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“The best 17” list: The social networks for 2021 and how you can use them

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At 90 percent, the majority of German companies rely on social media, reports the German Institute for Marketing. According to the study by the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW), six out of ten of the companies surveyed state that their previous social media activities have paid off. The majority of companies use social media to develop their own brand, closely followed by building a community in the networks. In third place, companies have the advantage of increasing their own reach and gaining leads.

However, not all networks and social media are equally suitable for founders and startups. Success depends heavily on your target audience, your marketing goals, and a few other factors. Therefore it applies When choosing the social networks for your project, think carefully about which channel suits you and your business and then suitable for your social media marketing and your appearance.

Here is an overview of the 17 most important social networks that you should know as founders and entrepreneurs in 2021

Facebook - the old hand among social networks

By far the largest network worldwide and also in Germany and meanwhile synonymous for the mixture of private and professional: Facebook. There's even a Hollywood blockbuster about its founder. The network is also indispensable for companies, although the user group and function have completely shifted. It's no longer just about virtual exchanges with friends. The users of Facebook are now much older, because various alternatives have opened up for younger people that promise more entertainment - more on that later. You can still reach a broad masses on Facebook by setting up a company page for your startup. In addition, freelancers and entrepreneurs in the service sector have the opportunity to get started with a group and build a community there. Group marketing still works wonderfully on Facebook to show yourself as an expert and generate customers. But caution is also advised: Companies should ask themselves who really should and wants to become a fan. Impending shit storms can be thwarted with the necessary know-how and cleverly avoided. Often a negative experience can be transformed into a positive one with the necessary instinct.
Link: Facebook

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What you can achieve with your Facebook account and a company page, we show you in these specialist articles:

Twitter - Short messages right up to date

Twittering the news (= twittering), i.e. spreading it in SMS-long texts via the Twitter service, is a particularly fast-moving concept that can be used successfully in the communications industry and for real-time marketing. Politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, but also celebrities, pop stars and starlets like to use Twitter. According to the number of 3.5 million users a week, Twitter is less interesting for the general public in Germany. Entrepreneurs who want to use Twitter should keep in mind that they have to serve their followers on a regular basis. And current. This is one of the reasons why it is primarily journalists, media companies, well-known institutions and large companies who like to deal with Twitter and who can be easily reached through it. Anyone who as a company has a lot to say and often has something to say is in good hands on Twitter.
Link: Twitter

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If you want to professionalize your use of Twitter, this specialist article will help you: 8 tools for Twitter make marketing easier


Leaflet: Integration of social networks on commercial websites
with a sample formulation for the data protection declaration

Instagram - The picture and video network is always up to date

If you rely on brand awareness and your products are “instagrammable”, you should definitely rely on Instagram. No other network has such a high interaction rate, because people like and comment on Instagram like crazy. The focus of the picture network is also more on lifestyle content and the pictures are particularly beautifully staged. If you are looking for more traffic, the network is not the right choice, because the images are not provided with links. But especially for smaller companies, regional awareness can easily be achieved through targeted hashtags and awareness of the brand if their content is appropriately prepared and locally networked. Even more can be achieved here through influencer marketing with micro or even better nano influencers. In addition, new formats and functions are often added, Instagram remains up-to-date for users and therefore also in terms of opportunities for companies.
Link: Instagram

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Pinterest - pin board for your focus topics

Pinterest is a platform for digital pin boards on which interesting picture content can be collected and the network is also designed exclusively for pictures and short videos. The aim of the stream is to make your pictures particularly visible and appealing. The biggest hurdle on this platform is appealing image and video material that can be seen and shared, especially the portrait format scores here. Because Pinterest is about beautifully staged content, which mainly belongs to the areas of lifestyle, DIY / home improvement and fashion. The pins, as the pictures and videos are called, are provided with the link to the website and that offers you a traffic guarantee. Products can be linked directly to the shop link or the link to the specialist article, and Pinterest thus ensures a high click rate and, associated with it, a high conversion rate. The image network is used by (predominantly female) users as a search engine for lifestyle content, which means great potential.
Link: Pinterest

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Flickr - the image communication platform

The flickr service relies on the old wisdom: Pictures say louder than words and thus counts to picture networks such as Instagram and Pinterest. For companies, flickr has now proven to be a free and easy-to-use platform for your corporate communication: you no longer have to host your press images on your own page, but can easily share them via flickr. In addition, special attention is paid to flickr in the Google image search, so that image material can be distributed virally here much more easily.
Link: Flickr

Snapchat - picture fun for the youngest generation

The Snapchat network was considered a newcomer among social media channels and there was huge hype about Snapchat, especially at the beginning. This turmoil has long since subsided, even if the channel is now an integral part of the social media landscape. Since then, however, Snapchat has changed and has found a circle of enthusiastic users. The users are extremely young, most of them are between the ages of 14 and 24 and are therefore high school students. Especially for companies and brands that are interesting for young people and teenagers, there is an opportunity here to be able to easily reach the target group. Storytelling is done in the social network, which works more as a messenger, via images and videos. Since there is no feed or a timeline, the options for companies are somewhat limited; there is potential here via paid formats and influencer marketing.
Link: Snapchat

TikTok - The YouTube for Teens

Like Snapchat, TikTok is still comparatively new to the list of social media, but it has earned its place. Anyone who wants to present themselves as a company there has a good chance, because the competition is still low, as many do not yet know exactly whether it is worthwhile. With the entertainment factor in the foreground, it's important to understand what content goes viral there and what matters. The users of the app are extremely young, most of them between 14 and 24 years of age, and TikTok mainly offers them fun and funny, entertaining videos for entertainment. TikTok is suitable for everyone with an extremely young target group for their company and for those who already want to take care of trainees and young talent in the startup. You can also simply start a challenge and encourage users to contribute content and videos, as for example the mail order company OTTO successfully demonstrated with the challenge #MachDichZumOtto or the cosmetics company Mac Cosmetics with the challenge #youownit.
Link: TikTok

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If you now want to find out more about how you can use TikTok for your startup, you will find everything about use, registration, profile and forms of advertising in this specialist article: TikTok for companies

Twitch - Live streaming made easy

With Twitch, there is another platform that takes on the video format and gives users the opportunity to stream a wide variety of applications directly. Video games that can be followed live are particularly popular among users. The great advantage of using Twitch is that users do not have to log in, but the videos are easily accessible. You have the opportunity to organize live events with your company and stream them with Twitch - you can then exchange ideas with users via the live chat and also enable networking with each other.
Link: Twitch

YouTube - The search engine for videos of all kinds

Video killed the Radio Star - the moving image is still gaining increasing importance as a format for content in social networks, so it is no wonder that the number of users for YouTube is consistently high. The social network concept is not the most important thing here, which is why you can easily embed YouTube videos on all other networks. However, as a company you should keep in mind that you are also challenged with your own video channel on YouTube (Brand Channel): high-quality video material is in demand and you also have to constantly deliver new content. Uploading the videos is then easy and you can also easily embed these videos on your website. Alternative: You keep your subscribers happy with found videos and easily share content from other channels. Another big advantage of the platform is, of course, that users don't have to register and YouTube is also used as an alternative search engine to Google searches.
Link: Youtube

YouTube for business - This is how you use the video channel for your company

Vimeo - The alternative video platform

Vimeo is a video platform like YouTube - less big, but better quality. This affects the video quality that can be uploaded to vimeo as well as some of the features that are available. An example: Try giving your YouTube video a self-defined start image. This is only possible if you have your video channel included in the YouTube partner program. The problem with this is that advertising is shown in front of your films if you are unlucky with your competitor. At vimeo, your own start screen is standard. It is similar with the films, here the saying goes: quantity on YouTube, quality on vimeo.
Link: vimeo

Tumblr - the blogger platform

Blogging as much as it can, that's what tumblr is for: users can post texts, images, quotes, chat logs, links, and video and audio files on the platform. The most important principle is relogging: content that has already been posted is republished by other users. In addition, tumblr can be easily connected to other sites, such as WordPress or GetGlue. This makes content generation even easier.
Link: Tumblr

XING - The German career network

Xing sees itself as a career network, mainly for the German-speaking area. It is less about private life and more about professional interests, networking and exchange. Event information and networking in the sense of conferences and discussions can be carried out well here, and you can also use the groups for community or group marketing. Above all, freelancers and founders have a professional and good basis here for their network work, for project assignments and more. However, not all functions are free of charge; there is a premium membership that should definitely be used. This makes additional functions available.
Link: Xing

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LinkedIn - The international career network

LinkedIn is also a network for professional contacts, especially in the international arena. On the platform, new contacts are made and existing, mainly international, business contacts are maintained. The focus is primarily on management issues. In the meantime, LinkedIn is also playing an increasingly important role here in Germany. The composition of the users is also interesting for founders: 36 percent of all Xing members are executives, at LinkedIn it is 80 percent.
Link: LinkedIn

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Google+ / no longer available since 2019 - a new start with Google MyBusiness?

UPDATE: Google Plus was intended as an alternative to Facebook and had fewer but also very loyal fans. Too little overall. When it became clear that the company had had a major data leak with the network - it was cleaned up.
Google deleted the datafrom April 2, 2019.

Although not (yet) a network, Google MyBusiness is still interesting for founders and startups - with an entry in this “company directory”, companies become visible online. The entries are then displayed in the Google search and on Google Maps, so that you also become more relevant in the ranking. The big advantage is that with a Google account, the free MyBusiness entry is available and can be set up very easily and with just a few clicks. It remains to be seen how this will develop, because Google is always integrating new functions into the entry. From the classic information such as the company industry, link to the website, opening times, address, etc., there are now additional information such as appointments, booking options, range of services, but also posting functions and more.

WhatsApp and FB Messenger - Always in touch

Even if WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger cannot really count as a network, the two channels are playing an increasingly important role in online marketing. Therefore, you should not ignore the messenger services. Both apps have a huge range that you can use for yourself. The new kind of email marketing takes place in messenger services and you can get in direct contact with your customers. The possibility of direct communication is a great advantage not only for customer support, but also for sending individual offers, for example, or competent shopping advice.

Clubhouse - invite-only for exciting live podcasts

A new app is causing a sensation and shaking up the world of social networks - we're talking about clubhouse. Even if it is not yet clear whether the clubhouse can really establish itself, it is still worth a closer look. The app, which only provides audio as a format, gives users the chance to listen to conversations (similar to podcasts - only live) and to actively participate in the talks and discussions with well-known personalities, influencers, but also companies. Every user can ask questions and have a say, which probably explains the hype - because this makes large sizes approachable for everyone. Exciting discussion rounds also offer the opportunity to bring your company to the table. However, Clubhouse is currently still very exclusive, as it is currently only available for iOS, with Android it remains silent. You also need an invitation to participate, which also only allows limited users. It remains to be seen whether the audio-only app will also be of interest to the general public in the long term.
Link: Clubhouse

Watch out when choosing the social networks for your startup

With this information on the most important networks in the social media landscape, you are hopefully well prepared for the choice of your channels. As you can see, not every platform is suitable for every type of company, for every target group or marketing goal. It's best to choose carefully and focus on a few networks that work best for you. Continuous maintenance and valuable content are essential in social media marketing.With regard to the choice of social media channels for your company, the following applies: Less is more!