Lee Odden

What Are the Most Important Social Networks for Business?

Top Social Networks for BusinessIf you’ve been involved with marketing on the web for 10 years or more, could you have imagined what the web looks like today back in 2002? Considering the changes over the past year between Google, Facebook, Pinterest and Mobile, looking ahead just 12 months can be a challenge.  The state of constant change requires an adaptable approach. One that involves a cyclical process of planning, implementation, scale and refinement.

During that process of continuous optimization, it’s important to take the temperature of trends for your specific target market as well as at a broad level. I’d like to use this post to take your general social media temperature when it comes to the most important social networks for business. This is a gut feeling check for how you perceive the list below of social media/network properties that companies are currently using for business purposes.

Please take a few seconds and take the following poll about mostly U.S. centric social media and networking sites. Pick up to 3.

Please pick the 3 social media or network sites that are best for overall business use:

  • Twitter (26%, 208 Votes)
  • Facebook (23%, 182 Votes)
  • LinkedIn (21%, 165 Votes)
  • YouTube (13%, 105 Votes)
  • Google+ (5%, 41 Votes)
  • Pinterest (5%, 39 Votes)
  • Slideshare (4%, 33 Votes)
  • FourSquare (2%, 13 Votes)
  • Other Network or Media Site Not Listed. Please Mention In Comments. (1%, 5 Votes)
  • StumbleUpon (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Tumblr (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Flickr (0%, 2 Votes)
  • MySpace (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 273

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Of course a proper digital marketing strategy that includes a social media component would identify specific social networks relevant to the target audience, but I think there’s some value in tapping into general trends and perceptions as well. I think there’s a bit of a rub between the idea of using a social network for fun as a user and using that same social network as a business. Therefore, it will be interesting to see which social networks, besides the obvious, are perceived as best for business use.

PoorSo SoOKGoodAwesome (5 votes, average: 3.80 out of 5)

Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar Nicola Taylor says

    This is very interesting, but it did take me some time to decide what to pick, based on the fact that you can’t just pick the top three without knowing what you are marketing and to who. Pinterest has such potential and I would rate it as the best social network in some instances.

    • I had difficulty with that too Nicola, it certainly is a decision best guided by specific goals and audiences. I’m thinking of the poll more as a, quick look at this list and pick those that seem most useful for business, type of exercise. Thanks for taking the poll!

  2. Avatar Missy Diaz says

    Hi, Lee:

    I too had to pause and give this some thought, however I did choose Pinterest as one of my options because I believe it’s reach and power is still in infancy mode. Although my fave social network is Twitter, I was surprised to see it edge out Facebook – in your poll.

    • Thanks for the feedback Missy. It may be a reflection of our own community too – as been stated in an earlier comment – that many visitors are coming to this poll from Twitter. We’ll promote a bit on all our channels and see where things end up by Monday.

  3. Hi Lee, I am based in Australia, despite the fact I have social connections all over the globe, including the US, so my opinion may or may not be insightful. I am not surprised with the poll results. Perceptions are everything, so generically speaking; it makes perfect sense to me that Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are ranking in the top three positions for most votes. Many of the voters who took the poll, thus far, may have clicked the link to your blog from their Twitter feed (not Facebook) hence why Twitter is ranking higher with more votes than Facebook (just saying.. because I clicked though from Twitter) …i.e. meaning your Twitter followers are more active on this poll?? But I will check back later to review the final results. However, if I were to name the networks that I think are actually the best for business use at present, and not based on any specific targeting of audiences, my answer would be Twitter (e.g. reach, discovery, leads) and Facebook (e.g. community). Whilst I see the potential for doing business on LinkedIn, I think, it is still perceived mostly as a professional networking platform, and in Australia, particularly, many businesses are only now realising its potential.

    If I were to name the networks that I think will become more popular over time for doing business,then I tip that there will be a general shift towards Google+ (e.g. SEO capabilities, community) and You-tube to start with; followed by LinkedIn and Slideshare (which LinkedIn recently acquired) and Pinterest – especially when businesses realise more creative ways of crafting messages and reaching their audiences through video, photos and presentations. I do think Pinterest is a hidden wild card with enormous potential, especially since its users are predominately high income females.

    • Excellent feedback, thank you Julia. Pinterest is indeed finding itself involved in more social efforts, often in unlikely situations like B2B. My intent is to take social temperatures like this from time to time and work up to a much more robust industry survey. Hopefully that will include international participation as well.

  4. Avatar DMSKyana says

    Hi Lee,
    I agree with the results from the poll 100% but I have seen a few companies using music as a way to connect with customers so I would like to add Spotify to that list as well. It might not be relevant for all companies but music is a really interesting way to communicate. 



  5. I definetely think that it depends on the sort of business you are working, for example a news provider will have more advantages using Twitter over all social media sources. 

    • Yes indeed it does depend. The poll is to gauge your immediate reaction to the list and which you associate most with business use. 

  6. Interesting post. It really depends on what type of business – a bar, definitely foursquare, FB and Twitter … a consulting firm, LinkedIn, Google + and a blog …
    PS I pinned this.

  7. Really interesting to see the results. 🙂 It does depend on the business and the strategy and all that, so there will never be a definite answer about which social networks are THE best for any business, but it’s definitely cool to see the results. 

  8. Very Interesting.We Digital Marketing Company in India use social media sites mainly Facebook,Twitter,Youtube,Pinterest,LinkedIn and recently using  Google+ .Yes also others we use rarely depending on the target audience.

    @LEo which  sites you personally think is the best for social media marketing?  🙂

  9. Interesting poll Leo. I went with Facebook, Youtube (selected Google+ by mistake though) and Pinterest.

    Those are the platforms where I see businesses able to ‘get the product in the customer’s hands’ the best.

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  11. wow Twitter is at the top of the list. I thought Twitter was on the way down with Youtube and facebook taking over – interesting

  12. Lee,I wish you’d given us the opportunity to choose at least our top 5. 

    My top 5 five would look like this:
    1.) Linkedin2.) Twitter3.) Facebook4.) Google+ + YouTube (as a set)5.) SkypeAnd based on its recent performance, I’d also include Pinterest as a platform. (A dedicated Group Officer on Brandergy.com is greatly helping me to increase my appreciation of Pinterest in our “Pinterest Interest” group, there. It’s much more powerful as a business tool than I’d originally thought it to be.))

  13. Interesting
    poll.  I think it really depends on what type of business here’s but my top
    mind :

    LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Youtube

  14. Avatar Louis House says

    Interesting. I agree with Melonie, it depends on what type of business you are in. My choice: Linkedin, Twitter, Google+


  15. I have a B&M business.  Is Yelp even relevant any more?

  16. digital marketing, social media are good way to help your work grow up

  17. Avatar cattie88 says

    So according to this poll, it seems like google+ isn’t so popular:) as a member of SEO company I can say that it’s very important to promote your website in google+, because it’s google “child”, so having a google+ business page will help you to boost your website

    • For some reason, readers of this blog see Twitter and Facebook as more business-use. Either they don’t rate Google+ high in that context because of lower usage and engagement or the simply favor more popular social networks more. Google+ is a must have regardless.

  18. I think linkedin and facebook don’t have an important effect for many web owners and a good example is me. I never have success with them. It seems they are using for making friends more than improving business.

  19. Avatar Chief_Blogger says

    At first glance I agreed with the rankings. Upon retrospection the top 5 or 6 are poised to make significant impacts in our undertanding of what drives social media. Pictures, movies, and interaction. Neat poll! Thanks for setting it up.

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  21. Avatar Mike Henry says

    Yes this is right but Pinterest Repins can help bring in even more exposure to your website or blog you are using to promote your growing business. Pinterest Repins help you because people who are following you are showing your pins to their followers as well. 
    Buy pinterest followers

  22. I actively use the top 7 of these. However, I have just bought Lee’s book, Optimize to find out how to…(full disclosure – no connections with Lee, just enjoying his book which deserves a plug :)) Johh