The world of social networking is exploding. Just a few years ago all you had to deal with were MySpace and Facebook. Now MySpace is falling off the radar screen but you have the additions of Twitter and LinkedIn – plus brand-new players Google+ and Pinterest. Do you have the time or money to market to all these different social networks? Even more important, do you need to market to all of them? Or are some social networks better suited for your business than others?
For many small businesses (and some larger ones, too), it may be difficult if not impossible to include all available social networks in your online marketing strategy. You may need to pick and choose which social networks on which to focus, in order to generate the most efficient results given your limited resources.
Evaluating the Social Networking Universe
As you’re probably well aware, more than a billion people worldwide connect with each other on a regular basis via social media. That's a huge potential customer base to tap into, and I'm not just talking about bleeding-edge technophiles; you'll find just about anyone online, from preteens to senior citizens, students to retirees, blue collar workers to high-level executives. It's truly a universal media.
Indeed, social media is becoming so mainstream that it's likely you'll find many of your existing customers already there, ready to hook up with you when you make the plunge. The question, though, is which social networks are they using?
Today there are a half-dozen major social mediaand lots of minor ones. The big players, as ranked by research firm eBizMBA in terms of unique monthly visitors, are as follows:
- Facebook, 750 million visitors
- Twitter, 250 million visitors
- LinkedIn, 110 million visitors
- MySpace, 70 million users
- Google+, 65 million users
- Pinterest, 20 million users (estimated)
Now, you may be surprised to see MySpace ranked this high (or on the list at all), and big-buzz sites like Google+ and Pinterest ranked so low. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should shift those funds you targeted for Google+ to MySpace, or drop Pinterest out of your strategy. There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding which social networks to target in your marketing plans.