Social Media
The Top 9 Social Networks For Businesses

The Top 9 Social Networks For Businesses

August 12, 2023
6 min read

In today’s digital landscape, social networks play a pivotal role in business growth and brand awareness.

This comprehensive guide explores the top social networks that offer unique opportunities for businesses to connect, engage, and thrive in the online sphere.

Why Social Media Is Important For Business

Social media is important for business, because it allows a business to connect directly with customers. It can also enhance various aspects of business operations and marketing, when used efficiently. Here are 9 reasons why you should consider using social media for your business:

  1. Brand Awareness: It helps in building brand recognition by engaging with a broad audience, spreading the word about products and mission.
  2. Customer Engagement: Social media allows businesses to interact with customers in real time, fostering community and deepening relationships.
  3. Increased Traffic: By sharing content on social media, businesses can drive more traffic to their websites, enhancing opportunities for conversion.
  4. Customer Insights: It provides valuable data about customer preferences and behaviors, enabling more targeted and effective marketing strategies.
  5. Cost-Effective: Compared to traditional advertising, social media marketing is often more budget-friendly, offering a higher return on investment.
  6. Reputation Management: Allows for quick response to customer feedback, both positive and negative, and helps in managing the brand’s online reputation.
  7. Competitor Analysis: Observing competitors’ social media activities can provide insights into market trends and uncover areas of opportunity.
  8. Targeted Advertising: Paid social media advertising allows for precise targeting based on demographics, interests, and behaviors, ensuring that ads reach the most relevant audience.
  9. Talent Acquisition: It’s also a channel to showcase company culture and values, attracting potential employees.

When consider the use of social media, you need to choose the right network for your business.

Choosing the Right Social Network

Understand Your Audience

Before diving into the world of social networks, it’s crucial to understand your target audience. Different platforms cater to diverse demographics, so aligning your choice with your audience’s preferences ensures maximum impact. Surveys and audience research are essential to gauge your followers’ needs.

Match with Business Goals

Select social networks that align with your business objectives. From brand visibility to sales, platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn offer varied advantages that can contribute to success. Understand which network supports your business’s specific goals. For example, do you know where your website traffic and leads comes from? How much traffic does social media contribute to those outcomes?

Evaluate Platform Features

Explore the features of each social network to make informed decisions. From LinkedIn’s professional networking to Instagram’s visual appeal, understanding the unique offerings empowers you to make the right choices.

PS – Check out these 13 Amazing Examples of Brands on Social Media

Top 9 Social Networks for Businesses

Facebook: Connecting with a Global Audience

Learn how Facebook’s extensive user base and targeted advertising options make it an ideal platform for businesses of all sizes.

LinkedIn: Professional Networking and B2B Opportunities

Discover how LinkedIn provides a hub for industry professionals and B2B connections, making it a valuable asset for networking and lead generation.

Twitter: Real-time Engagement and Trending Conversations

Explore how Twitter’s rapid-fire nature enables businesses to engage with audiences in real time and leverage trending topics for visibility.

Instagram: Visual Storytelling and Brand Identity

Uncover Instagram’s visual-centric approach and harness the power of compelling imagery to showcase your brand’s story and values.

YouTube: Video Marketing and Engagement

Dive into YouTube’s video-sharing capabilities and learn how to create and promote video content that resonates with your audience.

Pinterest: Inspiring Ideas and E-commerce Opportunities

Learn how Pinterest’s emphasis on visual discovery can drive e-commerce sales and inspire audiences to explore your products and services.

TikTok: Short-Form Video for Creativity and Entertainment

Explore the rising star of short-form video content and how businesses can use TikTok’s playful platform to captivate and entertain users.

Snapchat: Fostering Authentic Connections

Discover how Snapchat’s ephemeral nature encourages authentic interactions and how businesses can leverage this for genuine engagement.

Reddit: Niche Communities and Direct Interaction

Navigate the diverse landscape of Reddit’s niche communities and discover how direct interaction can build brand loyalty and credibility.

Here’s an overview of some of the top social networks from Wordstream:

Crafting an Effective Social Media Strategy

Establish Clear Goals and Metrics

Setting clear and measurable goals is vital for a successful social media strategy. They guide your efforts and provide a way to evaluate success. Utilizing SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) can provide clarity and direction. Here’s an exp:

  • Specific Goals: Identify what you want to achieve, like increasing engagement or brand awareness.
  • Measurable Metrics: Choose metrics that can be quantified, such as the number of likes, shares, or followers.
  • Align Goals with Overall Business Objectives: Ensure that social media goals align with overall business goals.
  • Relevant: Make sure your goals relate specifically to the outcomes social media can provide
  • Timing: Can the results be achieved in the timeframe when you will be reviewed?

Harness the Strengths of Each Network

Leveraging the unique strengths of each social platform ensures a cohesive strategy:

  • Identify Platform Strengths: Determine what each platform excels at. For example, Instagram is visual-heavy, while LinkedIn focuses on professional connections.
  • Tailor Content to Platforms: Create consistent content that resonates with the specific audience of each platform.
  • Unified Messaging: Maintain consistency in messaging across platforms to create a unified brand image.

Integration with Overall Marketing Efforts

A successful social media strategy must be integrated with other marketing channels:

  • Consistency in Messaging: Ensure that social media content aligns with other marketing materials.
  • Cross-Promotion: Utilize social media to enhance and promote other marketing initiatives, such as email campaigns or events.
  • Measure Integration Success: Track how social media supports other marketing efforts, adjusting as needed for better cohesion.

By following these principles, you can craft a social media strategy that supports and enhances your overall marketing efforts. But keep in mind that oftentimes, social media alone isn’t enough to drive your business growth.

Overcoming Challenges and Risks

Addressing Online Reputation

Maintaining a positive online reputation is paramount in the digital age. Negative reviews or feedback can seriously impact a brand’s image. Here’s how to navigate this terrain:

  • Monitoring: Regularly monitor your brand mentions, comments, reviews, and feedback across various platforms.
  • Responding to Negative Feedback: Address negative comments promptly and professionally. Apologizing and offering solutions can turn a negative experience into a positive one.
  • Encouraging Positive Reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews. Share them to foster trust.
  • Consistent Brand Image: Ensure a consistent brand message across platforms to build credibility.
  • Crisis Management Plan: Have a plan in place for handling more serious reputational crises.

Privacy and Data Security

With increased concerns over privacy and data breaches, safeguarding user data is essential:

  • Understanding Regulations: Be aware of and comply with all relevant data protection laws, like GDPR.
  • Implementing Security Measures: Use encryption, secure passwords, and other technology solutions to protect data.
  • Transparent Privacy Policies: Clearly explain how user data is collected and used, and ensure users agree to these terms.
  • Regular Security Audits: Conduct regular checks to ensure that all security measures are up-to-date and effective.
  • Educating Staff and Users: Ensure that everyone involved knows the importance of data security and how to adhere to best practices.

By addressing these challenges and implementing these strategies, businesses can create a trustworthy online presence and protect their brand and audience from potential risks. The focus must always be on transparent, ethical engagement with consumers, coupled with robust data protection mechanisms. This not only builds trust but aligns with legal compliance and ethical business practices.

Measuring and Optimizing ROI

Implement Effective Measurement Techniques

In order to understand the success of your social media campaigns, it’s essential to have robust measurement methods in place:

  • Choose the Right Metrics: Identify the metrics that align with your specific goals, such as engagement rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, etc.
  • Utilize Analytics Tools: Platforms like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and others provide detailed tracking and reporting capabilities.
  • Track ROI: Understand your return on investment by comparing the costs of your campaigns to the revenue generated.
  • Create Custom Dashboards: Use custom dashboards to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and visualize trends.
  • Test and Learn Approach: Implement A/B testing to understand what works and what doesn’t, thus learning and iterating.

Continuous Optimization

Success in social media marketing isn’t a one-time event. Continuous optimization is key:

  • Regular Performance Analysis: Routinely review campaign performance data to detect what’s working and what’s not.
  • Adjust Strategy Accordingly: Make data-driven decisions to tweak or overhaul strategies, such as reallocating budget to high-performing channels or revising content strategy.
  • Utilize Automation Tools: Tools that allow for automated optimization can save time and enhance performance.
  • Monitor Competitors and Industry Trends: Stay aware of what competitors are doing and the latest industry trends to ensure your strategy remains relevant.
  • Encourage Team Collaboration: Regular meetings with your team to discuss findings and brainstorm new ideas can foster innovation.

Both the measurement and continuous optimization aspects are interconnected. Utilizing analytics to understand your campaigns allows for informed decision-making and ongoing improvements. The combination of effective measurement and continuous optimization creates a dynamic and agile approach, enabling organizations to maximize impact and stay ahead of the competition. Remember, what gets measured gets managed, and constant iteration ensures that your social media efforts are aligned with the ever-changing landscape.


Embrace the power of social networks to elevate your business to new heights. By choosing the right platforms, crafting a compelling strategy, and overcoming challenges, you can leverage the unique opportunities that each network offers. Start your journey toward social media success today.

Need Engaging Content for Your Social Media?

If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content that’s consistently published, check out our Content Builder Service. Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today and generate more traffic and leads for your business.

39 thoughts on “The Top 9 Social Networks For Businesses

  1. Phil Lauterjung

    Very interesting article, especially the graphs. I’ve seen lots of these types of posts with different people promoting one platform over another (Pinterest seems to have been the most recent shiny object). However, seeing the graphs makes it really easy to see who has the staying power and who doesn’t. Thanks Michael.

  2. Bhaskar Sarma

    I haven’t looked into this a lot (that’ll have to change) but I have found some amazing discussions around stuff that I care about (content marketing, buyer personas) on Focus. And when I see people like Ardath Albee discussing stuff, I tend to take it more seriously.

    I admit it’s more Quora than LinkedIn or Facebook, but maybe for individuals willing to meet new people, Focus could be a good place.

  3. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Bhaskar. I know the guys at Focus pretty well. I think they do a great job and are 10 times more, um, focused, than Quora. Great recommendation!

  4. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Phil, I think marketers and business pros should all test the different platforms and decide what works best for them and their brands. I am very happy you found some value in this. The folks at Ignite did the research on 59 sites but I found it was just too much information so I am glad this summary of the top 9 helped you out.

  5. Sarmishtha

    I like this article, its so neat..and easy to get, especially with the graphs. I am pleasantly surprised with the spikes in Pinterest and Slideshare graphs. Thank you for sharing this.

  6. Michael Brenner

    My pleasure and thanks for the support.

    I was most surprised by the slow and steady growth of linkedin and twitter since both have been around a while. It appears they have not hit a plateau like facebook.

  7. Frank Woodman Jr

    Wonderful article!

    And it’s nice to see those great graphs to support your reasoning.

    This article has done more to bring all these sites into prospective for me than any I’ve read.

    For as your graphs show each of these sites offers something just a little different for the user. And each attracts a slightly different audience.

    So to leave one out is to not reach that part of the social media spear of influence and that’s now what any of us want.

    Together they make a complete set of sites that fit and compliment each other such that’s it’s hard to pick one to leave out.

    Now it’s just for me to understand how to seamlessly join them together and be able to manage them. And I’ve got some ideas for how to structure an infrastructure that I think I’ll explore and share in a blog.

    So thanks for a very well written and supported article that has some research meat to it’s bones.

  8. Chris

    Thanks for this comparison. IMHO Facebook and Twitter are most important for big companies, LinkedIn and Slideshare for professionals. And Pinterest… It’s not working for me 😉
    BR, Chris

  9. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Frank, I am so glad you find is useful. These are the sites I like to work with but it is a challenge to manage it all!

  10. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Chris. Pinterest works to distract. I have to admit I enjoy looking at it but still wonder what value it has for B2B brands other than forcing the thinking around visual design (which slideshare and tumblr might be better for!)

  11. kenny

    great stuff as usual. very insightful for the consumer focused social networking websites.

    i would love to see this go beyond the mass media broadcast networks like linkedin, google,twitter and facebook and see one dedicated to vertical social networks.

    i think niche vertical social networks are a much better way to achieve the outcomes you are looking for in the first two sentences of your post.

    check out paul gillin’s latest article on this topic: 5 reasons to consider niche social networks.
    full disclosure he mentions spiceworks and i am an employee at this company.

    go where their is a large concentration of your prospects, buyers when it comes to b2b.

    doctors – check out practicefusion, sermo

    accountants – check out wave accounting



    ps: some of the engagement metrics and treating people like people on these vertical social networks blow facebook out of the water.

  12. Michael Brenner

    Kenny, thanks for the helpful info. And indeed you are right: follow your audience.

  13. Kemya Scott

    This is a great summary of the major platforms, probably one of the best I’ve seen. The graphs make it easy to understand, and you have just reminded me to pay more attention and get busy on SlideShare!

  14. Kelly Campbell

    Thanks for sharing, Michael. (My firm actually did a Flash-based GUI design for a The OCM Marketplace many years ago for SAP’s international SAPPHIRE conference in Atlanta. Glad to connect here again! I agree with much of what you’re saying here, but Pinterest is driving business to e-commerce sites, charts or no charts. My only other comment would be that these may be the Top 9 Social Networks for Business based on the charts, but biggest doesn’t mean most relevant. And each business needs to really strategize to figure out where their own niche demographic spends the most time — and then build relationships online in those places. In our experience with SMM management, that yields the best ROI.

  15. Alison


    I’m a big fan and keep an eye for your blog and tweets. I like your down to earth approach and all the poster are correct, the graphs do the trick. I agree with your assessment and feel that my wins are with LI, Twitter and a few others. I’m not yet a slideshare users and appreciate your bringing that to my attention.

    Many of the other posts note the need for seamless integration and I’ve been using Buffer lately. I’ve found it useful and feel that over time, my analytics will improve as well as my ability to “integrate” around my brand.

    Admirer of your work and grateful for sharing your insights, ideas and news.


  16. Hank Blank

    Great overview article. Social media is great but in the end Face Time and not Facebook leads to relationships.

    Hank Blank

  17. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Kemya, I really appreciate that support!

  18. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Kelly, you are absolutely correct. I did not mean to suggest that these are the biggest and simply tried to show the growth rates and momentum of each of what I think are the top sites. You are not the first one to make this comment so it was my mistake to not make that more clear.

  19. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Alison, I really appreciate you stopping by and for the support. I have also been using buffer and lovin it. Also, check out IFTT (If This Then That!)

  20. Michael Brenner

    Not gonna disagree with you there Hank. Assuming of course you mean real facetime and not the iPad / iPhone app “Facetime” 😉

  21. Adrian Walker

    Nice article.

    Executable English may also be of interest.

    Code that non-programmers can read, write and run.

    Google it, run the examples, get explanations, then (socially) write and run your own examples.

  22. Erin Nelson

    Thanks for sharing the graphs, Michael – it helps to see the numbers plotted out this way. I like your message, too, about Facebook. I have to say though, while I avidly promote B2B in all walks of social media, this has been the hardest channel for us to gain traction. It seems pictures which do not relate to what we do have the best response. Any B2B Facebook tips?

  23. Michael Brenner

    Hi Erin, thanks for the support. I am not a Facebook expert but I see our brand page doing a great job of showing the human face of our business. So maybe that is why you are seeing pictures do well. Your fans are just happy to see that you are all real people. I would take the cue and run with it!

  24. Caroline Gerardo

    I believe I need to create a live action infographic for your post. Social sites seem to be in a state of rapid movement as atoms or particulate spinning. My personal favorites today are Pinterest (just started and see huge value and finding readers) and Twitter if you don’t go there using hashtags FF and old tricks that say, buy my widget. Facebook is just too noisy and Linkedin too slow for response. If you want me to make that game spinning infographic, let me know. 🙂

  25. Michael Brenner

    Caroline, I certainly do want you to make it. you can email me at michael DOT brenner AT sap DOT com with details. Just so you know, I am off for vacation starting tomorrow so apologize if I miss you while I’m off at the beach.

  26. MageMojo

    I can’t figure out how pinterest can be good for marketing most sites. Everyone is raving about using pinterest, but I don’t see it. Any examples of creative ways to generate real business with pinterest?

  27. Sapan Shah

    So glad I just came across this article through my recent, and heavily active involvement in (one of my new FAVS for content curation) However, just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this – very simply laid out, straight to the facts, and great insights. Thank you, I always respect and actively follow like-minded people -especially when they are industry thought-leaders, influencers, and share great content!


  28. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Sapan, I am really glad you liked it! And thanks for following.

  29. Kelly

    What a great summary of networks. Thank you!

    Twitter is our most important network – we can’t be everywhere due to size and budget and that is the one channel we just can’t do without.

    It’s beyond me how brands or companies are managing without an active presence on Twitter. It seems like the one natural network to me to be on because, as you rightly stated, it forces brands to think like people!

    You can do so much with it; converse, engage, provide customer support, and even throw events!

    We just sponsored a Tweet Chat for the first time last month time and the outcome blew our socks off. It was an excellent brand experience.

  30. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Kelly, tweetchats is really how I got started on Twitter. I learned from some great early friends on how to use twitter to connect and to share great content. I appreciate the support and comment.

  31. Susanne Martin

    Michael, would you say any of this has changed in the 181 days since your original post? It seems like things are constantly changing with social media.

  32. Michael Brenner

    Hi Susanne, I think these are still the right group to focus on. Some people are still active on Quora but I’m not sure that site’s traffic has taken share from any of these above.

  33. Hamza

    My favorite social networks for business are Linkedin and Google Plus. Although I use Google plus mainly due to SEO benefits, but Linkedin is my preferred out of these two as I can find almost all the businesses of concern on Linkedin.
    Recently a lot of marketers have been talking about Slideshare so I’ve registered on Slideshare. Let’s see how it turns out to be.

  34. Michael Brenner

    I think Slideshare is really a missed opportunity. Mist businesses already create lots of slides. They just don’t think about how to make them more viable for sharing.

  35. Santo

    Any updates this year? I’m curious if it evolves.

  36. Michael Brenner

    Good question. I’ll check.

  37. Jimmy

    I ALWAYS say I’m going to get some stuff on Slideshare, and really do mean to, just never seem to get there. Seeing as how I’ve finally gotten to almost everything else legitimately (patting myself on the back :p) then, after reading this article, I think its time. Great post!

  38. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Jimmy, I think most of us are already creating slides. Just needs a little work to effort to make them work for Slideshare. Good luck!


    Micheal, great analysis and the graphs were very informative. The real problem here is that they all are popular and have huge audiences so how do you know which of these to use and maximize. There is just not enough time to be engaged in so many of these social networks. For me, I spend very little time on Facebook but more on LinkedIn, Google + and now Pinterest. Nothing on Slideshare but can see its value.

Get a Free Consultation
for Content Marketing

Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

Related Posts

Artificial Intelligence Can Small Businesses (Really) Use AI for Marketing?

Can Small Businesses (Really) Use AI for Marketing?

May 30, 2023
7 min read
Content Marketing Top B2B Marketing Experts to Follow

Top B2B Marketing Experts to Follow

Jul 12, 2023
15 min read
Search Marketing 25 Top Paid and Free SEO Tools for Business Owners and Agencies

25 Top Paid and Free SEO Tools for Business Owners and Agencies

Nov 1, 2023
7 min read