You know that having a brand presence on social media is essential in today’s digital world. But with so many platforms to choose from, how can you determine which ones are worth your effort?
In theory, you could use every major platform for your social engagement strategy. However, this plan would require a large, dedicated social media team to execute properly. You’re better off focusing your efforts, and it helps to begin by thinking about factors like your target audience and your internal capacity for producing different types of content.
Overview of Each Social Media Platform
Here’s a brief overview of the major social media platforms so you can make an informed decision about where to show up:
Facebook is the #2 most visited social media platform, behind YouTube. Globally, Facebook has 2.74 billion users, and 1.82 billion of them log in every day.
This social media platform is a popular entry point for businesses—it doesn’t rely as heavily on images or videos as some of the other platforms, meaning fewer creative assets are required to use it effectively.
According to Pew Research Center, most of Facebook’s users are between 30 and 49 years old.
YouTube is the most visited social media platform in the world. It has 2 billion monthly users, and in the United States alone, 95% of people aged 18-29 report using it. That number shrinks with each age group, but not by much.
Those statistics may lead you to believe that using YouTube as part of a social engagement strategy is a no-brainer, but there’s more to consider before diving in.
YouTube is a video-only platform, and creating high-quality video content isn’t easy. It takes equipment and can be time-consuming. YouTube videos can supplement your social engagement, but if your communications strategy centers around this platform, you’ll want to ensure you have the right equipment, time to dedicate and personnel to get a worthwhile return on your efforts.
Instagram has 1.2 billion monthly users and sees 43% growth year over year in site traffic. About 63% of Instagram users are between 18 and 34, and only 30% of users are over 35 years old. If your brand’s social media followers tend to be older, Instagram may not be the right platform for you.
Instagram is an excellent choice for businesses that excel at creating visual content. If you have a store or physical products, Instagram is a great place to showcase them and build social engagement.
While your Instagram account should be consistent with your brand identity, it shouldn’t look exactly like your website. Don’t be afraid to add some personality to your posts!
LinkedIn is similar to Facebook—but it’s geared specifically toward professionals. A quarter of American adults use LinkedIn, and 60% of its users are between 25 and 34. There is ample potential for businesses on LinkedIn, whether in networking, recruiting, or finding leads.
LinkedIn works well for brands because its purpose is to help establish and build connections. You can create polls, post photos, make text-only posts, and use hashtags to engage with fellow professionals
It’s also a perfect place to network. If you have a scheduled meeting with an important connection, LinkedIn makes it easy to learn important details about their career and possibly see their connections as well as connections you have in common,, too. It’s a bit more niche than other social channels, but it can be highly effective if used strategically.
Many big brands like Old Spice, Wendy’s, and JetBlue have a substantial presence on Twitter, but it’s not typically a go-to app for smaller businesses.
With 353 million users and 192 million active users, Twitter has the smallest user base of all the platforms on our list. Twenty-two percent of American adults use Twitter, which is considerably less than giants like Facebook and Instagram. Despite these numbers, Twitter is the 11th most visited website for news.
Twitter users tend to post multiple times per day and are tuned into the news cycle. To be successful on Twitter, you must be able to capitalize on what’s trending quickly—and be concise. You only have 280 characters to get your point across, and a few years back, it was only 140!
TikTok is used by 689 million people and was the #1 most-downloaded app in 2020. It’s an up-and-coming platform that progressive brands are trying to break into. However, the TikTok learning curve is steep. Many brands partner with TikTok influencers who already have established expertise on the platform.
Like YouTube, TikTok relies exclusively on video content. However, most TikToks feature unconventional edits, filters, and music to create short, visually exciting clips.
TikTok has the youngest audience of all the platforms on our list. If your brand wants to target young people and you have someone in house who can make high-quality videos, it may be worth capitalizing on this opportunity; otherwise, it’s probably not worth the effort.
Any social media platform has the potential to round out a successful communications strategy, but not without hard work. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts when it comes to building social engagement. Algorithms are constantly changing, and what’s trending one day can fade just as quickly the next.
The best approach to selecting your social media platforms is to make an educated guess and start testing. Post consistently on one or more platforms, then examine key metrics, like engagement (shares, likes, retweets, or comments) and impressions (reach or views). These figures will give you a clearer picture of your audience’s response and help you determine the best path forward.
If you need more guidance on how to better leverage social media platforms, get in touch with me today!