The July-August issue of HBR has a great spread on who's using which social channels, Who Hangs Out Where? It's required reading for anyone trying to choose channels for content.

When you're selecting social channels for your marketing/messaging, it's silly not to consider if the people you most want/need to reach are hanging out there (another question is if they're there looking for information like yours and would be receptive to receiving it).

Finding target markets on social media

There weren't a lot of surprises in the HBR graphic. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter were the giants in terms of users. What was more interesting was the more granular data that broke down users by gender, age, education and household income. This provides a useful overview of the kinds of people using each site that can help you decide if your people are there in relevant numbers.

Connecting with people on Linkedin

What I found most interesting, probably because we're working with a handful of cool start-ups and several career-changing top managers, was the Linkedin data.

What it  lacks in volume, Linkedin sure makes up for in education (almost half of its users are college educated) and household income (the highest percentage of $150K+). Its users also are older: about half are over 35.

If you're a start-up seeking capital or a top-level job-seeker/networker, this is definitely where you want to be. I don't think that's news to anyone, but the data does at least confirm what most of us have been thinking and what Linked in has been saying for a long time now. [More tips on how to use Linkedin]

Choosing social media marketing channels

You can use the HBR insights to help you vet channels. Once you've decided which channels are appropriate for your purpose, factor in your own audience research along with the HBR analysis to narrow your selections to the ones that make the most sense for your audience. Here's how we do it:

Download our easy-to-use channel chooser template.

Social media channel chooser

© 2011 TTMS/TWF Click image for larger view.

(Learn how to choose social media channels)

Using this process and good data can help you improve your chances of selecting the most effective social channels for your content marketing.