We’re big fans of social media and believe it offers tons of benefits for businesses. But with so many platforms to choose from, and only so many hours in the day, how do you know which platforms to focus your time and energy on?

Here’s a quick rundown of what we think are the key benefits of the various social media platforms:

LinkedIn: Great for B2B networking, LinkedIn helps you find, learn about and connect with potential partners quickly and easily. What’s more, by posting relevant, informative content on a regular basis, you can build trust and establish your expertise over time.

Twitter: Fantastic for instant engagement and interaction, Twitter is the place to go for lively conversations. With short, snappy tweets, you can talk to your target audience, discover what makes them tick, and communicate your brand in a natural, easy way.

Facebook: The reigning champ when it comes to sheer exposure, Facebook gets your business in front of a massive audience, and in lots of different ways. Highly targeted ads, retargeting for previous web visitors, informal live videos, Messenger chats, engagement through likes and follows, Facebook has it all and more.

Instagram: Facebook-owned Instagram offers many of the same benefits in terms of targeting users. Plus, with its heavy focus on visual delights, Instagram is great for building brand awareness, promoting photo-friendly products and generating sales. In fact, more than a third of users have used Insta to buy a product online!

Pinterest: Another visual platform, Pinterest is ideal if your business relies on spotting trends, if you want to understand more about your audience’s tastes, or if you’re promoting an aspirational product/service. It’s handy for driving web traffic, too.

Google+: More of a sharing tool than a social network, Google+ offers unrivalled integration with other Google products, making it a good bet for building links, disseminating content and boosting SEO.

So which platforms are best for your business? It depends on your audience and what you’re trying to achieve. In the B2B space, we’ve found that a combination of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn works well for us. But Instagram and Pinterest might be better for businesses with a more visual slant (design, architecture and consumer retail, for example).

Whatever platforms you focus on, it’s vital you manage your social media presence carefully, avoiding the most common clangers. Download our free guide to the seven biggest social media mistakes (and how to avoid them), or discover how OCTOPUS can help you successfully navigate the world of social media.