today’s technology makes producing video cheaper and easier than ever

General Observations To Consider: The proportion of daily users on Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn increased significantly year over year. Facebook has the most engaged users with 70% claiming to log in daily. Finally, the number of people that access social media through a mobile device continues to show significant increases. LinkedIn – considered by most marketers to be the best platform for B2B.

My opinion, for all businesses is that when it comes to making use of social media quality is always better than quantity. This is even more true when applied to small business due to the more limited resources.

I believe you should not worry about being on all the channels. Pick one based upon the information you know and do that one the very best you can. Once you are comfortable with that channel and starting to see some results then maybe it is time to look at a second channel, but not before.

Where Does Mobile Fit Into Social

Like social media we certainly can no longer ignore mobile. Today, more and more people are using social media on a mobile device than ever before. In fact,50% of LInkedIn’s daily users access it via mobile. And, as we indicated earlier in the article Facebook now has over 1 billion mobile users.

Summary

In conclusion it may appear that for many Facebook may be the best place to start just because of its sheer size. But I don’t believe it is the best marketing option for every business. And with all the recent changes to Facebook you will likely need to spend some money on Facebook advertising to see good results.

I would certainly take a look at Facebook for Business to learn more about how Facebook can help your business.

There is no denying that Facebook opens the door to millions of people all over the world. It is a free site where people and businesses register, create profiles, add updates, photos and videos, and send messages and it is available in 37 languages.

Facebook can also provide you with some decent analytics which help you gain insight into what interests your customers and what they are doing and thus figure out how to market better to them.

As you can see the social media universe is large and diverse and getting bigger all the time. It presents a fantastic opportunity for your business as long as you have a plan. It can also be an incredible time waste and frustrating experience if you just jump right in without doing some planning first.

If you are primarily in the business of doing business with other businesses (B2B) then I highly recommend you start with LinkedIn. Other channels you may want to consider might be YouTube and Twitter.

And, if you do business with consumers (B2C) then I suggest you start with Facebook. I might also consider Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube depending upon the nature of your products and your target audience.

Social Media Tools

In order to do social media well it does take an investment of time. However, there are many great tools available to help us save time and increase efficiency when it comes to actually using social media.

Here is a partial list of some I have used personally and would recommend, but there are many other great tools in addition to these few:

So there you have my take on which social media channels you should consider.

Remember, you gain nothing by sitting on the sidelines. Make a plan and then start getting social. 🙂

Until next time. I wish you continued success.

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