In the world of social media marketing there are a myriad of platforms to choose from. Depending on the nature of your business, some are better for marketing than others; some should be avoided while others passionately embraced.

How do I choose a social media platform for marketing my business?

Are you a luxury brand? A local retailer? A service provider? Having a clear definition of what your business offers is the first step in deciding what social media tool will work best for your product or service. While most businesses know full what they do, their offering(s) might come under more than one category. For instance, a business which sells a product might also offer information on how to use or get the most out of it. So in that sense, they are also a service provider. Some social media sites excel in showcasing products (like Pinterest) while others are great for showing how to use a product (like Youtube).

Know the full scope of what you do and then look to market on social media platforms that provide the best synergy for your business.

Below are some of the more popular social media sites and what kinds of businesses are best for marketing on them:

Pinterest

In general, Pinterest is a fantastic social tool for brands selling luxury items, apparel, cosmetics, home decor– or just about any tangible product that can be purchased. Its use of picture boards make it an ideal platform for you to show off your products and for users to pin it to theirs. Pins, boards and brands can be followed, repinned and shared (even outside Pinterest).

You can promote pins too, which is a very nice option for brands looking to utilize paid marketing to increase their reach. Promoting a pin is as easy as choosing a daily spend and duration for the content. You can also include options such as demographics, location and even devices when choosing who will se your promoted pin.

Although Pinterest is considered a social media site, I think of it more as a search tool. Users go to Pinterest to get ideas about how to redecorate, plan a wedding, or a host of other things. In a sense, they go there to window shop. The search function on Pinterest plays a major role in the user experience. So labeling your pins with strategic and well thought out keywords is essential for getting the most marketing bang from this popular social media platform.

Below are some stats that show the key demographics for Pinterest users (Sprout Social).

Instagram

A picture is worth a thousand words and Instagram speaks the language of pictures beautifully. Adopted early on by millennials, many when they were too young to join Facebook (FB requires a user to be at least 13 years old to join), Instagram has 150 million users of which 90% are under the age of 35. (Business Insider).  This social media platform is a great place for brands looking to interact with a young, hip and vast audience.

Instagram offers ad placement in their user’s streams and can work seamlessly with Facebook for Business.

Facebook

Facebook is a wonderful platform for businesses of all types, from e commerce to local retailers and service providers. Whether you’re offering discounts or trying to create brand awareness, Facebook’s demographic, its natural propensity for storytelling and immense popularity make it the go-to social platform an effective marketing channel when used correctly.

Like Twitter and Instagram, Facebook offers the ability to choose desired demographics when creating a campaign and boosting a post, allowing for pinpoint accuracy with your marketing initiatives. Being perhaps the most popular social site, Facebook has the widest demographics, making it an effective platform for most businesses to engage an audience with.

Here are a few other social sites and what businesses are optimum for marketing

Linkedin

Linkedin has over 300 million users (Mashable) and is the perfect social media platform for B2B marketing.

Twitter

Twitter has over 307 million active users (Statista.com) and offers a lot of potential as a marketing tool for many different types of businesses. Though the social media mainstay has failed to reap the revenue rewards to date of Facebook and others, it is rumored the Twitter will be dropping it’s 140 character limit soon, which could mean a whole new world of opportunities for marketers in the future.

Snapchat

Embraced by the younger demographic, Snapchat offers a fun way to promote your brand and savy companies are starting to take advantage of its vertical layout to create some engaging content. With Snapchat Discover, brands can create rich media content to tell compelling stories. Fun brands that cater to the youth are a great fit for this social media platform.

Tumblr

Tumblr has a monthly user base of 34 million users predominantly between the ages of 16-24 (Business Insider). Described as a mini-blog site, it caters to the more artistic side of the social spectrum. Brands that wish to market on Tumblr will do best to keep that in mind.