What social media channels are right for your business?

Heather Wall - July 27, 2009

Social Media is a necessary part of any company’s online marketing strategy.  Businesses just starting to investigate social media have to determine what social media channels fit best.  Each channel requires a different amount of invested time to manage and promote.  Also, some social media channels cater to certain types of demographics and types of content.  Audience can vary greatly depending on the channel.  In order to help you through the process of learning what channels fit, read below, as it will offer some high level perspective in selecting which channels might make the most sense for your organization.

Facebook-Has a very impressive amount of users-over 250 million users monthly.  2/3 of those users are out of college, and the fastest growing demographic currently is females over 55. Average incomes among FaceBookers are: 25% at 30k-60K, 29% 60k-100k, and 29% 100k+.  FaceBook’s audience is worldwide, with 50 supported translated languages.  About 75 million users are in the United States, and 175 million users are logging in internationally. If you want to reach the widest amount of users, with all kinds of interests, ages and professions, this channel is definitely the place to be.  FaceBook does require a person being in charge of updating the page often, and responding to inquiries.  Typically, this channel would need 2-3 hours weekly to promote, update, and respond to inquiries for a small to midsize business.  To make the channel more engaging, having collateral such as pictures and videos are great.  If you have a web developer, creating widgets & applications is a definite plus, but not necessary. 

Myspace-Has around 120 million users, of which 62 million are in the United States.  Over the past year or so, MySpace has been losing ground to FaceBook.  While this channel still has a very large audience, it is much younger overall, so products geared to tweens, teens, and young adults will have more success in this channel.  6% of users are 18-34 and 27% of users are 12-17 years of age.  MySpace has about 14% more females than males, and 56% of users have no college background, while the other 44% have some college, or graduate college.   The average incomes are spread pretty evenly, with 22% making under 30k, 27% making 30k-60k, and 26% making 60k-100k.  This channel also requires 2-3 hours weekly to promote, update and respond to inquiries for small to mid-size business.  Marketing collateral such as pictures and videos are wonderful ways to enhance user engagement in this channel.  

Twitter-Has about 27 million users, and is one of the fastest growing social media sites.  45% of users are male.  There are about as many users with a college degree as those having not attended college.  43% of users are 18-34, where 31% are 35-49, and 19% are 50+.  Average incomes in Twitter are 29% 30k-60k, 25% 60k-100k, and 26% making 100k+.  The Twitter platform is very different when compared to FaceBook or MySpace.  Twitter is a micro blogging site, and requires constant updating, pretty much all day long, so having dedicated resources to this channel is a must!  Pictures and Video content for Twitter aren’t really ideal, as this is a site all about sharing text content quickly. Twitter has been popular among news media since spreading information through Twitter is instantaneous.  If you have information you want to share quickly, this is a great resource to use to reach your audience.

YouTube-Has about 550 million visits each month, with 72.5 million users logging in.  A lot of YouTube visits aren’t found on YouTube’s own website. Instead people find videos in Google search results, or videos uploaded to websites from Google.  YouTube claims visitors are 50% female/50% male. 52% of users either have college education, or completed graduate school, while 48% haven’t attended college.  Statistics seem pretty even all the way around; even average incomes are spread very evenly.  YouTube is a very powerful social media channel, but serves a very specific purpose: video content.  This channel is great for someone who has video assets at their disposal, and/or has plans to start creating video content.  This channel can be more expensive and time consuming, since video production time is both expensive and takes time; that is unless the company is already producing video content.  In those situations just uploading existing content them to this channel would certainly be ideal if you want to get your videos in front of as many people as possible.

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