The new, most influential form of communication these days is through social media, and it’s easy to see why. It’s instantly accessible, it supports every type of media (text, pictures, video, sound), and it’s ever-present. Let’s start with a few statistics just so we’re all on the same page.

Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide from the 3rd quarter 2008 to the 1st quarter 2014 (in millions)

This statistic shows a timeline with the worldwide number of active Facebook users from 2008 to 2014. As of the first quarter 2014, Facebook had 1.28 billion monthly active users. In the third quarter of 2012, the number of active Facebook users had surpassed 1 billion. Active users are those which have logged in to Facebook during the last 30 days.

Numbers of LinkedIn members from 1st quarter 2009 to 1st quarter 2014 (in millions)

This timeline displays member numbers of social network LinkedIn from the first quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2014, in millions. During the third quarter of 2013, LinkedIn had 259 million members and grew to 277 million members within the next quarter.

Number of monthly active Twitter users worldwide from 1st quarter 2010 to 1st quarter 2014 (in millions)

This statistic shows a timeline with the amount of monthly active Twitter users worldwide. As of the first quarter 2014, the microblogging service averaged at 255 million monthly active users. At the beginning of the year, Twitter has surpassed 200 MAU per quarter.

The point is there’s a lot of people out there walking around, and most of them use social media in one way or another. Now, I know what you’re thinking,

We get it! We should be on social media.”

Yes, that’s true, but that’s not where I’m going with this. What’s the point I’m making here?

If you’ve been in business longer than 20 minutes a lot of people (some “experts”) have told you how important it is for your business to be on social media, but with all these people on all these networks, it’s not a matter of being on social media; it’s which one to target an audience that would best appreciate your product or service.

For example, let’s pretend you are an expert chef and you’re looking to sell your new recipe book to a world of hungry people. With all these choices, where do you start?

Profiling: Find Your Target.

In the marketing industry profiling and stereotyping is important. There will always be scenarios that go outside the norm, but we need to focus on the largest primary target available to yield the largest response.

In our example, people who like to cook.

Note: Our target is people who like to cook, not people who want to buy our book. This may sound mean, but until people know you, no one wants to buy your book.

So… who likes to cook? Take a minute to think about the people who probably like to cook. The two personas I came up with write off the bat were firefighters and stay at home parents (usually moms)

Now ask yourself where in the social media jungle would these people be hanging out? That’s where your new campaign begins.

It’s unlikely that they’ll be networking with other businesses, so LinkedIn is lower on our priority. Facebook would be helpful to our cause, but it’s so vast. Find Facebook groups and connect with people inside them. Honestly, in my opinion, Pinterest is the most likely starting point for our cooking book campaign. Here’s a couple of helpful statistics gathered from

Pinterest is now more popular than Twitter.
21% of online adults use Pinterest where only 18% are on Twitter.

Women are 4X more likely to be on Pinterest than men.
Also, these women statistically have a family to take care of.

Pinterest users are more wealthy
Pinterest (as well as LinkedIn) have a high percentage earning over $75,000 PA

This is a method by which you’ll be seen by the people that matter to your business. Even if you disagree with the direction of my particular example, the method is the most important part. Find your target audience, determine the social media platform that reaches that audience most effectively, and develops a presence there. I’ll be the one to say it…

you don’t have to be everywhere, just where it matters.

If you liked this article, great, I’d love to know why. If you disagree, I’d love to know why too. This is the first in a series all about how to use social media effectively. Come back next week for session 2 on advertising on social media. Where do you put your advertising dollars, how much, and for how long before you see results?