Social media platforms have changed the way we communicate, including how businesses engage in digital marketing. With so many apps out there, how do you know which one is best for promoting your business? All have their good, bad and unique features, but one thing is for sure. Social media is big. And if your business is not on them, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to spread brand awareness and reach potential customers. Let’s have a look at just how big social media platforms are and see which one may be best for your brand.
So how big is social media? As of July 2021, there were over 4.48 billion active social media users in the world. That’s a whopping 56.8% of the entire global population. And this figure is only growing, especially due to COVID-19 keeping people inside. The total global unique user count grew by 520 million over the past year, a 13% annual growth. To put things into perspective, that means more than 1 in 9 of social media users today only started using social media platforms for the first time within the past year.
So how big is the biggest? Recent surveys from Statista showing the most popular social networks worldwide give us great insight. Facebook remains the market leader with 2.89 billion monthly active users, also being the first social media platform to surpass one billion registered accounts. The company also currently owns four of the largest social media sites including Facebook (core platform), Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. Following Facebook is video sharing platform Youtube, with 2.3 billion monthly users. Let’s have a closer look at the top social media platforms on the app store today.
Top Social Media Platforms
What is TikTok?
By now, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that TikTok is one of the most viral social media platforms on the internet today. TikTok has become the most downloaded social media app of 2020, with more than 82 million downloads. What’s even crazier is that it received over 1 billion downloads during their first year of operation. It’s mega popularity arises from how easy it is to create and binge watch short clips on a Gen Z friendly user interface. Videos often take the form of dance challenges to relatable “Never have I ever…” to song covers to music from generations ago. It’s algorithm also works to meet the specific interests and needs of each user, making it a highly addictive platform. As a result, TikTok’s main audience include Millennials and Generation Z’ers, with around half of their users being under the age of 35. However, the majority of TikTok’s audience is concentrated amongst those between the ages of 16 to 24.
Is TikTok right for your business?
If you want to target a young audience and/or have a product offering suitable for younger customers, then TikTok may be the right social media platform for your business. Keep in mind that the content that works best on this platform includes short-form video content that is entertaining, interesting, funny, rather than being informational like traditional ad content. Think fun, catchy style content more like music videos. Be prepared to take the approach of entertaining your audience first before selling them anything, as being overly self-promotional on TikTok won’t build you a loyal following. Check out this article from Entrepreneur for more ideas on how to use TikTok to promote your business!
What is Instagram?
With well over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is still the popular home of influencers, bloggers, small business owners, brands and everyone in between. As such, there is a very high chance that a meaningful segment of your audience spends time on this social media platform on a daily basis. Instagram has evolved from a simple photo sharing platform to a multi-purpose app where you can upload stories, post videos, go live with your followers, among many other things. Instagram has become one of the most popular social media apps for young adults and teenagers, consistent across both men and women. The number of users do however, drop slightly with age, but if your customers are under 40 Instagram can’t be ignored.
Is Instagram right for your business?
As a popular social media platform amongst teens and young adults, Instagram is best suited for advertising your business if your customers are under 40. Moreover, Instagram’s platform and layout makes it suitable for businesses involved in ecommerce, lifestyle or photography/videography. The content that works best on Instagram include high quality images such as beautiful/scenic photography, stunning visuals, unique designs and vlog style videos that speak directly to your audience. A well planned out and cohesive feed will help you stand out on Instagram.
What is YouTube?
YouTube reigns as the second most popular search engine today, following close behind its parent company Google. According to a report from Sandvine, YouTube accounted for 15% of all traffic on consumer broadband networks worldwide in 2021, even beating video streaming service Netflix. Boasting more than 2 billion monthly users, if your business could benefit from producing video tutorials or reviews on products, visually-driven instructional content and walkthroughs, then YouTube is the social media platform that is a must for you. As the most dominant social media platform according to Forbes, an aweing 73% of both male and female U.S. adults report using YouTube regularly, with a heavy concentration between the age range of 15 to 34 year olds.
Is YouTube right for your business?
YouTube should be a priority for your business if your audience is under 50 years of age and consumes video content for either educational or entertainment purposes. Suitably, the content that works best on this platform are videos. And videos only. Depending upon your type of business and your target audience, both short-form and long-form video content can work very well in marketing your brand and product offering. Tapping into popular YouTube trends such as unboxing videos, especially if you offer physical products, might also be a strategic move in capitalising on this platform. You could also reach out to YouTube influencers who are excited about your mission to promote your product on their channel. Done right, and your product can be put in front of millions of potential customers. Check out this article from BigCommerce about the power of YouTube influencer marketing!
What is Facebook?
Needless to say, Facebook is by far the largest social media platform in the world with nearly 2.5 billion monthly active users. Despite developing a negative reputation amongst younger users in recent times due to concerns of privacy, Facebook is the social media behemoth that is here to stay and certainly not to be ignored. If your business will benefit from sharing industry-related news, short-form videos, graphics and other visually appealing content, typically for a target customer demographic of over 30 years of age, then you should heavily consider establishing or expanding your presence on Facebook. 68% of adults in the U.S. report using Facebook, with 51% saying that they’re active multiple times a day. Usage tends to increase with age especially beyond the 40+ year old demographic, so Facebook is definitely better suited for older customers.
Is Facebook right for your business?
As suggested by the demographic of its users, Facebook is most suitable for businesses that want to target adult customers. Creating engaging visual content that can capture their attention and invoke emotional response is crucial for your business’ digital marketing campaigns to make them excited to share with their friends and family. The content that works best on Facebook and most likely to go viral include short videos, eye-catching images and attention-grabbing headlines to attract views and clicks. Businesses can also consider leveraging Facebook groups to grow their business and engage customers. This can be an extremely effective tool in disseminating information about your products and/or services and in creating conversation.
What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is another popular social media platform amongst millennials, boasting 300 million monthly users and adding 43 million downloads in 2020. Its users mostly frequent the app to share updates and communicate with friends and family in the form of disappearing images and 24-hour stories. Young adults between 18 and 24 years of age make up the majority of its user base at 78% of all active users who partake in the platform’s 14 billion daily video views. Snapchat is used slightly more by females than males.
Is Snapchat right for your business?
Your business should be prioritising Snapchat if you want to target a young audience and have an affinity for creating short, TikTok-like engaging video content. Keep in mind that most advertisements on Snapchat are less than 10 seconds. So don’t expect to flip on your camera and give a detailed review about your products all day long, the millennials on Snapchat want to be entertained.
Social Media Platforms Ranked by Number of Users
SEMrush analysed various statistics to provide a fascinating snapshot of how social media is being used around the world today:
These are followed by message services; WhatsApp (2B) and Facebook Messenger (1.3B) and photo and video sharing network; Instagram (1.3B). Obviously this is why Facebook recently purchased WhatsApp.
Out of the top 17; 9 are from the USA, 6 from China and only one outsider from the UK.
In order the most popular social media platforms (monthly users) are:
- Facebook – USA (2.8B)
- YouTube – USA (2.3B)
- WhatsApp – USA (2B)
- Facebook Messenger – USA (1.3B)
- Instagram – USA (1.3B)
- Weixin/WeChat – China (1.2B)
- TikTok (English version of Douyin) – China (732M)
- Douyin (Chinese version of Tik Tok) – China (600M)
- QQ – China (595M)
- Telegram – UK (550M)
- Snapchat – USA (528M)
- Sina Weibo – China (521M)
- Kuaishou – China (481M)
- Pinterest – USA (459M)
- Reddit – USA (430M)
- Twitter – USA (396M)
- Quora (300M)
Now which of these social media platforms are you going to use to assist your business?
Still not sure? Gerald and Rose is a digital marketing and website development agency based in Surry Hills, Sydney. G&R as we call ourselves was formed when the founders continued to have bad experiences with other providers. Also be sure to check out our blog on How to Choose the Best Digital Marketing Agency so you can take your business to the next level.
Marketing, Social Media and Websites need to be simple, well priced and reliable. Business owners hate surprises, we know, we run small businesses. We can assist you with the right social media channels for your business, so drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org