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Finding the right social network for your business

You need to know who frequents each social network to make it work for you

December 20, 2011

CALGARY, AB, Dec. 20, 2011/ Troy Media/ - Talk to some executives and they use the phrase ‘social media’ as if it is a homogenous monolith. Like every platform is the same, and they are all equally worthy of a corporation’s attention. That’s not the case.

Like every medium, you need to know who frequents each social network and to what extent.

Facebook vs. Twitter vs. LinkedIn

For example, Facebook’s advertising ‘wizard’ tells me 15.7 million Canadians over the age of 18 are on that social network. 8.1 million of them are women. Facebook claims to have more than 800 million users worldwide. In other words, it’s a safe bet whatever demographic you might want to reach is on Facebook.

Twitter, on the other hand, has over 300 million users according to Wikipedia with 50 million active daily. Last April, the Financial Post reported Canadian Twitter penetration at 18 per cent based on a comScore Inc. study, sixth in the world. Interestingly a June 2011 Pew Internet research report pegged Twitter penetration at 13 per cent of online Americans. All of which is to say that Twitter is relatively niche as compared to Facebook.

Not only that, but Twitter demographics skew a little older than some other networks, although Hollywood stars are changing that and attracting the younger set to Twitter. According to 2010 data gathered by DigitalSurgeons.com, the typical Twitter user is:

Female 26 – 34 years old In college Income $26,000 – $50,000 Outside the USA

While Twitter may be a niche network, the demographic is a desirable one; one might say a vocal, influential minority. Quick searches reveal hundreds of Canadian journalists and politicians on Twitter, for example.

Then there’s LinkedIn, the so-called ‘Facebook for grown ups’ although they prefer ‘the world’s largest professional network on the Internet’. At 135 million plus members (four million in Canada) they’re right. And LinkedIn attracts a coveted demographic. According to Quantcast.com global LinkedIn visitors are generally male, middle-aged, Asian, no kids, affluent and highly educated. In other words, educated white-collar decision makers.

Not all social networks the same

Treating all social networks the same would be a colossal marketing gaffe, yet many do just that. Looking for mainstream media attention? Try Twitter. Seeking soccer moms? Check Facebook. Headhunting executives? LinkedIn.

Luring people to your new page, site or community is hard. Taking your page to the platforms where they already hang out is much easier. The Internet is not about reaching everyone simultaneously. It’s about reaching small pockets of the appropriate people where they already are.

Doug Lacombe is president of Calgary social media agency communicatto. Find him on Twitter at @dblacombe.

This column is FREE to use on your websites or in your publications. However, Troy Media, with a link to its web site, MUST be credited.

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