Four Stats to Help You Choose a Social Media Platform

There's one platform for old people, one for smart people and one for rich people. And, you need to know where the best marketing hunting ground is.

With close to 200 million people on Twitter, 600 million on Facebook and 100 million on LinkedIn, it isn’t hard to find large groups with heartbeats. Thinning the herd, however, and finding the likely buyers of your company’s product isn’t nearly as easy. This is the challenge in social media marketing: you need to cut through the vastness and somehow locate – and engage with – your target market. The effort must begin before you even push out your first tweet or status update, in fact. Take a look at the demographics of the major social media platform to see if the right people are even there.

I came across this list of four interesting statistics on social media users by platform at OpenView Labs, the social media environment for venture capital firm OpenView Venture Partners. This isn’t enough to help you make savvy marketing decisions around social media platform choice, but it should help you get started.

1. Look for the ladies on …

If you want to engage with women, your best bet is – believe it or not – MySpace. Twitter and Facebook, according to the OpenView Labs post, “don’t have large gender skews”. MySpace, meanwhile, has plenty of women – 64 percent of the user base, in fact.

2. Find deep pockets on …

Twitter. Well, you’ll find them on Facebook, too. Twenty-seven percent of Twitter users pull down more than $75,000 a year, with 23 percent of Facebook users crossing that threshold. MySpace is for the less affluent: 63 percent of the site’s users make less than $50,000 a year.

3. The early-bird special is on …

A substantial 37 percent of Facebook users are age 45 or older, compared to 28 percent for Twitter and 24 percent for MySpace. So, it seems safe to bet that a larger percentage of Facebook users watch golf and have dinner at 4:30 in the afternoon.

4. College grads congregate on …

An education doesn’t mean you have to speak in long sentences, I guess. With 37 percent of its users holding at least a bachelor’s degree, Twitter’s user base is the most educated.

So, how does this help you out? Well, it’s nice to have a sense of whether your target market is even available on a particular social media platform before you invest you time and capital in it. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Instead of pulling the trigger before thinking, spend some serious time monitoring different social media platforms and doing extensive research before deciding where to commit your company’s marketing cash and capabilities.

These are numbers to get you started, but you still have a lot more work to do. Remember: social media is no different from any other form of marketing. You need to think, plan and do it right. Otherwise, you might find yourself pushing your company’s products on Friendster … a move that isn’t exactly value-accretive, right?