When it comes to social media, there is such a wide variety of sites to choose from and it is critical you understand the best ones for your business, we look at 5 specific social networks businesses must consider. Social media can impact your business whether it is used effectively or ineffectively, however it is important to remember that being on social media doesn’t guarantee sales. Your social media strategy should be focused on increasing brand awareness and give the user the opportunity to become a customer if they so wish. Shouting about your business will simply put your business at a disadvantage. Therefore, tailoring your social media strategy to your business ethos is critical, choosing which platforms are best for your target audience and demographic. This brings the large potential to optimise these profiles and take full advantage of all the features on the most relevant and connect with potential customers. When it comes to using social media platforms to enhance your businesses audience and opportunities you have a range to choose from, the top 5 to consider are detailed below.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a more formal platform that is critical for your business to be on, as you have the ability to connect with previous colleagues and like other sites have a business page to link to. The demographic for LinkedIn is varied however the most common is those aged between 30-49, if this is your target demographic then it is important to have a strong active profile on the site. LinkedIn has built a strong reputation for the content that is regularly shared, it is less about what you have for dinner, like other sites and much more industry-centric. You can often find tips and tricks or industry secrets, offering this content to users will make your page and therefore your business more appealing.  LinkedIn is particularly good when it comes to sharing the facts and appealing to well-connected business people. The platform has recently become more popular with the younger generation as a result of connecting many university and college friends together, who can help connect with potential jobs. The site has a whole separate functionality for recruitment businesses which has also contributed to the increased take up in millennials. If you are not already on LinkedIn and you think it could suit your business, then it is important to optimise and personalise your page with logos, team photos and posting relevant content for the audience.

Facebook

Facebook is potentially the bread and butter social network site, with billions of users, in the first quarter of 2016 it reported 1.65billion monthly active users. Being so popular Facebook offers many opportunities for helping businesses to expand their awareness and reach new users. Facebook has many different capabilities when it comes to the opportunities for a business to promote their business, including how interactive the site is as a result of the like, share, react buttons and the comment boxes. Current customers can “follow” your page and then receive any updates you share, especially if you wanted to do a Facebook special offer. Having links to Facebook pages on websites can allow customers to follow a path to your page and then follow to be aware of any of your news updates. Another great opportunity that Facebook offers is the array of targeted advertising capabilities, the specifics on what you can target are endless, think above and beyond the standard demographics. There are multiple content sharing dimensions including status updates, photo/videos and live broadcasting which is their most recent addition which allows you to sharwith users exactly what you are doing in real time. The biggest demographic on Facebook is those aged between 25-24, therefore tailoring your posts to meet the needs of the demographic can make the posts more successful.

Tumblr

Tumblr is a great social media platform for your business if your target audience is of a younger demographic as nearly half of Tumblr’s users are aged between 16-24. Tumblr is an ideal platform if you have a more laid back approach as the short-form blogging platform offers something unique compared to the other networks. Humour stands out specifically well on the site and encourages your brand to take on more relaxed style and truly embrace your brand personality. There are many extras that make Tumblr a fantastic platform to use for your business, with the use of “tags” it allows users to easily navigate and find relevant posts, it is critical if you use Tumblr to tag your content. Tumblr has over 420 million users therefore the potential to connect with users who have interests in your brand or in surrounding subjects is enviable. Creating a striking Tumblr profile means not simply talking about yourself but creating relationships and interacting with other users and reblogging relevant posts from other users to display on your page. Tumblr creates the opportunity to be much more open with the content you create, especially the prospect of sharing, on this platform a long blog may not prove successful, ironic for a so-called blogging site. You will find that images, videos and GIF’s are the most regurgitated content and the best way of creating awareness of your brand without being too commercial or forceful with your brand.

Instagram

Instagram is a highly engaged community with over 500 million active accounts on the platform. Over 90% of the users on Instagram are under the age of 35 therefore if you believe that having a strategy on Instagram would be beneficial for your business expect a younger demographic than other sites. Instagram offers a truly unique way to share your images and videos including the opportunity to filter your content. The platform is also perfect for advertising your brand, allowing you the ability to move and motivate users through emotion, inspiring users to see your business differently. Instagram replicates that of other networks with the ability to comment, like or direct message other users, it has also created a fantastic advertising opportunity. Where specifically designed Instagram campaigns can appear no intrusively in users feeds. Some of the largest businesses are active on Instagram and are successfully interacting with users and growing their client base, these include brands like Coca Cola, Audi, John Lewis and T-Mobile. This just goes to show that with 300 million daily active users your content will be likely to connect with the audience. Instagram has expanded to not only post specific posts on Instagram but there are unique apps that offer you help on the platform. Iconosquare is a notable app for businesses as this app allows you to track your followers, discover who is unfollowing you, who’s not following you back and also find out which of your posts are most popular to your audience so that you can post more of these in future.

Twitter

It was reported earlier this year that over 310 million people use the popular social media platform, Twitter. The social network allows you to post a large variety of different content including short 140-character text updates, videos, images, links and most recently GIF’s. Twitter has a fantastic niche of interacting with users all over the world, whether that is mentioning their usernames in posts, relying to individual user’s tweets or directly private messaging them. Twitter can be used effectively for business awareness, due to the wide reach Twitter is a great way to market your business and communicate with existing and potential customers. Twitter have several special features including heart, comment, retweet, mention, direct message and trending hashtags. It is important that you take full advantage of these features as they can help increase your Twitter following and awareness. Although Twitter is a free platform you can pay to promote your account with a range of advertising options. These include promoted tweets, promoted accounts and promoted trends. Just like the other social media platforms Twitter has a number of third-party apps that you can use to manage your tweets. One of the main ones being, TweetDeck allows you to customise your feed, track hashtags and schedule tweets in advance, this is something that you can’t do on Twitter itself.