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How to Choose the Right Social Media Platform

When I started at 2017, I was given permission to make mistakes, to ask forgiveness rather than permission, to always test everything.

So I’d like to give you all some permission as well.

You have permission to pick and choose your social networks.

In fact, often times it may be best not to be on certain social networks, perhaps because of the time it takes to do social right or because your customer personas don’t fit with a particular network. When you’re choosing which social networks to be involved with, it’s okay to be picky.

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The next step is making an educated decision on which social networks to choose. There are a big number of factors that could weigh a decision for you. From demographics to research and a whole lot else in between, here is what we've found to help you choose your social networks.

The most popular social networks, by active users:

What the raw data can tell you about choosing a social network;

According to data pulled together by Digital Insights, here’s the breakdown for the social networks with the most monthly active users. You can check the Digital Insights blog for the overall number of users, too, although active users is likely to be a more meaningful metric when making decisions.

Social networks, ranked by monthly active users:

  1. Facebook: 1.28 billion

  2. Google+: 200 million

  3. Twitter: 600 million

  4. Instagram: 200 million

  5. LinkedIn: 600 million

  6. Pinterest: 70 million

You’ll notice that Facebook is far and away the most popular social network, with twice as many monthly active users as the runner-up. You’ll notice a Facebook-as-king theme running through much of these stats.

Relying solely on size can be dangerous. First off, consistent social network data is hard to find. The active user stats above show a 215 million user gap between Twitter and Pinterest, yet other stories can claim Pinterest is more popular than Twitter (the difference in reporting comes down to surveys vs. stats, as well as the definition of popularity).

Also, size does not exist in a vacuum. There are scores of other factors that could be just as valuable or more valuable as you decide which networks to join. In some cases, size might be a false indicator of whether or not you should be on a particular network.

  • Will more users mean more competition for attention?

  • Does the network fit your demographic?

  • Does your industry have a presence?

You can also judge the value of a social network based on how well it fits your content and strategy. If you create content that your audience loves, you’re likely to find your audience on social networks that love sharing your particular style of content—video, images, long-form, etc.

We broke down social networks into six different types, each with their own characteristics.

  1. Kitchen-sink networks: Twitter and Facebook

  2. Image-based networks: Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr

  3. Video networks: YouTube, Vimeo, Vine

  4. Business-focused networks: LinkedIn

  5. SEO and authorship networks: Google+

  6. Location-based networks: Foursquare, Yelp

If you've already chosen and not sure about how to market check our Social Media Marketing Package.

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