A 25-year-old company from Maine selling personal care products, Burt’s Bees, used Facebook to boost e-commerce sales. A dentist in New York City, Dr. Michael Sinkin, was able to get more patients by finding people complaining about toothaches on Twitter and offering advice. And Adobe boosted its thought leadership by 50% by using sponsored updates on LinkedIn.

As demonstrated, social media can be a boon for businesses of all sizes, from mega corporations to the neighborhood doctor, but many businesses are still hesitant about pursuing social media not due to lack of options, but because of the abundance. For a fledgling business, running eight different accounts on eight different websites is a lot of time and effort. However, businesses would do better to find one social network and start to find out what works. If you’re looking for guidance on which one to start with, we’ve outlined some of the best social networking sites for business, how to use them and the demographics of each site to aid you in developing a successful social network.

Facebook

Facebook allows business to create hub pages where they can make post updates. Furthermore, these pages are able to invite friends to “like” these pages and share different content. Businesses are encouraged to target individuals from their more personal accounts to get started. Businesses can also upload a list of contacts that they wish to contact through email or advertisements and invite them to connect to your Facebook page.

Whenever businesses publish anything on Facebook, they’ll want to be extra careful and be sure to optimize any postings to connect with their audience. Also, anyone using Facebook needs to be authentic, consistent, and most of all, responsive to any comments that audience members may write.

Demographics: Facebook is pretty consistent across the board when it comes to income, education and location. However, more women tend to use the platform and it trends to the younger crowd, although less so than other social media platforms. Retail businesses, non-profits and those in the food industry tend to do well on Facebook.

Oreo

When Oreo does Facebook, it does it right. Instead of spamming the network with updates, Oreo tries to create unique content that appeals directly to Facebook’s demographic.

Twitter

One of the more time-consuming and complex social media platforms for businesses to utilize, Twitter power users are able to craft niches around specific hashtags and have conversations with potential customers while sharing and retweeting posts relevant to their audiences. Successful Twitter-using businesses play an active part in niche-based communities and use the social platform as the start of potential business conversations.

Demographics: Twitter’s demographics lean toward college-educated individuals in higher income brackets living in the city. As for age, about a third of individuals between 18 and 29 use Twitter. That percentage shrinks as individuals get older.

Jet Blue

Full of deals, offers and interesting travel tips, JetBlue’s Twitter feed now has over 2 million followers.

LinkedIn

On LinkedIn, businesses can create a company page in order to build creditability and an audience. Successful businesses share new content, start conversations in LinkedIn groups and establish thought leadership. A business, however, shouldn’t expect rapid returns when dealing with LinkedIn. Organic growth tends to be difficult without a spot-on strategy.

Demographics: LinkedIn’s demographics aren’t surprising. If you’re looking for high-income middle-aged professionals, you wouldn’t do any better than look on LinkedIn.

Blackrock

Financial information may be not the most exciting, but for the individuals who use LinkedIn the most, it can be extremely useful.

Instagram

To find success, a business interacting with Instagram must pay attention to one very important functionality – hashtags, and it’s necessary for businesses to do hashtag research beforehand to find out what they can use to create a community around their content. Businesses that do well on Instagram post engaging behind-the-scenes images and cover industry-related events.

Instagram success often comes being able to post good pictures and developing a unique visual sense of the world. Without that basic knowledge, businesses will have a hard time getting their foot in the Instagram door.

Demographics: Instagram’s demographics lean toward college-aged women in urban settings. However, the social platfrom does have decent usage statistics hovering around one-fourth for other subsets of the population.

360i

For pictures of a happy, energetic ad agency, look no further than 360i.

Pinterest

A highly visual network, Pinterest, isn’t for every business, but some are able to make the social network their own. Before deciding on this social network, businesses need to know how it works. Basically, people “pin” content on specific “boards” which are organized under particular interests. Folks will then create feeds around these interests. Businesses that do well are able to connect with its primary demographic—women—in a unique visual way.

Demographics: Pinterest’s demographics lean heavily toward women compared to men. Individuals who use Pinterest tend to be college-educated with slightly-higher incomes. The percentage of those using the platform (ignoring individuals over 65) tends to be even across all age subgroups.

L.L. Bean uses its boards to communicate the L.L. Bean lifestyle, which features plenty of mountain vistas and cuddly wildlife.

L.L. Bean uses its boards to communicate the L.L. Bean lifestyle, which features plenty of mountain vistas and cuddly wildlife.

Snapchat

The difficulty of Snapchat isn’t so much the demographic, but finding the content that will actually make an impact. Businesses with great Snapchat feeds provide access to live events, deliver private content and partner with influencers to be able to engage those in the youngest demographic.

Demographics: Snapchat’s demographics lean toward those under 25, mostly women, with lower incomes (which could just be a correlation with age).

Snapchat-GrubHub2-855x1024

GrubHub decided to use Snapchat to recruit a Snapchat intern.

Social media can be a potential time-sink if not done correctly. Before using social media, businesses should be aware of how to use the platform, what demographics they hope to communicate with and what communities they hope engage. Like any marketing tactic, social media needs a comprehensive strategy to ensure that any communication is aligned with a business’s goals.