If we had a nickel for every person who gave their two cents on how to “improve” a social media strategy, we’d be doing better than a gun store after a Trump rally (I'm from Alabama; I can say that). Social media can be a powerful tool when used correctly. It can also be a huge waste of time (and money) for business owners looking to establish their brand. From years of studies and experience, we’re here to tell you the single most important fact about business and social media. Are you ready?

There is no “one size fits all” approach. To find your fit, start by determining who you’re trying to sell to. For example, if you want to reach busy moms who need to buy your revolutionary purse organizer, you likely won't find them sending selfies on Snapchat or binge watching YouTube videos. Studies show if you’re looking to reach moms with young kids, you’ll find them on Facebook or Pinterest during nap time or when the kids are down for the night.

If you only have the time and energy to focus on one social media platform, focus on the one where your target market on. Here are your Reader’s Digest demographics for each platform based on the latest research:

Facebook:

  • The most popular, but not the most business-friendly.
  • 1.59 billion users.
  • Slightly more women than men.
  • A majority of users are 18 to 29 years old, with a close second being 35 to 44.
  • A majority live outside North America, but 71% of American online adults use Facebook.
  • A majority have had some post-secondary education.
  • A majority have incomes over $50,000.

Instagram:

  • Visually based and business friendly.
  • 400 million users.
  • Equal parts male and female.
  • A majority of users are 18 to 29 years old.
  • North America and Russia.
  • A majority have at least a high school education.
  • A majority have an annual income of over $50,000.

Twitter:

  • Text-based and business friendly.
  • 80 million users (as of March 2016).
  • Slightly more men than women.
  • A majority of users are 18 to 29 years old.
  • Top ten active countries (in order): USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, France, India, South Africa.
  • A majority of users have incomes over $50,000.
  • A majority have had some secondary education.

Snapchat:

  • Visually based and business friendly.
  • 100 million users.
  • 70% female, 30% male.
  • A majority are 13 to 24 years old.
  • Most active country: North America.
  • A majority of users have (or have access to) incomes of over $50,000.

Pinterest:

  • Text and visually based; extremely business friendly.
  • 67 million users.
  • Mostly women.
  • A majority of users are between the ages of 18 and 29, with a close second between 30 and 49.
  • A majority of users are in North America, with a close second from the UK.
  • A majority have incomes of over $60,000.
  • A majority have had some secondary education.

LinkedIn:

  • Profile based, business friendly.
  • 414 million “users” (but only 35 million are active monthly.)
  • A majority are male.
  • A majority are equal parts 30 to 49 or 50 to 64.
  • Almost entirely in North America or India.
  • Dominated by higher education.
  • A majority of users have incomes of over $75,000.

It’s clear that there is more to social media than cool posts and engagement. Which platform you’re using and what times you're posting all make a huge difference. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. Start with one platform you’re familiar with and give it a spin. When you’re ready for the next level, we’re here to help.

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