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With so many social networks out there, have you ever wondered which social media channels should you focus on? I mean there’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Periscope, SnapChat, etc etc.

So how do you figure out which one is the best for your business? What’s the next big thing that you should focus on?

In this article, I will help you answer that question by guiding you through my 4 step guide because it’s DIFFERENT for every business & industry.

Which Social Network Should You Focus On?

While I believe there are several different indicators that you can use to choose your social networks, I believe the following 4 steps will definitely help you find out where your target audience is.

1. Define your target audience

If your audience is everyone, then it’s likely that you don’t have an audience.

You need to define your target audience by breaking them down into different interest groups also known as customer avatars or buyer personas.

Once you know exactly who your target audience is, then you need to find where do they hang out.

For example, if you’re targeting teenagers, then the best place for you to be right now is Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine.

If you’re looking to target professionals, then you should be on LinkedIn and Facebook.

See this breakdown of demographic for each social network:

2. Ask your existing customers

One of the easiest ways to find out where your customers are hanging out is by simply asking them.

You can do this when you meet them in person or through an anonymous survey. You can use a tool like SurveyMonkey or PollDaddy.

I did a recent survey on WPBeginner and 77% of the readers said they use Facebook at least once a week out of which 46% use it daily and 14% use it hourly.

Whereas only 45% use Twitter at least once a week and 25% said they never use Twitter at all (WOW).

Doing an audience census survey annually gives you an idea of what you should be focusing on. I’ll definitely be doubling down my efforts on Facebook.

3. Use Social Share Data

Another clear indicator of the social network you should be focusing on is your social share counts.

You’ll very likely see that certain networks will generate more shares and engagement than others.

Instead of trying to improve the others, you should really double down your efforts on the ones that are performing the best.

4. Competitor & Industry Research

If you are new in your industry, then it’s very likely that you don’t have enough social share data or the customers to ask.

Regardless of whether you’re new or not, doing industry research is a great way to finding which social networks perform the best.

One of the tools that I absolutely love using is BuzzSumo.

You can simply type any keyword or domain in there, and it will show you the top articles in the past month or 6 months with the share counts breakdown of each network.

The cool part about BuzzSumo is that it also lets you see the top influencers sharing that particular article, so you can engage with them directly.

Which Social Network Will I Be Focusing on in 2016?

My primary focus in 2016 will be Facebook. Because over a billion people hang out there, and the Facebook advertising platform is well-established.

I’ll continue to build up my YouTube presence and invest more in videos because it’ll be silly for anyone to ignore the second largest search engine in the world which is owned by the first largest search engine.

For List25, I’d also be looking at investing in Instagram and Pinterest because both of these platforms have a proven Ad system.

I feel that Snapchat will add an advertising platform later in the year, but until that time I’m really not going to be focusing there because there’s just so much value that can be extracted from the others platforms that I mentioned above.

My advice to you doesn’t just chase after every new platform that you hear about. Instead, do proper market research because it’ll save you from wasting time and money.

I hope this article helped you determine which social media network you should be focusing on.

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