For most businesses social networking is a necessity, but which ones are best? Discovering which social media channels will benefit your business bottom line isn’t rocket science but it does require a little research and planning.
Recently, a business education and networking group which I belong to hosted a round table series on various online marketing topics like web design, graphic design, Facebook, and e-commerce. I facilitated the topic of social media choices for businesses. During each 15 minute session a fresh batch of eager faces gathered around to learn where they ought be spending their valuable business resources and time when it comes to marketing via social media. Here is what I shared with them.
The way I approach this topic with my clients is by asking three simple questions. As easy as it sounds, the answers to these questions will guide and point to the right social media channel for your particular business.
- Who are your customers? Consider gender, age and demographics for clues about how, or if, they participate on the Internet.
- Where do your customers socialize on the Web? For example, some age groups trend toward Facebook while others seek more detailed information, for example, following blogs or engaging in forums related to their interests.
- Is your business primarily local or is it available nationally or globally? While geography may no longer be the barrier it once was, factor in culture, language and locality to determine which social media platform hosts your audience.
With your answers in hand, do a little online research to find the right social media fit for your business and customers. It’s easy to plug in a keyword search to find stats. To get you started, I uncovered some basic age data for the most popular social media channels today, however you can view the complete 2012 social network demographics report on Pingdom.
Pinterest > predominately female audience, 25-44 years old, 50% with kids and 28% earning over $100k/year. Most popular topics are health, food, travel and fashion with TONS of referral traffic.
Facebook and Twitter > same gender distribution: 40% male, 60% female.
LinkedIn > oldest user based social network with an average of 44 years old, professional, slightly more male than female participants
MySpace > relaunched in 2013 as a social entertainment network for Generation Y musicians, photographers, entertainers, filmmakers, writers
If you have a clear picture of your customer profile, a little time spent researching various social media channels will quickly reveal where your business might experience the best results and where you need to spend your time.