Yesterday, I spoke on a social media panel and was asked a very good question; “What is the one social media platform my business needs on to get the biggest bang for my buck?” It is probably the number one thing that all the newbies in the social media realm want to know, and it’s not all together a bad question. It is a very expansive marketing field with plenty of bells and whistles that can be placed on your social media tab, so it can be easy to get overwhelmed. So how do you sort what you need from what just looks cool?

The answer is, it depends.

Every industry, and subsequently every company, is different. There is no turnkey solution to social media it all needs to be customized experience. If you find your audience, you will find your strategy. Each social media network has its own niche.

Here is the social media breakdown of the big four.

Facebook is the largest social media network out there with over 750 million users. Facebook is a good place to start just because of the vast number of people you can reach. Facebook also allows for customization for brand pages, this means your current branding strategy will not go to waste here.

Facebook users in my opinion are the most varied on any social network because of the amount on there. You can find anyone from your teenaged baby sitter to my 70 year old grandma on Facebook. This is important to know if you are interested in Facebooks targeted ads, which I highly recommend taking advantage of.

Twitter is the place for quick news. With only 140 characters to work with, Twitter can sometimes be a challenge. One thing Twitter allows your company to do is talk directly with a customer, even if they haven’t started following you yet. Many people use Twitter as a way to complain to the masses so if they are talking about your business or even a competitor you are able to swoop in and save the day. There is little customization on Twitter, basically all you can do is change the background and profile picture.

Twitter users are a younger crowd for the most part. There is more spam on Twitter than other networks so you will need to be ready to dig through posts to find what you need, but there are tools to help with that. If you have a business with ever changing specials, like a restaurant, Twitter would be good for you to get the word out quickly and have people share it.

LinkedIn is the grownups table of social networking. The main function of LinkedIn is for networking and growing your personal network which in turn could grow your business. There are business pages on LinkedIn but they offer limited functionality and limited customization. A great function to take advantage of here is the LinkedIn Ads. This will put your message in front of people who are in a business frame of mind.

LinkedIn is home to the corporate world and professional networking. The average age on LinkedIn is a little higher than the other networks so be sure you are planning your content here accordingly. LinkedIn is also a great way to keep your contact list updated.

Google+ is still relatively new to the social media game. Thought its numbers are growing, it is still a smaller network by comparison to some of the others mentioned. The big draw to Google+ lies in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Keyword rich content on Google+ is the best way to go, the Google integration alone is enough reason to be on this network. So far, there is very limited customization of the pages but there are other perks to the site such as the “hangout” feature. This feature allows up to 10 people to video chat as a group.

Google+ is made up of mainly people in the technology fields from what I have seen, but there are certainly other industries out there starting to take advantage of this new network. Sharing news and other articles is a great use for this network. It is has a great search function you should definitely check out.

There are countless other social networking sites and industry specific forums out there that could be useful in your social media strategy, but these are the big four. Choosing a network to start with all depends on your customers. If you find your customers, you will find your starting point. Most likely you will find you need a combination of a few or even all of these for your strategy.

If you need help putting together a social media strategy, let us know, we would be happy to help!

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