You may be surprised to know that, although social media is a current buzz word, that this type of communication as been around since 1969, when CompuServe used technology known as dial-up to connect to the web. It wasn’t until decades later that “friendster,” “MySpace” and the earliest social networking sites took off with the dawn of the new millennium. Today, social media platforms have evolved from fun places to share news and photos with friends into networking spheres and effective advertising tools that are critical to the growth and success of small business. With the growing importance of social media, businesses can not afford to ignore this critical marketing tool, but they also can not invest time and money into every social network. So how can businesses decide which platform is the best fit for their business needs?
Here is a brief overview of the top social networking sites and details about each that may help make your decision about which platform is the best choice for your unique brand.
Facebook- Facebook is the largest of all social media platforms which is great if you are hoping to reach a large volume of people. Businesses can easily share relevant content, speak directly to their viewers and receive feedback from them. Since it is such a busy marketplace you will need to monitor your page carefully and find a way to be heard over your competition. Getting Started on Facebook
- Audience Reach – 1 billion registered users (33% of ALL internet users worldwide) and 699 million daily active users (23% of all internet users worldwide)
- Audience Breakdown – 25 to 34 year olds take up 29.7% of the users.
Facebook users are 53% women and 47% male.
Twitter – Branded as “texting for the internet,” Twitter is a place where businesses can create brand awareness, gain followers and promote content. Using short, 140 character text messages, Twitter allows companies to reach all of its followers something Facebook’s algorithm does not allow. Getting Started on Twitter
- Audience Reach – 650 million users.
- Audience Breakdown – Evenly split between the sexes, favored by college graduates, younger users (15 – 25 year olds) and those who earn $75,000+ a year.
LinkedIn – Touted as the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn offers valuable opportunities for business professionals and Business-to-Business companies a chance to get their message in front of the right people. Credible connections are made using company and personal profiles that can be accessed by others in your field or parallel markets. Getting Started on LinkedIn
- Audience – There are 300 million people using LinkedIn.
- Audience Breakdown – 50/50 split by gender, tends to be business professionals
Google + – This social platform is often compared to Twitter and Facebook. Google Hangouts is a great place to start talking with people and many businesses use it to keep in contact with employees as well as customers. With extras such as Communities, Circles, and the increase in SEO, Google + can be a great choice for industry professionals, bloggers and photographers. Getting Started on Google+
- Audience – 550 million active monthly users.
- Audience Breakdown – Mostly men use Google+ and it attracts professionals such as students, technology industry professionals, bloggers and photographers.
YouTube – Known as the video-sharing social media platform, YouTube allows users to upload, share and view videos. As of the Fall of 2014, YouTube is the third most popular site, behind Google and Facebook. 90% of customers of online retailers say that they find videos useful in making purchasing decisions. Getting Started on YouTube
- Audience – 100 million unique visitors every month.
- Audience Breakdown – 54% of people who use YouTube are male and 37% are between 18 – 34.
Pinterest – Pinterest is a visual content sharing social platform. Retailers, craftspeople, and mostly women use Pinterest to create and collect content as a sort of portfolio. Getting Started on Pinterest
- Audience – 70 million active monthly users. 47.7% percent of shoppers say that content they’ve seen on Pinterest has inspired holiday gift purchases.
- Audience Breakdown – 80% of Pinterest users are women. In addition, Pinterest users tend to have a higher income.
Instagram – Instagram is a photo and video sharing platform that allows users to share their photos with other users. Videos can be filtered and altered depending on the style the photographer chooses. Getting Started on Instagram
- Audience – 5 million US. Internet users access it at least once a month (and that’s with 60% of Instagram users being outside of the U.S!)
- Audience Breakdown – 37% of all users are 18 –29 and 68% are female.
Houzz – Houzz is an online community about architecture, interior design and decorating, landscape design and home improvement. Founded in 2009, Houzz is a platform and mobile app featuring interior and exterior home photos, articles written by architects, interior designers and home design experts, product recommendations, and a user forum. Getting Started on Houzz
- Audience – 25 Million + monthly unique visitors
- Audience Breakdown – designers, graphic artists, architects and photographers are the main users of this social media