Establishing a strong presence on social media can increase brand awareness and audience engagement, both of which will help grow your business. Knowing this, the impulse may to be to tackle every existing and emerging platform, but as with many things, when it comes to social media, more is not always more. To be effective, a business must invest time and money into developing content for each platform and few companies have unlimited resources to devote to social media marketing.
Every social network is not necessarily a good fit for every business. Each platform has a different key demographic and style of content. To help choose the social media networks that your business will benefit from the most, here is a rundown of the demographics and chief characteristics of the top five platforms and examples of companies that are excelling at them.
Facebook is far and away the largest social network, reporting over 1.3 billion users, and over 71 percent of all adults online. Facebook is most popular with women and among people aged 18-29. Kevan Lee of Buffer dubbed Facebook a kitchen sink network, meaning that it works with any type of content, whether photographs, videos, or written. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, any business can benefit from a Facebook page, although the goal of a business Facebook account should not be sales. Instead, Facebook is best for building brand loyalty and reputation through personal stories and testimonials about your business.
Bonobos is a good example of a company getting a good return on investment with Facebook. Bonobos maintains an active blog page that offers men’s fashion advice. By offering valuable original content, Bonobos generates user feedback and new customer contacts.
Twitter has over 255 million active monthly users, or about 18 percent of adults online. Twitter is more popular with higher income adults aged 18-29. Twitter is another kitchen-sink network, albeit in 140-character chunks. Twitter is more “in the moment” and is best used for breaking news, promoting products, and collecting instant feedback.
LifeLock is an example of a well-managed Twitter page. Not only does the company use the platform to provide links to useful content on identity protection, introduce products, and employ hashtags to engage in conversations about industry-related topics, but LifeLock also uses the platform to quickly respond to customer concerns and inquiries.
Already boasting more than 200 million active monthly users, Instagram is the fastest growing social media network, particularly among young adults. Instagram is an image-based platform and therefore is most useful for businesses with a visual component, such as food, entertainment, retail and beauty products. Instead of glossy photo-spreads, Instagram users connect with companies that feature behind-the-scenes and candid images.
For example, the upscale clothing company Burberry has become a popular Instagram account because it consistently features beautiful pictures from the sets of its campaign shoots and cool images from around London.
LinkedIn has 187 million monthly users who are largely between the ages of 30-49. LinkedIn is a professional networking site and therefore is most useful for employee recruitment and business-to-business connections. LinkedIn is useful for establishing industry expertise by sharing blog posts or articles. Coca-Cola has had success on LinkedIn by sharing content from its digital magazine related to business innovation, jobs and workplace issues.
The millions of YouTube users skew younger, although a popular YouTube video has the potential to be shared on multiple platforms, exposing it to an even wider audience. If your business has the ability to produce well-edited videos, with content beyond television advertisements, YouTube can be a powerful tool.
Starbucks is a great example of a brand successfully tapping into YouTube’s potential. The Starbucks channel includes videos on how Starbucks sources its coffee, interviews with Starbucks employees and exclusive videos with popular musicians.