Finite Time and Infinite Choices: Choosing the Best Social Networks for Your Business

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google Plus, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, YouTube . . . and the list goes on. Social networks are ever-changing with new ones constantly popping up.

As a business owner or manager, keeping up with social media is a tough task, especially when misguided into thinking your business needs to be on every compelling or new social network. The simple truth is: you don’t. Now you can breathe a sigh of relief!

It’s most efficient, and beneficial, to spend your time only on the social networks that are the best for your business and audience because time is unfortunately not infinite. These tips will help guide you to the social networks that are the right fit.

Don’t (always) listen to what other people say; look at the data and your demographics.

Have people told you not to be on Facebook because less people are using it and transitioning to other social networks? If you’ve taken that advice, you’re missing a huge opportunity. While the younger demographics, like teens through early twenties, may be using other social networks more often than Facebook, Facebook still ranks the highest, by far, in terms of active users. Facebook has 1.9 billion active users which is 200 percent more active users than Instagram and 500 percent more than Twitter. Plus, 75 percent of social media users spend at least 20 minutes each day on Facebook.

The age of Facebook users also skews older than other social networks. For example, nearly 80 percent of 30 to 49-year-olds, over half of online seniors aged 65+ and over 60 percent age 50 to 64 are active on Facebook. On the other hand, social networks like Twitter and Instagram primarily serve an audience of 18 to 29-year-olds. If your target demographic is over the age of 30, Facebook is a social network you should highly consider. However, if you’re targeting millennials or Generation Z, you’ll want to consider Instagram and Snapchat.

The type of business you’re in matters.

Social networks greatly differ. Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat are entirely image based, YouTube is for videos, Twitter is short, punchy updates and Facebook can be a mix of mediums, so the industry and types of products and services you offer may determine which social networks are the best fits.

For example, Forrester, a research company that targets technology leaders, stunning, eye-catching images aren’t their forte. Instead, Forrester has built a following of 354,000 on Twitter. The company shares interesting statistics from their studies paired with simple but compelling graphics. A link is included to learn more and draw viewers to Forrester’s website.

It’s ok to try out social networks . . . and ditch them when they’re not the right fit.

Businesses often will create an account and profile for a social network, start adding content, and then realize it’s a challenge developing fresh content that is the right fit for the social network. Instead of maintaining an account that isn’t the right fit, is challenging to keep updated and exists with very few followers, it may be best to consider cutting ties.

While it doesn’t make sense to keep an account that isn’t the right fit, if the reason your content isn’t fresh is because of time, consider getting help. At Mary Beth West Communications, we work with our clients to not only develop a results-driven social media strategy and plan, but to also keep our clients’ social media accounts updated with fresh, interesting content that’s relevant to their audience.

As you develop your social media strategy and choose your social networks, a good first step is to learn about the different social networks, their strengths and weaknesses, number of active users and demographics. This helpful infographic by Hubspot provides the pros and cons of the different social networks, and this infographic by Social Media Today provides demographics for the various networks updated for 2017. Contact us at Mary Beth West Communications for information on how we can work with you to develop a strategic social media plan.

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Sarah Merrell
Director of Communications at Mary Beth West Communications
Sarah Merrell brings nearly a decade of experience in marketing and business within a variety of industries to her role at MBWC as Director of Communications. Sarah works closely with clients to achieve results through strategic communication plans, media relations, websites, social media and newsletters while also managing production timelines.

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