If you’re like most business owners, you know that being on social media is essential to staying relevant. After all, 3 billion people are active on a regular basis on various platforms. In fact, social media has seen a steady growth of 17% since 2010 and is expected to follow that trend in years to come.

Not only does it have a positive impact on customer engagement with your brand, but it also both directly and indirectly impacts your on-site and off-site SEO rankings. Search engines like Bing take your followers, engagements, and overall exposure on social media platforms as a ranking signal.

Although Google does not recognize social media as ranking signals directly, traffic from social media can still impact your on-site SEO metrics which IS a ranking signal.

With dozens and even hundreds of platforms for people to congregate and interact with each other online, it’s easy to lose sight of what is relevant. You may have even asked yourself which platform you should be on.

This short guide will list out 7 of the most popular platforms in the North American market as well as outline the target market and explain how to engage with them.


Every business owner knows that this is the platform to be on. We even see businesses that only have a Facebook page with no website, but it’s easy to see why.

With over 2 billion active users, Facebook is the #1 social media platform in the world. Better yet, 56% of those users use it every day! In case you were wondering, that’s 79% of all internet users across the world!

So what is Facebook’s niche for your business? Well, the opportunities are endless.

Facebook is a data mine of information collected from all its users. From your interests to your employment, to even the reactions you use. Facebook has advanced targeting features. The possibilities are endless with targeting the right target audience for your products or services. These targeting features deliver much more personalized messages that resonate with your potential buyers.

This is one of the number one places people come to see how a business operates from day to day. If your business isn’t on Facebook, you might as well take the sign down from the front of your store.

But don’t think Facebook, or any social media platform for that matter, is a replacement for a website. In fact, if you’re interested, here are 13 reasons why you need a website.


With over 320 million users, Twitter fights for the 3rd spot in most active social media platform with Reddit, right behind the number 2 spot Linkedin (500 million users).

I like to think of Twitter as less of a social media platform for a business to be on and more of a public relations and customer service platform. After all when a tweeter tweets at a business, they typically expect a response from that business within an hour.

A business’ response to the user can have drastic effects on Twitter. People on Twitter talk. And they talk a lot. Just check out some of these statistics:

  • 38% of people who have a positive experience on Twitter with a brand are more likely to buy
  • 43% are likely to encourage friends to buy
  • 38% become more receptive to the advertising of that brand​​​​
  • 42% are willing to recommend the brand through social media​


Linkedin is the B2B purchase and connections hub. 50% of B2B buyers use Linkedin for research on a product, service, or company before making a purchase.

Want to start getting in front of more businesses for those bigger contracts? Get on Linkedin. Linkedin uses similar targeting methods like Facebook, but nowhere near as advanced.

The typical “ads” you would want to promote would be links to blogs or articles with quality information to the reader. This isn’t a place to sell what you have, rather a place to share your wealth of knowledge to help push a decision maker in trusting your brand.

Google +

UPDATE: As of April, 2nd, 2019, Google+ has been shut down following a bug that was found in the platform during a 2018 audit that exposed data of as many 500 million users. Read more here.

It’s obvious Google owns Google+. So what does that mean for you?

Even though it’s not the largest social media platform out there, it is still growing. There are currently 375 million active users on the platform engaging with communities they’re interested in and reading blogs and articles and related topics.

Google+ has had a growth rate of 33% each year and has reached a digital population of 38% of internet users in 2015. It would be good to note, that since this is a Google platform, it is considered an SEO best practice to have your site linked to your Google+ account.


With over 500 million active users, Instagram is one of the largest social media platforms out there. You might think that this is just another millennial platform with not a lot of business potential, but you’d be dead wrong. 60% of Instagram users say they have discovered a business on this platform and 75% of users take actions on Instagram ads.

When you understand how the platform works, it can be easy to understand why. Instagram is nearly 100% visual. Every post is either a photo or a video, so businesses leverage the emotional side of users to generate engagement. After all, 95%of decisions are made based off of emotion.

The trick to Instagram though is consistency. Make sure you get posts scheduled once a day, every day. It’s a very interactive platform. You have to give likes, comments, and follows to receive them.

Another tip is utilizing Instagram Stories. Since over 1/3rd of users are viewing Instagram Stories and they appear at the top of the screen,  it’s clear they’re something your business should be a part of. Check out his infographic that explores how to use these stories in depth for your business.


YouTube is considered the 2nd largest social media network right behind Facebook with over 1 billion users. Since 60% of people prefer online video platforms to TV, it’s a no brainer to be on this platform with your DIY videos, reviews, or commercials.

Not only that, but viewers that watch YouTube ads, are 23 times more likely to subscribe, “watch more”, or share. They’re even 10 times more likely to act, even if they don’t watch the entire ad.

It is also important to consider it is projected that 80% of all online media will be consumed by 2019 with videos. It’s a common expression to “be where your customers are”, so be on video. Plus, Google owns YouTube, Google+ helps your site perform organically, so why wouldn’t YouTube?

Google says it doesn’t… but come on, no one believes them.


Pinterest isn’t just for crafty, DIYer moms and teachers. Male users have grown by 120% in the past year. This is one of the best platforms for people to get new ideas and draw inspiration from new concepts.

People like seeing amazing things and this is the platform to see that. With 150 million users, 87% of all “Pinners” have purchased a product because of Pinterest. And 95% of users plan to make a purchase when using the platform.

Pinterest is definitely a discovery platform with 70% of sales coming from “promoted” pins coming from new customers. If you have cool ideas to showcase, this is the place to be.

In Summary

And there you have it. There is a brief summary of the top social media outlets out there and how to use them for your business. It’s important to note that it may not be necessary for you to be on all the platforms.

Perhaps your target market doesn’t work with B2B customer relationships, then LinkedIn wouldn’t be for you. The best thing to do is to create customer profiles and figure out who and where your customers are to engage with them.