How do I decide on which social networks to use?

Clearly you want to use a network that’s used by your target audience (as defined in your social media strategy).  For each network ask yourself:

  • Who is using it?
  • What are they using it for?
  • When are they using it?
  • Where are they using it (mobile vs. desktop)?
  • Why are they using it?
  • How long are they using it for?
  • Are these people potential customers?
  • Do they have the ability to influence your potential customers?
  • What types of content do these users like to share?

LinkedIn

Launched in 2003 LinkedIn is mainly used for professional networking. As of January 2013, LinkedIn reports more than 200 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories and membership grows by approximately two new members every second.  There are approximately 11 million are from the UK.

It’s the best B2B network for generating business and as it’s main purpose is for professional network, the average household income (estimated at approx. £67,000) is considerably higher than that of say The Times reader (£42,000).

LinkedIn stats in 2012 showed that 59% of users are male and 41% are female.

79% of LinkedIn users are 35 or older.  LinkedIn has the oldest user base, with the average user being 44.2 years old.

With statistics like that it’s hardly surprising more and more financial planners are setting up joining this network.

Financial Planner

 

Number of Profiles

 

Percentage Rise

Date

Globally

UK

Months

Globally

UK

March 14, 2011

92,120

5000

January 26, 2012

130,871

6,264

10

42%

25%

September 14, 2012

163,778

8,297

11

25%

32%

January 20, 2013

185,334

9,611

4

13%

16%

Financial Adviser

 

Number of Profiles

 

Percentage Rise

Date

Globally

UK

Months

Globally

UK

January 26, 2012

62,613

8,316

September 14, 2012

82,888

11,295

11

32%

36%

January 20, 2013

97,369

13,710

4

17%

21%

Twitter

Launched in July 2006 the service rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with over 500 million registered users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day.

Twitter plays an active role in purchasing decisions.
42% of Twitter users rely on this channel to learn about new products/services, and 41% of them share opinions about products/services via Twitter.

55% of Twitter users are 35 or older.  The average Twitter user is 37.3 years old.

Used correctly twitter can be such a powerful tool in driving traffic to your website in communicating with your clients and prospects in a timely basis.   It’s a relationship-building and relationship maintenance tool; the most obvious business use of Twitter is to meet potential customers and leads the same way you would at networking event or tradeshow.

As more of the news breaks on twitter before it hits the main stream media Journalists are using twitter to find their news stories and sources these days, it’s a great barometer for public sentiment.

Facebook

Launched in February 2004 initially to Harvard students Facebook then rolled out to other University students before opening to high school students, and eventually to anyone aged 13 and over.

Facebook is the giant of social networks reaching one billion active users in September 2012, of which half of them use a mobile device to access their account.  The giant supports over 4 million business pages and generated over £2.4 billion in advertising revenue in 2011.

A Page is a place to house all the pertinent information about your company. They’re so useful because you can include everything that relates to your business in one place with a built-in potential audience.

65% of Facebook users are 35 or older.  The average Facebook user is 40.5 years old.  Independent figures show people looked at more pages and spent more time on Facebook (April 2012) than on any other site in the world (including Google).

Have a plan for engaging your fans: Who’s going to do the posting? Do they have any experience in this? How often will they post?  Have you planned out 30 to 90 daily posts yet for the coming weeks?

Grow targeted fans that are realistically good potential clients and influencers for your company: Don’t just go for numbers.

Google Plus

Launched in June 2011 G+ is a social network that allows users and brands to share status updates, links, images, and videos. users can comment, share, and support (+1) these interactions.

As of December 2012, it has a total of 500 million registered users of whom 235 million are active on a monthly basis.

As of January 2012, American users spent an average of 3.3 minutes on Google+. (eMarketer) compare that to facebook users who spend an average of 14 minutes a day on the site.

Two of the biggest user groups on Google+ are college students and software developers. (Remcolandia) with 63% of it’s users being male.

Google+ like facebook allows you to create both a personal and business profile and the site boasts a multitude of functions that many businesses aren’t currently taking advantage of.  To make sure your business page shows up for searches on keywords for which you want to rank, maintain a regularly updated google+ business page and optimize your updates with those keywords.

Pinterest

Launched in March 2010 Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies, and more

It’s now the 3rd most popular social network in the U.S. in terms of traffic. (Experian).  Dominated by the female demographic.   Of its estimated 10.4 million users, 80% are female.

Nearly 30% are between the ages of 25 and 34.  63% of Pinterest users are 35 or older, with the average user spending nearly 98 minutes a day perusing the site.

The top interests on Pinterest in the U.S. include crafts, gifts, hobbies/leisure, interior design, and fashion designers/collections. (Ragan.com).

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