Digital Marketing, Social Media

How To Choose The Best Social Media Platform For Your Business

(Last Updated On: 03/03/2017)

Social media has changed marketing and you are wondering which social media platform will be the best fit for you and your business?

I am a true believer that social media is awesome for marketing a business.

It is one of the most exciting and always changing marketing channels.

New marketing opportunities come up every single month.

In this blog post I am about to share with you some data. About how people use social media, how businesses use social media, and what are the trendiest social networks.

I hope that if you have been wondering whether or not to use social media for your personal brand or for your business, this article will give you some great ideas.

Which Social Media Platform Is Best For Your Business?

All social media sites are different.

And so is every business…

That is why you need to do some research before deciding which is the best social media platform for YOUR business.

Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing What Social Network To Use To Market Your Business

  • Do I have the resources;
  • Do I have the time;
  • What would I like to achieve;
  • What is my target audience;

Social Media Marketing might sound simple. However, if you don’t have enough time and resources to invest in it, your efforts will be pointless.

Next you would want to know, what expectations you would like to set and what your target audience is. Answering these questions will help you decide which social media channel is the best fit for your business goals.

Things You Need To Know About Each Social Media Before You Decide The Right One For You

  • Popularity and Trends;
  • Users demographics;
  • Platform specifics;
  • Pros & Cons;

I cannot help you with answering the previous set of questions…

But in this article I will share the minimum amount of facts and information you need to know when choosing the right social media platform for your business.

The social networks analyzed in this article will be: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest.

Lets get started!

How Has Social Media Grown

Okay, okay!

We all know that social media is growing fast.

Like really fast.

But looking at the actual data is pretty exciting.

And I really want to get you excited!

So lets start with the big guys!

Facebook Trends & Demographics

How Many People Are On Facebook?

Just take a look at the chart below…

Facebook Monthly Active Users Growth Data Chart 2004 - 2016
Facebook Monthly Active Users Growth Data Chart 2004 – 2016. Source: Facebook.

Starting with 1 million monthly active users in 2004 and growing with 185900% to 1,860 million monthly active users in 2016. 

This is crazy.

The average annual growth rate for Facebook monthly active users is 122.94%.

It is true that the growth rate has been decreasing significantly in the past 9 years.

Facebook Average Monthly Active Users Growth Rate 2004 - 2016
Facebook Average Monthly Active Users Growth Rate 2004 – 2016

But hey!

Take a look at the data from 2014 till 2016.

Looks like they are not planning to slow things down any time soon!

Who Is On Facebook?

Can you imagine that on average 25.14% of the whole world population logs in Facebook every single month..

Here they are braked down by age and gender:

Facebook Monthly Active Users By Age And Gender Data Chart
Facebook Monthly Active Users By Age And Gender. Source: Facebook.

And don’t you dare get discouraged if your target audience is 65+…

Do your numbers first.

Out of all the 1,860 million monthly Facebook active users, those aged 65+ are almost 64 million people!

Country-wise, the top country where Facebook users are located in is United States.

However the US Facebook users are only 12% of all.

Meaning that 88% are spread around across the globe!

By the way… big chance is that your competitors are probably on Facebook as well.

Just take a minute to look at this:

The chart above is the search trend for the keyword “How to create a Facebook business page”.

And the interest over time is growing pretty steady.

So keep that in mind when you decide whether or not it’s worth for your business to have a business page.

Is My Target Audience On Facebook?

Making assumptions is not in my style.

And you should not make assumptions either.

Just because Facebook is enormous, doesn’t mean that your audience really is there.

BUT.

There is an easy way to understand if marketing on Facebook is worth the effort for your business specifically.

And it is called…

*drum rolls*

AUDIENCE INSIGHTS

We will get more into detail about this later in this guide, however, I want to give you a sneak peak of this powerful tool right away.

Lets say you are:

  • An organic food shop that delivers products directly to customers;
  • You are in San Francisco, CA;
  • Your best customers are women, aged 25-40, with interests in organic food, working out daily and living a healthy life.

So how many of them can you reach on Facebook?

Using Facebook Insights For target Audience Analysis
Using Facebook Insights For target Audience Analysis.

All you need to do, is log into your Facebook Ad Manager account, go over to audience insights, fill in the details of your target audience and there you have them.

25k to 30k monthly active Facebook users fit into your target audience.

And data doesn’t stop here.

When you explore the rest of the tabs and sections in Audience Insights, you can get a really good idea of:

  • exactly who your target is;
  • what do they like;
  • where do they spend their time at;
  • what devices are they using;
  • what is their income;
  • job;
  • relationship status and more.

Pro tip: Audience Insights can help you shape the tone of voice, strategy and approach throughout you entire marketing. We will get into more details later.

Instagram Trends & Demographics

What about Instagram?

Instagram is a relatively young social network, launched in 2010 with 25k people registered on the very first day.

Here is how Instagram’s growth looks like:

Instagram Registered Users by Year - 2010 - 2016
Instagram Registered Users by Year (2010 – 2016)

One might say that compared to the users on Facebook, Instagram is small.

But Instagram is the second biggest social sharing network right after Facebook.

And take a look at the next graph:

Instagram Growth Rate Data 2010-2016
Instagram Growth Rate Data 2010-2016

A growth rate of 50% from 2015 to 2016 is definitely something worth considering!

Who Uses Instagram

Sproutsocial published a very handy infographic that I am going to use for the demographics data of the rest of the social media we go through.

So what is the demographics data of Instagrammers?

Social Media Demographics - Instagram - by Sproutsocial
Social Media Demographics – Instagram – Infographic by Sproutsocial

Instagrammers are more women than men. This is a social network for young people, aged 18-29, living in urban and sub-urban areas.

Twitter Trends & Demographics

Is Twitter Still Growing

Twitter is one of the old social networks, founded in 2006, and is still pretty popular.

But is the micro blogging network still as attractive as it once used to be?

By looking at the charts below it can be seen that big break out from 2010-2013, things started to get a bit slow for Twitter.

Twitter Monthly Active Users 2010 - 2016
Twitter Monthly Active Users 2010 – 2016

Nevertheless, a user base of over 319 million is still pretty admirable.

Twitter Growth Rate 2010 - 2016
Twitter Growth Rate 2010 – 2016

But nowadays it’s growth rate, compared to other social networks is the lowest.

The Demographics  Of Twitter Users

Social Media Demographics - Twitter - Infographic by Sproutsocial
Social Media Demographics – Twitter – Infographic by Sproutsocial

Twitter is a network that is more prefered by men than women. Although it’s biggest user base are young people, aged 18-29, it can be seen that 25% of the people aged 30-49 do use it as well.

Snapchat Trends & Demographics

Snapchat’s Breakthrough

One of the newest and hottest social media…

Snapchat is leading the trends in social media in the past few years.

And is one of the favorite social media for teenagers and people below 30.

Snapchat Users Growth 2012-2016
Snapchat Users Growth 2012-2016

With over 300 million users, it is believed the social network for disappearing messages will soon surpass Twitter in 2017.

Snapchat Users Growth Rate 2012 - 2016
Snapchat Users Growth Rate 2012 – 2016

And Who Uses Snapchat?

Young females!

Social Media Demographics - Snapchat - Infographic by Sproutsocial
Social Media Demographics – Snapchat – Infographic by Sproutsocial

Snapchat also states that they reach 41% of all 18 to 34 years-old in US on a daily basis.

Pinterest Trends & Demographics

Pinterest

Pinterest launched back in 2010.

In 2011 it had just 1 million users.

In 2015 it had already grown with 100% to 100million users.

But most surprisingly, from 2015 to 2016 it grew with another 50% just for an year.

Pinterest now has 150million Pinners.

Who is Pinning?

It is well known that Pinterest users are mostly females, but take a closer look:

Social Media Demographics - Pinterest - Infographic by Sproutsocial
Social Media Demographics – Pinterest – Infographic by Sproutsocial

How Do These Number Compare

By looking at the big picture, it can be seen that Facebook’s user base will not be outnumbered any time soon.

Social Media Growth Comparison 2013-2016
Social Media Growth Comparison 2013-2016

But just like Instagram managed to surpass Twitter’s user base in 2014, it looks like Snapchat is headed in that direction in 2017 as well.

Social Media Growth Rate Comparison 2013-2016
Social Media Growth Rate Comparison 2013-2016

It can be noticed that while Twitter’s growth rates are continuously decreasing, the rest of the social media are still growing with big numbers. Don’t forget about Pinterest, which also grew with 50% in 2016.

What About People’s Interest In Social Media?

Social Media Interest Over Time

Another interesting data is the user’s interest over time:

A huge trend can be seen here:

  • Facebook is slowly loosing it’s popularity!

Here is a close look at it, excluding the data for Facebook:

Here are a few trends to note for the smaller social networks:

  • Similar to Facebook, the interest on Twitter is slowly decreasing as well. (makes me want to ask myself, are we going to witness the end of old social media? ) ;
  • The Interest on Instagram is growing fast and steady;
  • The Interest on Pinterests stays the same;
  • Snapchat’s popularity is in deed growing, however, on a much smaller scale, compared to Instagram.

What about the interest for social media for business?

We can see what we expected to see:

  • The interest of Instagram and Snapchat for business is growing;
  • While the one for Twitter and Pinterest stays relatively the same;

Something that is not surprising, but still looks a bit odd, taking into consideration the data we have looked at so far:

  • Although people start loosing interest for Facebook, businesses are still very interested in the network;

How Much Time Do People Spend On Social Media?

Here is a great infogrpahic by Nielsen:

How Much Time Do People Spend On Social Media - Infographic by Nielsen
How Much Time Do People Spend On Social Media – Infographic by Nielsen

Main takeaways:

  • Females spend on average 3 hours more than males on all media every week;
  • Females spend on average 2 hours more than males on social media every week;
  • On average both genders, aged 18+, spend 3.27% of their time every week on social media;

How Social Media Helps Businesses

Probably going to be stating the obvious here but, lets go through all the positives and outcomes that businesses can achieve on social media.

Awareness & Influence

Social is great for raising brand awareness. It is cheap and easy (if you plan it right). You will want your target audience to always be reminded about your existence. And social can help you achieve that.

Social media marketing is also great for building influence in the field you operate in. It’s one of the best places to show your expertise and professionalism.

Loyalty

Building valuable relationships with your customers should take a big part in your social media strategy. People love to speak to you and to be heard.

Customer Service

Since people love to spend time on social media, many of them also prefer to reach out for help on social media directly.

Feedback & Testimonials

You want to know how people feel about you and your brand? Sometimes on social media, you don’t event need to ask them. They just tell you.

Sales & Leads

Of course…

Selling.

Click here to see the infographic by Shopify which can be really useful if you are trying to decide what social channel to focus on for sales.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of The Top Social Media Platforms For Businesses

Facebook For Business – Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • 25.14% of the world population uses it! So there is a great chance that you can find your target audience there;
  • Ads & post type varieties.;
  • Great analytical tools;

Cons:

  • Organic growth and reach is getting harder & harder to achieve;
  • Facebook advertising getting more expensive;
  • It’s popularity is slowly starting to drop;

Instagram For Business – Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It’s popularity continues to grow;
  • Ideal to showcase your brand message and products visually;
  • Reach is higher;

Cons

  • Limited post insights and analytics;
  • The platform changes constantly;
  • Can be managed mainly through a mobile device;

Twitter For Business – Pros & Cons

Pros

  • You can post intensively without the risk of annoying your audience;
  • With hashtags you can reach people anywhere in the world, communicate with your audience or even other businesses;
  • Great for announcing offers and promotions;

Cons

  • Post characters limit;
  • Growth rate and popularity dropping;
  • Expensive advertising;

Snapchat For Business – Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Explosive growth rate;
  • Entertaining and engaging content;

Cons

  • Limited advertising opportunities;
  • Limited analytics and insights;
  • Expensive advertising;

Pinterest For Business – Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Great for e-commerce;
  • Mainly used for discovering ideas and products to try;

Cons

  • Limited advertising opportunities;
  • Highly reliable on great visual representation;

Conclusion

Every social media platform has it’s own unique specifics and user demographics. To decide on the best social media site for your business, you need to think, research and evaluate.

I hope that now you have some of the answers you needed to decide on what is the best social media platform for your business!

Don’t forget to check out my annual social media posting plan template and the latest social media updates.

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