One of the challenges of being a self-employed consultant doing your own social media is that it takes time. While it would be nice to have the time to be active on all social networks, the reality is that you need to be selective about which ones you should participate in.
The most important thing to think about when choosing which social networks to be active on is to think about your ideal client. Who is the person that you are ultimately trying to reach? Once you have answered that question, you can look at the demographics of users for each platform to determine whether it’s of value for your business.
Here’s a quick rundown of 5 of the most popular social networks for business and who the users are (see this great infographic on Mashable for details):
- Facebook: With 845 million users and counting, Facebook is the word’s largest social network (it’s expected to exceed 1 billion users later this year). Women make up the majority of users (57% vs. 43%). For a site that was started for college students, Facebook users are now much older, with 46% of all users being at least 45 years old.
- Google+: Google+ is the social network that Google launched last year. In contrast to Twitter and Facebook, the majority of users tend to be male (71% vs. 29%), young (50% of all Google+ users are under 24 years of age), and technically-oriented (common careers include engineers, developers, and designers).
- LinkedIn: This is the world’s largest professional network, with over 150 million users. It’s fairly evenly split between men and women, and 50% of all users have at least a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree.
- Pinterest: Pinterest is the new kid on the social networking block that has really taken off this year. Users tend to be largely female (82% of all users earlier this year were women, though the gender gap appears to be closing) with 86% having at least some college education.
- Twitter: This microblogging service has over 127 million users. As with Facebook, women make up the majority of users, 59% vs. 41% of the male users, and 58% of all users are at least 35 years old.
When thinking about whether you should be on one of these platforms, think about who you’re trying to reach. If the client you’re trying to reach matches the demographics of that platform, then by all means you should give careful consideration to participating there.
For example, if your ideal client consists of business professionals, then you should definitely be on LinkedIn. If your ideal client consists of women (particularly over the age of 35), then don’t ignore Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. If you’re targeting young male users (particularly those with technical interests), you should consider participating on Google+.
However, when participating on social networks, it’s also important to keep in mind that it will take up some of your most valuable resource – time. If you don’t have the time to maintain active profiles on all of them, consider just doing one.
Which social networks does your business participate on? Leave links to your profiles in the comments below.