For businesses looking to reach new audiences, social media marketing offers an extremely powerful opportunity. Today’s top social media platforms boast a vast audience of consumers with wide-ranging interests and millions of potential customers visiting daily. Further, some even offer advertising options with audience-segmentation capabilities that can help businesses reach the consumers they are seeking, often at a minimal cost compared to other advertising channels.
But with such a broad range of social platforms available, the marketing decision-makers for many businesses might be left wondering which platform is the best for their particular brand. The answer often lies in the types of consumers that primarily use each of the different platforms. And for business marketers seeking more insights, the entries below outline five of today’s leading social media platforms along with details on some of the top opportunities they offer and the types of consumers most likely to adopt:
- Facebook: With nearly 70% of adult Americans reporting that they use the platform, Facebook ranks high among the most popular social networks in the nation. It is slightly more popular with women than men (77% vs. 61% report using the social network) and is used fairly consistently across racial demographics and age groups. It is also the most popular social media network in the world with nearly 3 billion active monthly users globally as of 2021.
Users spend an average of 10 minutes per day on Facebook. Featuring robust and highly targetable advertising opportunities for businesses, it can be a powerful tool for companies seeking to expand their lead-generation efforts. The platform is also a great place to share company updates, photos and news about new products and services as well as to interact with customers and other followers. And the platform’s business pages can highlight company details such as business location, hours of operation, contact information, products and services offered in a place that many potential customers are likely to seek out.
- Instagram: Boasting more than 1 billion active monthly users globally in 2021, Instagram is another hugely popular social network the world over. The platform is especially popular with younger social media users with 71% of 18- to 29-year-olds reporting that they use Instagram.
62% of Instagram’s users log in at least once per day. With a focus on visual content such as photos and videos, the platform offers businesses a great place to showcase their products and services with eye-catching imagery and interesting videos. Instagram is also designed primarily for mobile devices as users cannot take photos or post on the platform using the desktop version. And its “Checkout” feature allows for direct in-app purchases, making it a great fit for e-commerce businesses.
- LinkedIn: A social media network geared specifically toward professionals, LinkedIn says it has more than 65 million active users. The platform is especially effective for reaching career-focused users between ages 30 and 64 with 36% of American adults ages 30 to 49 and 33% ages 50 to 64 using the platform. It is also a good platform to use for reaching highly educated users as more than half of Americans with a college degree or higher use the platform.
While LinkedIn is not an ideal platform for typical retail businesses seeking consumers for their products and services, it can be a great place for B2B businesses looking to share their offerings with potential business customers. It can also be a powerful tool for businesses seeking networking and partnership opportunities as well as for posting job openings and sharing industry-related content.
- Twitter: A social network that imposes character-count limits on users’ posts to keep them brief and help cut the “clutter” that can plague social media timelines, Twitter is home to more than 330 million active monthly users worldwide with 63% of them being between the ages of 35 and 65.
Not only a place designed primarily for (like Facebook and Instagram) keeping track of friends and family members, Twitter is a platform through which users can stay abreast of breaking news and users’ opinions on timely topics. For businesses, the platform lends itself well to fostering engagement with other industry-specific brands, entities and power brokers as well as to consistently engaging with and providing updates to followers.
Twitter ads can, like Facebook’s, also be highly targeted. But they deliver 1-3% higher success rates than Facebook’s ads, making them an attractive option for increasing brand exposure. The platform is also a great spot for businesses with a unique and strong brand voice to amplify their brand persona with consumers.
- YouTube: Focused on video sharing, YouTube has become a hugely popular digital hub for consumers seeking news, education and entertainment in video form. And with 81% of U.S. adults reporting that they use YouTube, the platform leads all other social networks in this category. It is also widely used across nearly every age group and demographic, making it a great place for businesses to gain brand exposure with consumers of all kinds.
YouTube also offers the opportunity for businesses to educate and inspire consumers via the creation of a video channel (or creating and posting one-off videos) focused on topics like how to properly use their products, show products in use and convey a desired brand lifestyle. YouTube Ads, which offer high levels of targeting capabilities, can also be a great way to ramp up a brand’s video-marketing efforts.
Note: It is highly recommended that brands (especially those seeking to establish and maintain a professional image) invest in professional video production for videos that will be shared on YouTube.
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