There are several different social networks businesses can use, but whether you use them or not depends on your business, your target audience and many other contributing factors. Some of the most popular social networks include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+. There can be a lot of confusion within the business sector as to which social networks will best benefit your business, particularly if you don't have a social networking team to control and maintain it.
One of the main factors that will impact your social network choice is your target audience. The percentage of adults who use social networking sites is 74% as of January 2014, so if, for example, your business is fashion retail the best social network for you might be Instagram or Pinterest, as you can advertise your products through the use of images. Also, if your fashion business is aimed at 16-25 year olds, these networks are very popular within this age range, particularly within the female demographic.
Alternatively, if your business is a professional services firm or a consultancy of some kind, you will be much more likely to use LinkedIn or Twitter. These social networks are much more professional and are used to exchange information to potential clients or other businesses rather than to be used for advertising; every second two new members join LinkedIn! As this type of business is providing a service rather than a product, these channels are much more suitable for your needs and will appeal to your audience who are looking for information and news.
Your choice of social media network will also depend on your business objectives. For example if your primary business objective is to use social media for networking, LinkedIn will be your best choice as you can see other business events and can plan your own networking events based on what is currently on offer. On the other hand, if your primary business objective is to increase sales, Twitter may be a better option as you can promote your business by gaining followers, using hashtags which gain publicity and can result in an increase in customers and therefore sales and profit.
Understandably, many businesses are nervous of breaking into social media, considering the amount that can go wrong when it isn't planned or conducted correctly. However in the right hands and with the right strategy it can be massively beneficial for any business, especially in terms of return on investment as social media isn't as expensive as traditional advertising. Social media networks vary depending on the above factors and many more, so choosing the right channel can make a huge difference.