Social Media Marketing is highly dynamic. Currently, there are countless places that a business can promote itself online socially. While many of these platforms have already become outdated to a seasoned online marketer, many of the basics remain unknown to the average business owner.

Understandably, business owners routinely have questions for us like:

Which social platforms does my business need to be on?
What should my business be posting on those platforms?
Should I use social media advertising?
Where should my advertising budget be allocated?

While the answers to these frequently asked questions may not vary significantly from one business to the next, it’s always important to keep the primary marketing objectives at the core of each decision. What works best for the online advertising of one business is not by default the best approach for another.

With that said, it is always beneficial to have some perspective on what is working for other marketers in your industry.

What Does Everyone Else Use?

In its most recent Industry Report, Social Media Examiner completed a survey of over 3,700 marketers to shed some light on how social media is being leveraged by all different types of businesses. The businesses surveyed were diverse–ranging from one employee to over 1000, spanning a wide variety of industries representing B2B sales channels as well as B2C.

Facebook chartSource: Social Media Examiner Industry Report 2015

Among those businesses surveyed, Facebook is currently the most commonly used platform at 93%. There were no serious surprises here with a the top seven comprised of:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Google+
  5. YouTube
  6. Pinterest
  7. Instagram

Digging deeper, it’s interesting to note that the participation rate on YouTube is significantly higher for larger businesses. Currently, 71% of businesses with 100+ employees are using YouTube, while the participation rates among smaller businesses is much lower.

Comparing 2014 to 2015, Instagram increased the most growing from 28% to 36% year-over-year.

So what can we take away from the data above? On one hand, it seems very straight forward. If we were to compare this list to another that ranked the social media platforms on the basis of users, it would look nearly identical, which makes sense. The more users, typically the more advertisers.

Does My Industry Make a Difference?

Participants in the survey were also asked to identify which single platform was the most important to their marketing strategy, and this was much more revealing.

chartSource: Statista

The first priority of any marketing effort is to identify the ideal audience, and secondly to identify the best avenues to connect with that audience. Based on the markets they are trying to engage, B2B and B2C marketers are going about things differently.

While Facebook still offers tremendous value to the B2B marketer, LinkedIn is currently favored among those targeting businesses. Among marketers targeting consumers, Facebook is still the overwhelming favorite.

What Does it All Mean?

From an advertising perspective, the reason these platforms are favored has everything to do with targeting flexibility.

For the B2B marketer, LinkedIn provides greater focus. With the ability to target by job title, or even by a specific company name in addition to basic demographics like geography, LinkedIn’s B2B targeting is very precise.

While Facebook also offers the ability to target by job title, it is more limited. One major advantage for Facebook though is remarketing which is not yet available on LinkedIn.

For the B2C marketer, Facebook is the obvious choice primarily because of it offers the best targeting options. Not only does Facebook give marketers access to the largest pool of potential consumers because it has the most users, but its vast amount of actionable demographic data currently provides marketers the most flexibility to reach exactly the right audience.

Lastly, as mentioned above, it’s important to build your strategy around your objectives, not the actions of others. Your social advertising will always be the most effective when you have clear goals and use ALL of the platforms that effectively support them.

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