Given the growing number of web users dabbling in social media today, we’ve reached a point where having some sort of business presence is a must. But trying to create – and ultimately maintain – an identity on every social channel? Not the most effective strategy.

So how do you determine which platforms are best for your business?

For starters, do some research to see where your customers are the most active. Once you know which channels your target audience is frequenting, identify the ones that meet a few other criteria as well: they help you communicate your message and achieve your business goals.

This could result in a number of social combinations. Perhaps you put a focus on developing new sales leads (LinkedIn) or serving as a go-to source for the latest news in your industry (Twitter). Maybe it’s promoting your products or services in a more visual-friendly fashion (Pinterest, Instagram) or creating buzz through a video series (YouTube). Whatever the case, consider the channels that most closely align with your objectives first and push any others down on the list.

Here’s a quick refresher on some of the top social sites for business to help you narrow the contenders:

– Probably the most universal social platform at the moment, 71% of all web users are on Facebook. Use it to reach and engage with a large, diverse network of followers. Focus on the connection though, not the direct sell.


Twitter – This is a great way to present your company as a thought leader by delivering the latest news and info in a quick-read format. Twitter users are often up to speed and “in the know.” Remember to keep it simple: only 140 max characters per Tweet.


Instagram – One of the more popular visual-based platforms, Instagram users often overlap with those on Twitter. The idea? Tell your company’s story through images. To date, the site has more than 300 million accounts with nearly 70 million photos and videos shared each day.


Pinterest – An online pinboard, items can only be pinned if they include some sort of image. Many Pinterest users are looking to share, store and find new ideas … it’s also a popular source among information seekers and people in search of how-to advice.


LinkedIn – This is the place to be for business professionals. Once considered a tool primarily for job hunters, its purpose has expanded well beyond. Think relationship building, sales leads, networking and much more.


YouTube – Appealing to an audience of all ages, YouTube may be best known for video sharing, but it’s also becoming one of the top search engines. Videos can go viral quickly, and the ones that are well-optimized have some real SEO value.


Taking some time to re-evaluate your social strategy and figure out where to emphasize your efforts is well worth it. Your company doesn’t need to be everywhere, but it should be on the channels that make the most business sense.