When it comes to social media, there are so many platforms to choose from – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snap Chat, Tumblr, Reddit, Meetup, and so many more! How do you decide which platforms are appropriate for your business?
Each social media network is unique, so it is important for you to:
- Evaluate how the social media platform is used
- Consider your industry
- Learn from the competition.
- Analyze the demographics
- Analyze the platforms content & connections
This blog post will focus on the 7 most popular social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Snap Chat,
Evaluate How the Social Media Platform Is Used
When you evaluate how a social media platform is used, consider what functionality the platform offers, how connections are made, and how profiles connect with businesses.
- Facebook is a relational platform that is personal and relationship oriented. Facebook connections are two-way for profiles – one person sends the request and other accepts. Facebook users can choose to like and/or follow their favorite brands.
- Instagram is Facebook’s photo and video sharing app. It is a visual platform with only photos and videos. It continues to grow in popularity and users can follow each other and brands.
- Twitter is a micro-blogging platform where tweets are limited to 140 characters or less. Twitter is great for informal connections, which makes it a great way to interact big brands and makes it very popular for customer service. Twitter is a fantastic choice for media and events.
- LinkedIn is a professional networking site and is the top social platform for B2B social media. It is the ideal platform for thought leadership and recruiting.
- Pinterest is a visual search platform where posts are organized into boards. It is great for fashion, clothing, and tangible brands as well as photography, beauty, and artistic brands.
- YouTube is ideal for video content streaming and provides the ability to upload, embed, and store your videos outside of your website. It is fantastic for learning and how-to’s.
- SnapChat is a mobile-only platform with visual and disappearing content. Snap Chat is all about creating story-driven content with bite-size stories.
With a better understanding of how the platforms works and how connections are made, you will want to consider what aligns with your social media objectives and how you will connect with your audience.
Consider Your Industry
You will want to consider the network recommendations by industry. Khoros provides an awesome infographic on suggested channels for retail, media, sports, CPG, financial services, automotive, and health care.
In the retail industry, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter are ideal, YouTube will depend on your content strategy, and Twitter and Linked are not likely right for your strategy. In comparison in the financial services industry, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are ideal, YouTube and Snap Chat depend on your strategy, and Instagram and Pinterest are not likely right for the industry.
Consider your competition
It is very beneficial to do an audit of your competition so that you can learn from them, find inspiration, and identify points of differentiation. For a quick audit, simply:
- Create a list of competitors
- Review their efforts
- Make a list of your top 5-10 sites to analyze in depth
- Create a social matrix to track which channels they use
Once you have identified 5-10 competitors and their channels, tally up the totals to rank order the popularity of social media platforms in your industry.
Also, while you are researching the active platforms, make a note of interesting posts for inspiration as well as posts that did not go over well or received negative feedback to avoid making the same mistakes.
Analyze the demographics
There are plenty of articles available for you to learn more about the demographics of a social media platform. One of our favorites is the 2020 social media demographics guide provided by Khoros.
- With 2.45 billion active users in 2020, Facebook is the number one social media platform for adults. It is popular with both females and males. On average, Facebook users spend 35 minutes a day on the platform (Source: Khoros).
- With a billion monthly users, Instagram is a very popular choice for young adults and is popular with both females and males. On average, Facebook users spend 53 minutes a day on the platform (Source: Khoros).
- With 330 million monthly active users, Twitter appeals to young adults and is equally popular with both females and males. On average, Twitter users spend 3.39 minutes per session (Source: Khoros).
- With over 300 million monthly active users, the demographics skew slightly older with the largest group being 30-49 years old. It is popular with both male and females. On average, LinkedIn users spend 6 minutes and 7 seconds per session (Source: Khoros).
- With 300 million active monthly users, Pinterest is more popular with females (70%) than males (30%). Pinterest users spend an average of 14.2 minutes per visit. (Source: Khoros).
- With 2 billion active users, YouTube is popular across ages and equally popular with females and males. On average, users spend 11 minutes and 43 seconds per day on the platform (Source: Khoros).
- With 210 million users, SnapChat is very popular with teens and is more popular with females (61%) than males (38%). On average, Snapchat users spend 30 minutes per day on the platform (Source: Khoros).
Once you understand the social media platform’s demographics, you will want to consider your target audience, which platforms they use, and how to meet your audience where they are.
Analyze the Platform’s Content & Connections
The various social media platforms offer different functionality which in turn influences the format of content, the types of content shared, and what a post can include.
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn allow users to share all forms of content – post with links, images, videos, etc. Instagram is a visual platform for images and videos. Pinterest is great for images. YouTube is ideal for videos. Snap Chat is great for mobile-driven photos and videos. Consider the forms of content you will share and choose the platforms that are best suited to that content. If you don’t create videos, there is no sense in having a YouTube page.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snap Chat are used personally to connect with friends or learn something new, while LinkedIn is professional and used to make connections, share your thoughts, recruit, and build your network. Then, consider your brand personality, the types of relationships you will develop (business-to-business vs. business-to-consumer), and which platforms seem like a good fit.
Ultimately, you want to choose a social media platform that supports the content you plan on sharing and the types of relationships you want to foster.
There is no one size fits all for choosing social media platforms. It will depend on your business, objectives, industry, target audience, and content strategy.