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How to Decide Which Social Media Sites Your Brand Should Be On

social-media-sitesFacebook, Twitter, Instagram…in a perfect world, every brand would be on all of these social networks, and then some. But unless you have help with your social media efforts, you might have to settle for one or two sites, at least for now. So which social media sites should you focus on? Here’s how to decide.

Consider Active Users

If you’re trying to reach the highest number of people, you’ll want to start with the site that has the most active users. For now, that’s Facebook, and it’s probably going to be that way for a while considering how far ahead its number of monthly active users is compared to other sites. That number is 1.65 billion.

Next in line is YouTube, with more than 1 billion users. Instagram is the next most popular option, followed by Twitter, with a tie between LinkedIn and Pinterest. So if you’re solely trying to reach as many people as possible, the graph below can help. But that’s not necessarily the only way to decide on which social media site to use.

social-media-sites-chart

Find Out Where Your Audience Is

You don’t have to take any official polls to find out where you target audience hangs out, because the Pew Research Center already did this for you. The results can tell you a lot about where your brand needs to be when it comes to social media, as they’re pretty clear cut.

For example, 77 percent of women who go online are on Facebook, and 82 percent of people ages 18 to 29 are on this social network, with 79 percent of people ages 30 to 49 also being on it. By contrast, just under half of seniors 65 and up are on Facebook. This tells you that if your audience is younger, your brand needs a Facebook page, while you’re not missing on out quite as much without a Facebook page if your audience is mostly retired.

Another example of the demographics discovered by the Pew Research Center involves Twitter. While only slightly more men than women are on this social network – and the percentages of users 18 to 29 and 30 to 49 are about even – surveys show that Twitter attracts more people who live in an urban setting than suburban or rural. Plus, it’s most popular among college graduates.

The Pew Research Center also found that Instagram is most appealing to younger people, since 55 percent of people between 18 and 29 are on it. Women are only slightly more likely to use it than men, which is in stark contrast to Pinterest. After all, 44 percent of women are on that site, compared to only 16 percent of men, showing that Pinterest is still appealing to mostly women.

And then there’s LinkedIn, which is used by men and women equally. The main detail to know is that LinkedIn is most popular among 30 to 49 year olds, so if your audience is older than the main users of all the other social networks, this is the place to be. And like Twitter, if you’re looking for a college-educated audience, having a presence on LinkedIn is a good idea, since 46 percent of college graduates who are online are on LinkedIn.

Know What Kind of Content to Post on Each Social Network

Now that you’re aware of which social networks your target audience uses, it’s important to consider the type of content to post on each one. This can help you choose which sites to get started on, since certain industries lend themselves to certain types of content. Here’s a summary of what to post on each site.

Twitter:

Due to the rather short character limit on Twitter, this social network is best for brief updates. In particular, it’s great for breaking news and links to timely information, since this site moves so fast. Links, images, and quick tips do well on this platform.

YouTube:

You can probably guess what to post on this site – videos! This is where brands often put up everything from behind-the-scenes looks at the office to how-to videos. So if you don’t have videos, it’s time to make some so you can take advantage of this extremely popular social media site.

Instagram:

The point of this social network is to impress your audience with beautiful photos. So now is the time to take pictures of your products, preferably lifestyle images that show people using them. If you sell services rather than products, it might be harder to come up with images, but it’s still possible. You can post interesting pictures of your staff, office, and really anything that relates to your industry that your audience will want to look at.

Pinterest:

This is another image-based social network, so come prepared with lots of pictures to share. You can create a variety of boards with related pins, depending on the subjects your audience is interested in. Keep in mind that unlike Instagram, Pinterest is more about sharing the pictures and links that other people have posted, rather than uploading your own. This should make it easier for any business to find visually appealing content to post.

LinkedIn:

This social network is great for businesses that are marketing a service rather than a product. This is because LinkedIn is less dependent on photos and more reliant on words. So it’s the perfect setup for talking about a service and anything related to it via blog posts, the comment section, and groups.

Facebook:

As you might guess, pretty much any type of business can succeed with social media marketing on Facebook. Links, images, videos…any type of content can be posted here and get seen by many. And Facebook users are on the site so often that engagement here is high, which is a plus for any brand using this social network.

So if you’re looking for a social network to get started on, you can use these tips to figure out which one is best based on the number of users, where your audience is, and what kind of content you can post. And of course, if you have a social media manager to handle everything, you don’t have to choose just one or two to start. You can try them all!

Which social networks is your brand on?