When approaching the social media space some companies have to wonder what networks they should be on. It can be a very difficult process to determine where the company should focus their resources for the best return on investment. Whilst a company does not necessarily have to be on every single social network out there (for instance few would bother signing up for the new app.net until it gets a few more users) they do have to have somewhat of an online presence. 

There are two primary social networks where brands should focus their time and money: Facebook and Twitter. These two networks have the best return on investment and the best way for them to reach their customers. With Facebook’s billion plus users it is an obvious decision for any brand to spend a few minutes creating their own Facebook page to hopefully tap into that market. If a brand does not have a Facebook page then they risk alienating a younger generation of customers who like to extend their shopping experience beyond a simple brick and mortar​ store. The majority of people ‘friend’ a brand on Facebook because they know that doing so will hopefully lead to coupons, discounts and specials that they would otherwise be unaware of. More than 60% of Facebook users have friended a brand on Facebook because they were recommended the page by a friend. This means that your business is more likely to grow if you have a Facebook page. But remember that you have to keep updating regularly and they must be engaging posts. Otherwise it’s far too easy for a friend to become an enemy. 

 

But what about Twitter? Twitter CEO Dick Costello said recently that the biggest misconception about the microblogging service was that you had to tweet to use Twitter. ​One would think that for a service that survives in 140 character increments they would put some emphasis on people tweeting. In fact only 60% of people who have an account with Twitter use it to tweet. 100% of active users use it to listen. Twitter can easily replace RSS feeds as a news aggregator and is often the first thing that Twitter users check in the morning. More and more news services tweet the headline before they write and publish the story. In the day of 24 hour breaking news they need to get out the news thirty seconds before the competition. This means that that simply tweeting the headline will give them a leg-up when it comes to attracting readers.  

The biggest misconception is that you have to tweet to use Twitter

— Dick Costello – CEO of Twitter

​So brands have a natural inclination to be on Twitter because not only is that where the customers are but they’re also more than willing to listen. Previously I blogged about Customer Relations Management software and why it was important to listen to the customer regardless of their chosen social network. Twitter is a great place for customers to engage and berate (or request service) from their brand and it is a medium that is growing every day. 

​But what about other social networks? Other than the two titans (you’ll notice I’ve left aside Google+….I believe that Google+ will eventually find its feet but for the time being they’re not there yet) what other networks should you be on? Well it depends on the type of business you’re in and which customers you’re trying to attract. You should be on LinkedIn if you’re trying to attract social savvy employees. If you’re in the design business then you’ll most certainly want to be on Pinterest. This is a great service that allows brands to showcase their products and it is already being used by a few savvy companies to engage with their customers and to increase sales. 

Yet how do you know what social network you should be on? Well that’s the job of the community/social manager. Whilst new social networks are emerging every other day some of them simply pop up and then die quickly. It is not worth it to sign up to every single new network as it would simply be a waste of time and resources. Rather your social manager should investigate how they can utilise a social network and whether or not it would be a wise investment. Understand that there is no science to this and it all depends on whether or not the masses adopt the new social network. If your social manager gets it wrong then it may not necessarily be their fault….social networks die every day and some without warning. So keep investing in Facebook and Twitter, choose your additional social networks carefully, and keep an eye on the future because the next Facebook is currently being coded as we speak.