Have you ever asked yourself what is the best social media site out there? Social media is a powerful marketing tool, which has helped me grow my site significantly. It’s no wonder that people are constantly searching for how to get more followers and how to increase traffic via social media. Being a blogger I like to use different networks and test them. But it’s hard to believe that there isn’t a clear winner. For this reason I decided to do some research on which social media site is the best. I used several criteria: how easy it is to interact with other users, how much real engagement they have, growth of the network as well as quality of users generated from the social network itself. Here are some of my observations:
I’m not sure how you found my website, but I’m guessing it has something to do with which is the best social media site. Well, that’s what I’m here for. I won’t waste your time and tell you that Facebook is right for your business or LinkedIn is the only professional network you should be using. Instead, I’ll tell you all about the different social media sites, give you a few things to look out for (yes there is one social media site that will only slow your business down), and outline the pros and cons of each so that you can decide which is the best social media site.
Long the home of influencers, brands, bloggers, small business owners, friends and everyone in between, Instagram has topped well over 1 billion monthly users. If you’re wondering whether a meaningful segment of your audience spends time on the platform, the answer is almost surely a resounding yes.
Who’s on Instagram (and Why): Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms for teens and young adults, especially in the U.S. Use of the app slowly drops off with age but stays consistent across both men and women, so if your customers are under 40, then Instagram can’t be ignored.
The Content that Works Best on Instagram: Beautiful photography, stunning visuals, unique designs, selfie-style video that speaks directly to your audience and a cohesive theme to your content will help you stand out on Instagram.
You Should Prioritize Instagram if: Your target audience is under the age of 40, you run a lifestyle, ecommerce, or photography business.
YouTube hails as the second most popular search engine in the world today, right behind its parent company, Google. If your business could benefit from producing video tutorials or walkthroughs, visually-driven instructional content, product reviews or interviews, then this social media platform is a must for reaching their more than 2 billion monthly users.
Who’s on YouTube (and Why): A whopping 73% of U.S. adults report regularly using YouTube, with a heavy concentration in the age range of 15 to 34 years olds. YouTube is broadly popular amongst both men and women, and usage tends to go up alongside income and level of education.
The Content that Works Best on YouTube: Video only. Depending upon your type of business and who your audience is, both long-form and short-form video content can work very well on this platform. Most viewers tune in for a combination of education and entertainment, so whether you’re teaching your audience about emerging marketing tactics or streaming video gameplay, work hard to retain their attention throughout your videos. You might also consider tapping into popular YouTube trends like unboxing videos (especially if you rep a physical product) and “with me” content that takes viewers along with you for the ride. Additionally, if starting a YouTube channel feels ambitious, partnering with YouTube influencers who are excited about your mission could help you test the waters before you dive in.
You Should Prioritize YouTube if: Your audience is below the age of 50 and consumes video content as a means of either education or entertainment.
With nearly 2.5 billion monthly users, Facebook is hands down the largest social media site in the world. While that practically ensures at least some of your audience regularly uses the platform, it’s developed a somewhat negative reputation amongst younger users that are increasingly turning to other alternative sites.
Regardless, if your brand stands to benefit from sharing industry-related news, engaging (short-form) videos, graphics and other visually appealing content—especially if your primary audience is above the age of 30—then consider having a presence on Facebook. You might also consider leveraging Facebook groups to gather your customers or community in one place online. Facebook groups, unlike Facebook business pages, aren’t for advertising, but they can be helpful in creating conversation.
Who’s on Facebook (and Why): 68% of U.S. adults report using Facebook, with 51% saying they’re active multiple times daily. Usage is spread pretty evenly amongst males and females, while users tend to get increasingly active as age increases (especially beyond the 40+ year old demographic).
The Content that Works Best on Facebook: The more interesting, engaging or even polarizing your content is, the more likely it is to go viral on Facebook. Lean heavily on short videos, eye-catching images and attention-grabbing headlines to attract an audience. For Facebook groups, interactive content and conversation-starters are the way to go. Consider live streams and polls.
You Should Prioritize Facebook if: You want to reach an audience of adults and have engaging visual (or video) content that can capture their attention, invoke an immediate emotional response and make them excited to share with their friends. Or if you want an easy way to create an online community around a topic or business.
WhatsApp — 2 billion MAUs
WhatsApp is a messaging app used by people in over 180 countries. Initially, people originally used WhatsApp to send text messages to their family and friends. Gradually, people started communicating with businesses via WhatsApp.
WhatsApp’s business platform allows businesses to provide customer support and share updates with customers about their purchases. For small businesses, there’s the WhatsApp Business app, while enterprise businesses can use the WhatsApp Business API.
As the most widely used messaging platform, WhatsApp can be a great customer service channel for your business. Check out these WhatsApp Business user success stories.
Facebook Messenger — 1.3 billion MAUs
Messenger used to be a feature within Facebook, but since 2011, Messenger has been a standalone app with expanded features. Businesses can advertise, create chatbots, send newsletters, and more. These features have given businesses a myriad of new ways to engage and connect with their customers.
If you’re thinking about using Messenger for your business, read seven ways you can use Messenger for your marketing.
Twitter gained notoriety as a microblogging site that just included text posts of up to 140 characters. Since its launch in 2006, it has raised that character limit and now lets a user share other media like photos and videos. With about 330 million monthly active users, it’s not as ubiquitous as Facebook. However, it is still widely used among general consumers. Additionally, it can be a useful site for interaction, like joining Twitter chats in your industry or responding to customers who have customer service questions.
LinkedIn is the most popular social media site for professional networking. The platform has over 700 million registered users, with about 300 million active each month. Launched in 2003, LinkedIn allows a user to add their resumes, connect with others in their industry, and even post and respond to job listings. In a marketing sense, LinkedIn is often especially useful for B2B businesses. It even offers paid ads and content publishing options.
This new kid on the block is less than two years old, but received over 1 billion downloads of their video-based app during their first year of operation. Today, TikTok reportedly sees over 800 million monthly users, which instantly places it amongst the top social media platforms in the world in terms of sheer user figures.
Who’s on TikTok (and Why): Around 50% of TikTok’s audience is under the age of 35 in the U.S., with the majority of that audience concentrated amongst those between the ages of 16 to 24.
The Content that Works Best on TikTok: Entertaining, interesting, comedic and sometimes nonsensical short-form video content, usually set to the tune of popular songs. Think fun, catchy music-video style content.
You Should Prioritize TikTok if: You want to reach (and entertain) a young audience with fun video-based content that doesn’t often have a direct connection to your products or services. Being overly self-promotional on this platform won’t build you a loyal following, so be prepared to take the approach of entertaining first.
Pinterest has become a very popular social bookmarking tool for saving ideas and finding creative inspiration when it comes to everything from cooking to DIY home projects, vacation ideas, interior design, business and everything in between. With an audience predominantly consisting of adult women, this social media platform is also often cited as a crucial part of the product discovery journey.
Who’s on Pinterest (and Why): With over 320 million monthly users, Pinterest boasts one of the most concentrated audiences of women amongst all social media sites. Nearly 80% of their users are female, with a heavy concentration amongst millennials.
The Content that Works Best on Pinterest: Vertically-formatted images do best on this platform, due largely to the browsing experience users are presented with. Polished imagery with clear copy that conveys what the Pinner will see if they click through performs best. Numbers, lists, and quotes should be a big part of your strategy here. And don’t forget to consider keywords and search terms in your imagery.
You Should Prioritize Pinterest if: Your audience consists predominantly of adult women, your business is related to lifestyle, fashion, decorating, or DIY.
Despite seeming to lose some ground to competitor social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, Snapchat still remains one of the most heavily used apps with the under 25 years of age demographic—boasting over 300 million monthly users in recent months. Most Snapchat users frequent the app in order to share updates and communicate with friends and family through disappearing images and short video messages.
Who’s on Snapchat (and Why): Young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 make up a massive 78% of active users who partake in the platform’s over 14 billion daily video views. Users tend to skew slightly more toward females, with the majority accessing the app daily.
The Content that Works Best on Snapchat: Video-driven storytelling. If you have a knack for creating compelling (usually selfie-style) short videos that can entertain & educate a young audience, then Snapchat is a no brainer platform for you to form connections with your customers.
You Should Prioritize Snapchat if: You want to reach a young audience and have an affinity for creating bite-sized, engaging video content. Like with TikTok though, don’t expect to flip on your camera and talk about your products all day, as most Snapchat users are here to be entertained.
Every year, there’s a new social media site ready to give the incumbents a run for their money and attract new users. I’m particularly interested in finding the best solution for my customers, as well as the marketing community. I’ve been involved in a lot of projects over the past few years and have always been curious about which one is winning the popularity race — but it seems to change on an almost daily basis. Is there an end in sight for this maelstrom of virtual platforms?