Regardless of your business’s size, sector or standing, having some sort of social media presence is absolutely crucial. Along with the ability to reach out to consumers, these platforms and channels can also be incredible marketing tools too.

Social networks reach 8 out of 10 Internet users and account for 23 per cent of all time spent online. What’s more, 74 per cent of marketers saw an increase in website traffic after spending just 6 hours per week on social media.

But with so many options out there, have you ever wondered which social network is best for your business? Here’s the lowdown.

Facebook

A staggering 93 per cent of all adult Internet users have a Facebook account. The majority of people use the network to catch up with friends and family members, but they also follow famous celebrities, musical artists, sports teams and most importantly, their favourite brands and businesses.

Due to its sheer number of users and overwhelming engagement levels, Facebook is a social network that every business should be using. Even though it is becoming increasingly difficult to reach the majority of your fans through organic means, Facebook remains a significant promotional and public relations resource. To get the most out of Facebook, use images as much as possible, keep updates below 250 characters and post content during the daytime.

Twitter

With 190 million unique site visitors every month and almost 650 million registered users, Twitter is another network that has innumerable benefits. While it is a fantastic tool for customer service and connecting with industry influencers, 58 million tweets per day means that competition is fierce and a unique approach is required for marketing purposes.

Again, use images to increase engagement, be personable in your tone of voice, schedule two to five tweets throughout the day and include links to external content. Take a look at companies like Delta, American Express and Taco Bell for examples of how to succeed on this particular network.

LinkedIn

Although LinkedIn has 300 million members and 3 million company pages, it specifically targets professionals and is usually frequented by B2B companies, recruiters and job seekers. As a result, consumer-facing brands with a more casual approach to marketing might not find much success here.

Even so, it can still be a helpful and useful platform to gain industry insights or exchange ideas. On top of that, your connections and followers will usually have a strong interest in the business and could be more prepared to share your content. If you do choose to utilise LinkedIn, have a complete profile, use searchable keywords in content and customise your URL.

Google+

With the ability to segregate friends, family members, colleagues and associates into separate ‘circles’, Google+ can work as a professional and casual social network. It might not be the overwhelming success Google had hoped for, but with 300 million active users per month and its close association with the biggest search engine in the world, it doesn’t hurt to have a profile.

If you happen to post a lot of content, then Google’s authorship feature will give your a big SEO boost. Furthermore, Google+ integrates with other product offerings such as Drive, Maps and YouTube. When it comes to posting social media updates, use relevant hashtags to get content discovered and track conversions, embed Google+ comments on your blog and be specific with topics.

Instagram

Despite the increasing levels of Internet activity coming from mobile users, Instagram might not be appropriate for every business. This network heavily relies on captivating and compelling images, which is only applicable to certain industries.

But for food, fashion, retail, technology and lifestyle brands, Instagram provides an opportunity to connect with 200 million active users in personal and expressive ways. If your formal business struggles to portray its lighter and creative side, Instagram is a no brainer. Post images that best represent the brand, remember to include relevant hashtags, always keep the audience in mind and track the success of your posts.

Pinterest

Again, this network is probably best suited to companies that can post visually appealing content, as travel, design, home decor, food and fashion are some of Pinterest’s most popular categories.

However, if you manage to grab the attention of its 70 million users, you can receive more website traffic than any other network apart from Facebook. In addition, Pinterest users spend the most amount of money too, double that of Facebook users and triple that of Twitter users. Keywords and a link back to your site are crucial, don’t overdo it on descriptions and attribute images that aren’t your own.

YouTube

Any content marketing strategy can benefit from videos and you’ll probably end up posting them to YouTube. If you’re producing tutorials, demonstrations or even a video blog, then YouTube can be a worthwhile addition to your social media portfolio. While the sheer amount of content is staggering, with over 100 hours of video uploaded every minute and more than 1 billion unique visits each month, YouTube is an ever-present feature on Google’s search results.

Therefore, if you can create videos that address the queries your audience is searching for, success can be found. Videos should grab the viewers’ attention from the start, include call-to-actions and provide links to your other social media profiles.

Best of the rest

Vine – Geared towards a younger demographic, it might be difficult to capture the attention of Vine’s 40 million registered users. But seeing as two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2017, this platform is growing in significance. Creativity and clever descriptions is key.

foursquare and/or Yelp – Perfect for restaurants, bars and retailers that have a physical store and rely on a strong local presence, both foursquare and Yelp encourage word-of-mouth recommendations and customer reviews. Foursquare is prevalent among mobile users while Yelp has a more mature crowd.

Despite the fact there are numerous social networks to capitalise on, some will be more relevant, applicable and beneficial to your particular business than others.