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Digital Mums Week 2 #SocialDoneRight: How to choose the right social networks for your business

Week 2 #SocialDoneRight: How to choose the right social networks for your business

We all love choice. But with so many social networks out there, how do you even begin to decide which ones are best for your business? Are Facebook and Instagram the right ones to reach your customers? Or is LinkedIn a better fit for you and your objective? Not only that, how MANY should you be on? Choice is great… but when it comes to social media it can be pretty overwhelming.

So that's why we want to give you the low down on all the key platforms. We don't want to teach you to suck eggs but we think it's pretty important to have the key information all in one place.

What happens in 60 seconds on social media is pretty mind blowing. With so much activity if you pick the wrong social networks you are likely to become the one thing you NEVER want to be: invisible. As our co-founder Kathryn Tyler says: “picking the right social networks is critical - and these need to be the platforms where your target audience and customers are already hanging out. Luckily for you, if you’ve followed our blog series you’ll have done the hard work already… you’ll know from your User Personas exactly who your audience segments are. This means you are in a perfect position to select the right channels for your business."

So here’s the Digital Mums lowdown on the biggest social networks out there...

FACEBOOK

  • Launched in 2004
  • Has 1 billion daily active users
  • 45 million SMEs use Facebook Pages

Businesses create a page instead of a profile, which acts as a kind of homepage within Facebook. Brands can post updates, share photos, and respond to messages from the people who have liked their page.

Who's on it

Nearly half of the UK population (43%) have a Facebook account with five new profiles created globally every second. Users are roughly 50/50 men and women. An incredible 82% of internet users aged 18-29 are on Facebook. It’s growing in popularity with older generations as well with 67% of internet users aged 50-64 on there.

Why it's great for business

Because Facebook is so widely used, potential customers expect brands to be there too and will often search for a Facebook page if they want to know more about a company or product. Customers and potential customers can 'like' a brand's page for updates, ask questions directly by sending a message, and easily share content from the page on their profile so that it appears in their friends' feeds. This is a great way to spread brand awareness.

TWITTER

  • Launched in 2006
  • 320 million monthly active users
  • 350,000 tweets are sent every minute

Twitter is an exciting, fast-moving stream of content and conversation meaning you can speak directly with your potential customers in a casual way. You are limited to 140 characters per tweet but can still share links, images and video clips as part of it.

Who's on it

Twitter has 15 million active users in the UK, and 65% are under the age of 34. The audience is split roughly 49% men and 51% women with over 400 million tweets sent daily.

Why it's great for business

The average Twitter user follows five or more businesses, and over a third will buy from a brand they follow. It's great for engagement as you can host tweet chats, share podcasts and other created content. Twitter is key for good customer service as it allows you to answer questions or respond to issues. It's useful for social listening, to find out what people are saying about your brand or your competitors.

INSTAGRAM

  • Launched in 2010
  • 400 million active monthly visitors
  • 80 million photos shared every day

This is the place to create and share photos and short videos and subscribe to pages curated by friends, celebrities and businesses.

Who’s on it

About a third of adults use Instagram and just over half of internet users aged 18-29 are on the channel. Women are more likely than men to use it.

Why it’s great for business

It’s one of the fastest growing social networks. In 2015 brands spent around £425 million on Instagram and the projected ad spend by 2017 is a whopping £1.4billion. Although Instagram is harder to use to immediately ‘sell’ anything (for the moment at least), it’s great to set the tone of your brand or business, tell your story, reinforce your brand and build impressions.

PINTEREST

  • Launched in 2010 but invite only until 2012
  • 100 million active users
  • 93% of pinners shopped online in the past month

Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool. Users add pins to virtual pinboards, either by uploading their own images, re-pinning a photo posted by another user, or using the Pinterest browser button. You can also follow a pinboard so that you can see, like and comment on new pins.

Who's on it

Over 80% of users are women and it's most popular among 35-54 years old users. Currently around half of all users are based in the US, although international traffic is increasing.

Why it's great for business

A massive 93% use Pinterest to plan a purchase while 2 million people save product pins every day . Most Pinterest users create aspirational pinboards, collecting images of places they would like to go and products they would like to own. This is a golden opportunity for businesses as users are browsing the site with a consumer mindset. One study showed that 70% Pinterest users use the site to find inspiration for what to buy, and 83% of active users prefer to follow a brand than a notable celebrity.

LINKEDIN

  • Launched in May 2003
  • Over 400 million users - 1 in 3 professionals has a LinkedIn profile
  • More than 3 million companies have LinkedIn pages

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network. You can create personal profiles, company pages and also Showcase Pages focused on particular products or events you want to promote.

Who’s on it

Around 67% of users are aged 25-54. The largest age group is 35-54 and over 75% work at companies with more than 1,000 employees. For once there are slightly more men than women - 56% compared to 44%.

Why it’s great for business

LinkedIn’s major advantage is it being an exclusively business-orientated site - a natural platform for B2B marketers. It’s also an obvious place to establish yourself or your business as thought leaders. Pulse is a great place to share content with a very targeted business audience.

SNAPCHAT

  • Launched in 2011
  • Currently has 100 million daily active users
  • More than 8 billion video views every day

You can create and send ‘Snaps’ that are viewable for between 1-10 seconds before they are automatically deleted. From a business point of view, it’s the ultimate story-telling platform: the Snapchat Story feature lets you string together a series of Snaps to create a story which is available for 24 hours.

Who’s on it

It’s traditionally been viewed as a social network for ‘the kids’ - 45% of users are aged 18-24. But things are changing. Fast. 40% of users are now over 25 years old and 62% of users earn over £34,000 which means they have spending power.

Why it’s great for business

Snapchat has been quietly growing and is now a very real competitor to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in terms of business opportunities. While there’s still a LOT of confusion from many about how Snapchat actually works, many big brands including ASOS, Mulberry, Amazon and Audi are using it effectively. Yet it’s just as useful for SMEs because it’s a great tool for promoting events, giving sneak peeks from behind the scenes and also launching new products or sharing discounts. Snapchat launched their ‘on demand’ service in February, charging users for personalised geofilters which businesses can create and then sell.

DIGITAL MUMS TIPS ON PICKING THE RIGHT PLATFORM FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Co-founder Nikki Cochrane says, “Base it on where your customers are, not where YOU want to be. Just because you like Instagram for example, doesn’t mean your target audience does. Look at your User Personas and be led by them.”

Co-founder Kathryn Tyler says, “Don’t spread yourself too thin. Small businesses in particular need to make sure they don't try to run too many social networks at once. My top tip is just make the most from the platforms that will work best for your business.”

Head of Growth Richard Miranda says, “Pick platforms that allow you to listen to your audience. This is incredibly valuable in how you then talk to them and the messages you share.”

THE SOCIAL NETWORKS THAT WORK FOR US

We asked three SMEs that we have worked with which platforms work best for them:

Dr Anatole Menon-Johansson, SXT Health CIC: "We always assumed we would concentrate on Twitter and Facebook but our Digital Mum, Emma Sayce, recommended LinkedIn as we were targeting a professional audience. A year down the line, we actually have more followers on Linkedin, and in many ways it does better for us than Twitter. We know we have a quality audience on there who are very receptive to our messages when they are in 'work mode.'"

Zoe Mayson, The Supply Haven: "It was clear when our Digital Mum Clare Williams created the detailed user personas that my target audience was very active on Facebook. Key to our success was finding interesting and relevant curated content to share - this saw follower numbers increase by 475% in just 8 weeks!"

Rebecca Powell, Playful Little Places: "My target audience was busy mums and Digital Mum, Martha Hawkins advised we needed to be active on Twitter. Being on the platform has seen me go from 0 to more than 1600 followers in 8 weeks. Not only that, I've taken part in lots of parenting tweet chats, raising my brand awareness even further, and made great new links with parenting bloggers."

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