Have you jumped into all of the social sites feet first? Or have you shied away from the rapidly changing social landscape? Are you wondering what social media is right for your business? What really matters? As a health and wellness professional, social media is really important. You want to get the word out there and social media is one of the best ways to do it.

After a little convincing, that is what we did a few months ago when we finally decided to take some time for our own business and explore the benefits of social media marketing.  We have had a few great experience and a lot of really frustrating ones.  

One of the biggest challenges we faced in managing our own social is that we didn’t have infinite time and resources…I mean…we are trying to run a business at the same time and make our customers the happiest in the world!  To make sure pintrest, facebook, twitter, linkedin and google+ were updated every time we posted a blog or wanted to share exciting news – well, that took a back seat most days.  We weren’t proud of it, but we couldn’t afford to be on every social site.  It has been several months since we started and we have had some time to evaluate what works, what doesn’t and what has been pretty much a waste of time. We took a look at the numbers that did exist, did a little research and decided that it was more important to choose the sites that were working for us and say goodbye to a few! Here is what we found on picking the right social media.

Step One: Identify Your Customer

First thing is that as a company, you have to evaluate who you are trying to talk to.  In the marketing world we call this person your ‘buyer persona‘  and these are the people, that if communicated with effectively, will make your business thrive. A few questions you might ask yourself to begin the identification process of narrowing your social platforms include: What are the basic demographics of your customer base? Age, education level, marital status? What products do they like? What problems are they trying to solve in their life? What are they looking for in products? What sales techniques work best for them?  And many more… By identifying your customers common qualities you can than cross-reference that information with the demographic trends across different social networks.

Step Two: Choose Your Platform(s)

Although social networks are constantly changing, and facebook is still the biggest kid on the block, here is the quick and dirty on who uses what, when and what for. 

Facebook

Still the largest player, with over one billion active users, odds are most of your customers and prospects are on Facebook.

At a Glance:

  • There are a staggering 1.19 billion worldwide users
  • 70% of marketers used Facebook to gain new customers
  • 23 percent of Facebook users login at least 5 times per day
  • 73% of the US adult population is on facebook
  • The most evenly-distributed demographics of any platform

What types of businesses should be on Facebook?

All. In our opinion, facebook is the only social media platform that you need to be on no matter what field your business is in.

Quick and Dirty Tips for Success:

  • Facebook posts with a photo generate 120% more engagement than simple text.
  • Posts shorter than 250 characters have 60% more engagement than longer posts
  • Thursday and Friday have 18% better engagement than other days of the week
  • Question posts have double the engagement of non-question posts

Twitter

Boasting over 550 million registered users, Twitter continues to make its way to the top of the social ladder and has to be taken seriously. Last year it took off its short pants and become a public company. So what is happening in the Twittersphere?

At A Glance

  • Despite being, arguably, the second-most recognized platform out there, Twitter is fourth in usage
  • 18% of the US adult population
  • 34% of marketers use Twitter to successfully generate leads
  • However, those who do use Twitter use it more frequently than other platforms, with 46% logging in on a daily basis.

The majority of users who follow a brand on Twitter do so to take advantage of offers, contests and exclusive discounts. Keep this in mind when pushing your products. Instead, try pushing the deals you’re offering.

Which businesses should be on Twitter?

If your sector or business is based around things that are happening now, you need to be on Twitter. We recommend Twitter to all marketing companies, sports-related businesses, and all news organizations.

Below is a little glimpse at ideal times to tweet up a storm:

tweet-times

Note the spike during the morning commute (when everybody on public transit is bored) and the fall between 6 and 7pm, when everyone is eating dinner. Thanks to BufferApp for the research!

LinkedIn

This platform is well-suited for professionally-oriented firms looking to generate leads.

At A Glance:

  • The platform touts itself as the ‘professional social network’, and in that respect it’s accurate.
  • 38% of internet users with an income of more than $75k are on the platform.
  • 79% of LinkedIn users are aged 35 or older, making it the oldest platform in this list.
  • 27% of employed Americans are using the platform as well.
  • The three dominant sectors on the platform are high tech (14.3%), finance (12.4%) and manufacturing (10.1%). Worth noting is that the legal sector makes up a meager 1.4% of users.

LinkedIn is for professionals, and it’s about professionals. It’s hugely influential in the job hunt, both for employers and applicants. It’s great for networking, and the content sharing function is getting better every week.

However, is it a revenue-generating platform like Pinterest? Or does it increase brand awareness like Facebook and Twitter?  We’d say no – but feel free to convince us!

Which businesses should be on LinkedIn?

All professionals should be on LinkedIn, as individuals. I also recommend all professional businesses to be on LinkedIn, though the effort you need to maintain your presence there is significantly less than other platforms.

Pinterest

At A Glance:

  • Pinterest has, in the past year, vaulted its way to the #3 spot as most popular social media platform
  • 21% of all US adults using it.
  • 84% of those users are female – which makes it the second most popular site by far for this demographic.

Screen_Shot_2014-06-03_at_10.48.59_AMPinterest’s demographics are interesting not just because it’s so astoundingly female-dominated, Pinterest also has the second-highest percentage of internet users in the 50,000+/year income bracket, and 34% of Pinterest users have a household income of 100,000+.

A report from Piqora in November found that the average Pin has a real-world value of 78 cents – making it by far the most valuable social media action that users can take. Whoa!

The same report found that each pin drove, on average, two website visits and six page-views. 

Which businesses should be on Pinterest?

Fashion, photographers, jewellers, home-hardware stores (DIY). The female-dominated, image-dominated facts of Pinterest make it easy for those brands which naturally lend-themselves in that direction, and very difficult for those brands which don’t.

Instagram

This social sharing site, which has 150 million users, now allows users to post 15 second videos.

At A Glace:

  • Coming up fast on Twitter is Instagram, with 17% of US adults on the site.
  • Interestingly with Instagram, though it’s the fifth-most-popular social media platform, it has the second-most devoted users.
  • Instagram is the only platform that is actually skewed towards blacks and Hispanics
  • 57% of users access the site on a daily basis, only 6 points behind Facebook, and 11% ahead of third-place Twitter.

Which businesses should be on Instagram?

Image-friendly businesses like restaurants, clothes and fashion, food, architecture, technology, designers, etc.

Because of the dominance of the 18-29 age group on Instagram, businesses with that target market should also be on the site

Google+

Google+ is ideal for content sharing. This platform boasts 400 million active users, which is slightly misleading as anyone with a Gmail account automatically has some sort of Google+ presence. 

At A Glance:

  • Google+ users are 67% male
  • The majority are in technical and engineering fields.
  • The average age, somewhat surprisingly, is 28.
  • Although the platform boasts 540 million users, only about 359 million are active 
  • The 45 to 54 year old bracket  increased its usage on Google+ by 56% since 2012

Which businesses should be on Google+?

Tech and engineering companies as well as marketing individuals. The top three brands on Google+ are Android, Mashable and Chrome, with Android leading the pack by a significant margin.

The majority businesses are still taking a “wait and see” approach from an inbound marketing standpoint, which makes it a great entry time.

Conslusion

Now we hope that you have a better idea of the ins and outs of the top 6 social networks. We recommend that you find the one to three platforms which provide the best ROI (time and money taken into account) and commit to it. As always though – these will statistics will be ever fluxuating, so do your research and watch these platforms develop. Remember, social media is only one element in the numerous ways you can turn your website into a marketing machine.