It is clear nowadays that there is not one recommendation you can make about social media for all businesses.
Though Facebook launched in 2006, it was a niche for at least a year until it was opened to everyone in late 2007. At that time, it had 100,000 business pages (pages which allowed companies to promote themselves and attract customers).
At that time, clients would ask me “Shouldn’t we have a Facebook page?” though they weren’t sure why they needed one, but it seemed to be the “thing to do.”
Today, every business probably needs a social media presence, but the question to ask is which networks do they need. Which networks are right for them?
The 7 biggest networks have been relatively the same for the past few years.
- Facebook still has the widest penetration of any social network in the U.S. 68% of U.S. adults are on Facebook.
- Instagram – owned by Facebook – has come on strong the past few years and has now surpassed a billion monthly users. While younger people seem to be leaving Facebook for their parents, Instagram with its easy image-focused mobile interface has grabbed the 18-29-year-old share.
- And if the teen to young adult segment is important to your brand, then Snapchat is a network to use. It’s most popular with 13-24-year-olds, and especially with teenage girls.
- If the Millennial (arguably 18-29) users with their generally higher income bracket are your target, Twitter is a social network to use. It also has more of an even split between male and female users.
- The popular image-based network Pinterest bridges both the 18-29-year-olds and the 30-49-year-old markets and has a predominantly female user base. It also skews towards women with young children. But the women points out that 40% of new sign-ups are from men, so a shift is occurring.
- Many people still don’t think about YouTube as a social network but only as a place to find videos. Not only is one of the top social networks, but it is also the second-largest search engine. Why? Because people are very often looking for video results. That is certainly a major consideration for any brand.
- LinkedIn continues to be a popular network with higher income-level users, and for businesses to be more B2B, generate sales leads and find employment candidates. The fact that it is not popular for teens and the younger demographics is what makes it popular with another segment.
A topic for another post that jumps off for here concerns the many other social networks that are smaller and more niche but that might be more importance to some brands. Are you a restaurant? Then Yelp and other review sites are more important to you than other industries. Having a presence in the top 7 networks may be an important start to your SM strategy, but it certainly does not end there.