Almost every business is somewhat active on social media. About 80 million businesses maintain a Facebook business page. Over 2 million businesses advertise on Instagram. Millions of businesses use Twitter to provide rapid updates and better care to their customers. But your time, energy, and marketing budgets are limited. You may not be able to stay up to date on every social platform. Which network should you focus on to maximize your success?
Facebook: Exceptional Reach, Especially for Older Generations
As weird as it may sound, Facebook is the father of modern social media. Launched nearly 15 years ago, Facebook is utterly ubiquitous. Over 2.2 billion users are active on Facebook across the planet, including over 200 million (or upward of 60% of the population) in the US alone. What Facebook may have lost in trendiness it makes up for in broad reach. Few older people use platforms like Instagram and Twitter, but more and more are active on Facebook. This is a safe option for social promotion, capable of reaching almost any demographic you may be targeting.
Instagram: Young and Trendy
Instagram is Facebook’s cool younger sister. Launched 6 years after Facebook, Instagram is the platform of choice for photographers, amateur and otherwise. A highly visual platform, Instagram skews much younger than Facebook. 59% of 18-29 year olds in the US are active Instagram users, but it drops off quickly. Only a third of Americans 30-49 use Instagram. Less than 10% of seniors do.
Otherwise, Instagram is a diverse platform. Users are fairly evenly split across income levels and locations. 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business or brand. If you’re interested in building a more direct and personal relationship with your customers, and your target demographic is fairly young, Instagram is the platform for you.
Twitter: Informed, Educated, and Affluent
Twitter is a sometimes forgotten platform. While it’s mainly in the news due to Presidential tantrums, Twitter remains an active and vibrant social media platform. Twitter’s demographics are fairly young, though more diverse than Instagram. Twitter is a popular platform for news junkies, as it’s used by journalists and political leaders to quickly share developing stories. Overall, Twitter users tend to be better-informed, more highly educated, and of higher socioeconomic status than the average social media user.
Use Twitter if you need to provide frequent updates about your product or service, or if you want to directly and publicly provide customer care. Twitter is a fast-moving platform useful for those who want to post quickly and frequently throughout the day.
Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and the Rest
While the ‘Big Three’ are the ones that come to mind for most of us, there are a half dozen other big options that might be a fit for your business. LinkedIn works extremely well for professional services. Reddit can be great for niche businesses, but may be challenging to use effectively, given the somewhat insular nature of its communities. Pinterest and Tumblr can also provide great engagement for certain industries and interest groups, often much higher than Facebook engagement, if the targeting and messaging are exceptionally well done.
When selecting which social media platform is right for your business, it may be helpful to work backward from your marketing plan. Figure out who you’re trying to engage with, then match your target demographic to the platform that fits your business best. Ultimately, pick one that works for you. If social media feels like a chore, you likely won’t put your best effort into it, and won’t achieve the best results.