Socialbakers released an infographic a while back, providing an overview of the social networks that are important for organizations in 2012. The infographic is based on data that look at how some major brands and media companies do on the big social networks. It takes into account three different parameters.
In a blog post on Econsultancy, CEO Jan Rezab concludes that Facebook and Twitter are currently best suited for media companies, with a more passive role for Google +.
For brands, especially Facebook is a must, with Google + as a “the next place to be”, despite the fact that it lags far behind the king of social networks.
First of all, I hope you realize that the title of my blog post is irrelevant, just as the question in the post on Econsultancy, titled “Which social networks should you focus on in 2012?”.
Businesses should not ask themselves what social networks they need to focus on. That question comes later in a social media roadmap definition, not at the beginning. They need to ask themselves what business priorities they have, what their customers need and which social networks fit in that picture. They should ask themselves what social networks are important to achieve the goals they have outlined to improve a specific business function and improve the value of overall the customer experience, using social media (among others).
Remember: profit, cost reductions and customer satisfaction.
There is no such thing as a best social network
Furthermore, the conclusion that brands must especially look at Facebook is too general. It does not take into account the different goals but it also makes no distinction regarding the type of business, the market segment, the customers, etc. There are numerous B2B brands, which, depending on their goals, thrive much better when using LinkedIn for example. Depending on the exact marketing goals and segments – assuming socialbakers only talks about that - both B2B and B2C brands regularly succeed better using less obvious social networks.
Unfortunately, reality is that many managers and social media ‘experts’ take decisions based on the numbers about social networks. Doing so, they result in erroneous strategies because the network is put central, instead of the people, the business function and the goal.
Fortunately, Jan Rezab, also writes that you should “focus on those (social networks) bringing you good results” but that’s about it and it’s not enough.
The social networks some brands use
The infographic as such can be useful if you want to know how some brands and media companies are present on the main social networks. And, obviously, it is clear that some social networks today outperform others. Yet, keep in mind that it merely provides absolute data on numbers of fans and followers. Nowhere does the post or the infographic state what these brands do on there, what their goals are and whether these goals are actually reached. The data will look cute in your next PowerPoint. But it means nothing for your specific business functions, goals or customers.
Don’t forget your customer is multichannel (channel-agnostic really) and that you use social networks for a reason that is part of a holistic approach. People don’t want to be your friend on social networks and earning their attention on them is either an act of interruption with an extremely good reason or a voluntary act whereby they choose to connect with you.
A final thought: nowhere does the infographic state how the mentioned brands get their fans. As you might know, many brands heavily invest in Facebook ads to gain fans. Fortunately, many brands are way smarter than that. You can’t compare apples with pears. Never ever.