You may have heard that your brand or business needs to be active on all forms of social media but the list is exhaustive and growing all the time. Let’s face it. If you are a small to medium business, a freelancer, or just are on a tight budget…this is just not going to happen. The question then arises: How can you tell which social media platforms would work best for your type of business?
How to Decide What Social Network is Best for your Business
Certain platforms naturally lend themselves to a specific business niche, and once you understand the utility of the platforms themselves you will have a better bet at picking the right one to help promote your brand. One of the initial steps in choosing a social media platform best suited for you is to match up your brand’s demographics with the demographics of a given platform.
Active Users Per Social Network
Regardless of the controversy, Facebook comes way ahead of the pack when it comes to user-base size. These are the latest numbers as of 2-19:
- Facebook: 1.52 billion daily active users
- Instagram: 1/2 billion daily active users
- Twitter: 126 million daily users
- LinkedIn: 260 million monthly users
- Pinterest: 250 million monthly users
- 68% of adults use Facebook.
- 35% of adults use Instagram.
- 24% of adults use Twitter.
- 25% of adults use LinkedIn.
- 29% of adults use Pinterest.
- 27% of adults use Snapchat.
But you shouldn’t let audience size dictate where you market. Let us dive deeper into each platform so you can decide what social network is best for your business.
Facebook dominates social media (yes, even after all the controversy and scandals). How much so?
- Facebook has 2.27 billion monthly active users
- More than 1/4 of the world’s population uses Facebook monthly.
- 1.5 billion of the above use Facebook daily
- 1.3 billion use Facebook Messenger.
- 68% of adults who use social media use Facebook.
- The gender split on Facebook is made up of 54% women and 46% men.
- 62% of all online men and 72% of all online women use Facebook
- 51% of 13-17 year-olds use Facebook.
- 81% of 18-29 year-olds use Facebook.
- 78% of 30-49 year-olds use Facebook.
- 65% of 50-64 year-olds use Facebook.
- 41% of 65+ year-olds use Facebook.
- Facebook users are international, 89% of monthly active users live outside of the US and Canada
- 50% of monthly active users on Facebook speak a language that is not English.
- 14% of all Facebook users are located in India
- 71% of adults with some college education use Facebook
- 77% of adults who are college graduates use Facebook.
- 66% of adults who earn under $30,000 use Facebook.
- 74% of adults who earn between $30,000–$49,999 use Facebook.
- 70% of adults who earn between $50,000–$74,999 use Facebook.
- 75% of adults who earn over $75,000 use Facebook.
Creating a fan page or a brand page on Facebook is important for nearly every type of business –unless you’re specifically targeting teens and very young adults, who have been ditching Facebook in record numbers ever since their parents started using it! When posting on Facebook, be sure to include a visual element to help boost audience engagement by 120%, and try posting daily, but especially on Thursday or Friday, which are well-known to be the best days for organic reach.
One note, Facebook is probably the most challenging networks to get organic reach in, so while we recommend that you be active on the network, make sure that the content you publish is superb.
Instagram has been growing by leaps and bounds and seems to be untouched by the woes of Facebook. After the acquisition, it has become more feature rich than it was in 2010, particularly due to the popularity of stories and IGTV. Let’s dive deep into the latest Instagram demographics:
- 35% of all US adults use Instagram
- Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users
- Instagram has 500 million daily active users.
- Instagram stories have 400 million daily active users.
- 72% of 13-17 year-olds use Instagram.
- 64% of 18-29 year-olds use Instagram.
- 40% of 30-49 year-olds use Instagram.
- 21% of 50-64 year-olds use Instagram.
- 10% of 65+ year-olds use Instagram.
- 39% of online women use Instagram.
- 30% of online men use Instagram.
- 80% of Instagram’s user base lives outside the US.
- 36% of adults with some college education use Instagram.
- 42% of adults who are college graduates use Instagram.
- 30% of adults who earn under $30,000 use Instagram.
- 42% of adults who earn between $30,000–$49,999 use Instagram.
- 32% of adults who earn between $50,000–$74,999 use Instagram.
- 42% of adults who earn over $75,000 use Instagram.
While Twitter usage has declined in recent years, its users are loyal and dedicated. Twitter also seems to be where people go to get immediate customer support from brands. A great example of this is Airbnbhelp. Brands that do best on Twitter have breaking news or special offers that can engage people quickly. Twitter is a good choice for businesses concerned with time-sensitive news reports and insights. This platform’s effectiveness is contingent on timely two-way communication with followers.
Flash sales, contests and special offers with a short end-date are especially effective, showing that social media for business doesn’t have to be in-depth and include a full-blown editorial calendar. Just like with Facebook, images and short videos can drive extraordinary engagement on Twitter, with nearly a 90% increase in favorites and a 150% increase in retweets versus plain text images. Utilizing industry hashtags also lets you join the conversation without extensive investment in time.
Let us do a deep dive into Twitter’s current demographics:
- 32% of 13-17 year-olds use Twitter.
- 40% of 18-29 year-olds use Twitter.
- 27% of 30-49 year-olds use Twitter.
- 19% of 50-64 year-olds use Twitter.
- 8% of 65+ year-olds use Twitter.
- 24% of online women use Twitter.
- 23% of online men use Twitter.
- 79% of Twitter users live outside of the US.
- 25% of adults with some college education use Twitter.
- 32% of adults who are college graduates use Twitter.
- 20% of adults who earn under $30,000 use Twitter.
- 21% of adults who earn between $30,000–$49,999 use Twitter.
- 26% of adults who earn between $50,000–$74,999 use Twitter.
- 32% of adults who earn over $75,000 use Twitter.
YouTube is the biggest search engine after Google, yet most people, even experienced marketers, do not realize the search power of this video powerhouse. If you’re creating visual content, or even if you need to tell people how to use your product or service, this is the platform to be on.
On top of that, YouTube content tends to rank incredibly high on Google searches, so creating content for this network can be a great SEO and branding boost.
YouTube works exceptionally well for businesses whose social media strategy includes direct interaction with users in the form of shared videos, or the creation of singular entertainment. Let us look at YouTube demographics and behavior statistics direct from Google:
- 1.9 billion logged-in users visit YouTube on a monthly basis
- 96% of 18-24-year-old American internet users use YouTube
- About 16% of YouTube’s visitors are US based
- YouTube is the 2nd most-visited website in the world
- 70% of YouTube views are on mobile
- 70% of millennial YouTube users used YouTube to learn to do something
- One billion hours of content are watched daily on YouTube
Vastly different from most of the other platforms mentioned, LinkedIn has a more professional feel and purpose. One of the best reasons to promote your business on LinkedIn may be for recruiting purposes or to find potential customers for your SaaS or digital-based business. Professional marketers abound on LinkedIn, and if your business includes tools marketers would use to excel, LinkedIn would be a valuable consideration. Business leaders can also be quite active, as well as freelancers. LinkedIn has always been the professional network, and as such it is frequented by people who are highly educated and who have a higher income. Let us discuss the latest LinkedIn demographics so you can determine if LinkedIn is the right place to promote your business:
- Over 590 million users have a profile on LinkedIn.
- 29% of 18-29 year-olds use LinkedIn.
- 33% of 30-49 year-olds use LinkedIn.
- 24% of 50-64 year-olds use LinkedIn.
- 9% of 65+ year-olds use LinkedIn.
- 25% of online women use LinkedIn.
- 25% of online men use LinkedIn.
- Over 70% of LinkedIn users live outside the US.
- 22% of adults with some college education use LinkedIn.
- 50% of adults who are college graduates use LinkedIn.
- 13% of adults who earn under $30,000 use LinkedIn.
- 20% of adults who earn between $30,000–$49,999 use LinkedIn.
- 24% of adults who earn between $50,000–$74,999 use LinkedIn.
- 45% of adults who earn over $75,000 use LinkedIn..
Pinterest and Instagram dominate when it comes to visual social networks. However, their demographics are different, so if you have to choose one over the other, definitely take time to compare their demographics and behavior. As a rule, women are quite loyal to Pinterest. Moreover, for customers whose buying choices may be highly influenced by images, Pinterest is the perfect network. Let us break down the latest Pinterest Demographics:
- Pinterest has 250 million monthly active users.
- 61% of pinners have purchased an item after seeing it on Pinterest.
- 34% of 18-29 year-olds use Pinterest.
- 34% of 30-49 year-olds use Pinterest.
- 26% of 50-64 year-olds use Pinterest.
- 16% of 65+ year-olds use Pinterest.
- 41% of online women use Pinterest.
- 16% of online men use Pinterest.
- 50% of all new signups are men.
- 1/2 of Pinterest users are not US based.
- 32% of adults with some college education use Pinterest.
- 40% of adults who are college graduates use Pinterest.
- 20% of adults who earn under $30,000 use Pinterest.
- 32% of adults who earn between $30,000–$49,999 use Pinterest.
- 34% of adults who earn between $50,000–$74,999 use Pinterest.
- 39% of adults who earn over $75,000 use Pinterest.
Snapchat and Tumblr are best if your audience is younger. These networks are dominated by 18-24 year-olds.
- Snapchat has 186 million daily active users.
- 69% of 13-17 year 0lds use Snapchat.
- 68% of 18-29 year-olds use Snapchat.
- 26% of 30-49 year-olds use Snapchat.
- 10% of 50-64 year-olds use Snapchat.
- 3% of 65+ year-olds use Snapchat.
- 31% of online women use Snapchat.
- 23% of online men use Snapchat.
- 31% of adults with some college education use Snapchat.
- 26% of adults who are college graduates use Snapchat.
- 23% of adults who earn under $30,000 use Snapchat.
33% of adults who earn between $30,000–$49,999 use Snapchat.
26% of adults who earn between $50,000–$74,999 use Snapchat.
30% of adults who earn over $75,000 use Snapchat.
Questions To Consider When Choosing the Right Social Network for your Business
You may be thinking platforms with a larger user base will translate into more customers, but users on a larger platform could be a completely different demographic to your desired target audience. User-base size by itself is not an accurate metric when it comes to choosing a social media platform. You should consider your target demographic, how you will engage with your audience and the level of competition on each platform.
Social Media Brand Dependence
Brand Dependence measures how strong of a connection people have to a brand. According to Brand Dependence research on 15 popular social media brands using the Brand Dependence methodology, surveys were conducted related to which social media brands US consumers feel they can’t live without. The combined metrics resulted in a Brand Dependence score that ranged from 0 to 100.
Facebook (43), Instagram (42), YouTube (39), Pinterest (38) and reddit (38) had the strongest scores overall. Tumblr/Snapchat (37), Foursquare (36), Twitter (33), Flickr/Vimeo (32), and LinkedIn (31). These results reveal that excluding Facebook, the platforms with the biggest user base have the lowest engagement. In other words, your decision should not be based on user-base size alone.
Placing Content on the Right Platform
Another consideration for a successful social media campaign is knowing what type of content is on each platform. Jayson DeMers has identified the most common content types on each major platform:
1. All content and niches: Twitter and Facebook
2. Image content: Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr
5. Video content: YouTube, Vimeo
4. Business orientated: LinkedIn
6. Local: Foursquare, Yelp
7. Niche-specific: reddit