If you’re creating a social media marketing strategy and need to figure out what each social network can do to help you reach your target audience, read on. This is a complete overview of 11 of the biggest and most popular social media apps in the world.
And so, we present to you all the best social media apps for social media marketers!
Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.
Top Social Media Apps
Monthly active users: 2.9 billion
- 18.2% of adults in the US made a purchase through Facebook last year.
- 66% of Facebook users visit a local business page at least once a week
Facebook is not only the world’s largest social network, it’s also the most developed channel for organic and paid social marketing.
Brands who maintain a presence on the platform might use organic content for brand awareness, and/or relationship nurturing through social customer service. Marketers can also tap Facebook’s user data to reach new customers with relevant advertising.
Most recently, Facebook is prioritizing e-commerce shopping via Facebook Shops.
Source: Ink Meets Paper
Want more detail? Our complete introduction to Facebook marketing is over here.
Monthly active users: 2.29 billion
- 70% of viewers have bought from a brand after seeing it on YouTube.
- 77% of people aged 15-35 use YouTube
YouTube isn’t always thought of as one of the world’s social media apps. You could just as easily call it a video platform, or the world’s second-largest search engine.
For established brands with big-gun marketing agencies, YouTube ads running before or in the middle of original videos aren’t a huge stretch from what you’d run on TV.
Meanwhile, for brands building their own youTube channel by posting original videos, it’s important to play nice with the YouTube algorithm, which takes some combination of skill, strategy, budget, and luck.
But there is potential pay-off there, too: In short, because YouTube is video (usually long-form video) the barrier to entry is a little bit higher for DIY marketers, who will benefit from time, money, and talent (or preferably all three).
Monthly active users: 1.22 billion
- On average Instagram business accounts see 1.69% follower growth each month
- 44% of users shop on Instagram weekly
Formerly a humble photo-sharing app, over the past few years Instagram has become one of the world’s most important social apps in regard to social commerce.
Alongside astrology memes and latte art, Instagram’s become a virtual shopping mall, with a plethora of features designed to help businesses sell products—preferably beautiful ones.
While the importance of a polished feed has shifted with the rise of ephemeral, live, and video content (a.k.a. Stories, Reels, Instagram Live, and Instagram Video), brands should keep in mind that a strong visual identity is always key on Instagram.
The platform demands as much art as science, so start with our step-by-step guide to Instagram marketing here.
Monthly active users: 1 billion
TikTok is inarguably one of the buzziest social media apps on this list. It’s notable for its explosive growth, as it has only been around since 2017. Yet it was the #1 top-downloaded app in 2020.
TikTok is a short-video sharing platform with a uniquely addictive algorithm. It holds a lot of sway with teenagers and Gen Z.
For instance, it outpaced Instagram as American teenagers’ second-favourite social platform in fall 2020, and now it’s closing in on Snapchat for #1.
my @dunkin obsession…but make it merch!! coming tomorrow 3/30, 3pm est🧡 shopdunkin.com #ad
Monthly active users: 2.0 billion
- 58% of WhatsApp users use the app more than once each day
- An estimated $300 million USD in revenue was generated in WhatsApp in 2021
WhatsApp is the #3 social app on the list by user base, but it’s the #1 messaging app in the world. In fact, it was recently voted to be the world’s favourite social media app (though the survey excluded users in China.)
This might be news to a lot of North Americans, but WhatsApp is one of the world’s foremost social media apps.
Facebook purchased WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion, and it has remained, more or less, a straight-up messaging and calling app. (And ad-free, unlike Facebook Messenger.)
Every day, 175 million users in 180 countries message one of the 50 million businesses on WhatsApp.
For those businesses, WhatsApp’s most appealing functions include streamlining customer service conversations and showcasing products in a catalog (essentially a digital storefront akin to Facebook Shop, though users must still leave the app to make purchases).
However, Facebook recently announced that brands using WhatsApp Business App will be able to more easily create Facebook and Instagram ads that allow users to “click to WhatsApp” in order to initiate conversations on the app.
For brands whose customers are already on the app, using WhatsApp for business may well make sense.
Monthly active users: 1.3 billion
- Messenger Ads
- Instant Scan
- 64% of people expect to be able to message brands for customer service.
- Messenger ads have the potential to reach 987.7 million users
Next up is Messenger: the other private messaging app owned by Facebook. Part of Facebook’s ongoing strategy to prioritize private messaging, Facebook Messenger differs in a few key ways from WhatsApp:
- it doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption to users
- it does serve a variety of ads (including sponsored messages, inbox ads, etc.)
- it also links all of a user’s contacts from both Instagram and Facebook.
Messenger features like automatic replies, greetings and away messages can help make customer relationships more efficient. For some brands, a more complicated proposition like building a Facebook Messenger bot makes sense.
Here’s our full guide to Facebook Messenger for brands.
Pro Tip: Given the variety of messaging apps out there, compiling all your cross-platform DMs and comments into one inbox is helpful (take, for instance, Hootsuite Inbox.)
Monthly active users: 1.22 billion
- WeChat Pay
- WeChat Groups
The first non-North American app on this list is Tencent’s WeChat (or Weixin, in China). Because American social media sites are restricted in China, the country has its own flourishing social ecology.
WeChat is the dominant social network in China, but this super social media app goes beyond messaging. Users can message, video call, shop using WeChat Pay, use government services, call rideshares, play games—you name it. According to one survey, 73% of respondents in China had used WeChat in the past month.
In late 2020, 88% of American businesses doing business in China said that Donald Trump’s plan to ban WeChat would have a negative impact on their operations, and 42% predicted they’d lose revenue if the ban went through. (It didn’t.)
For businesses looking to expand their efforts in China, looking into WeChat marketing—whether that’s advertising, influencer campaigns, in-app e-commerce, or building out a mini-app within WeChat—will be an important step.
Pro Tip: Hootsuite’s WeChat app will help you integrate your WeChat strategy into your team’s daily workflow.
Monthly active users: 436 million
- Twitter Revue/Newsletter
- Twitter Spotlight
- 54% of Twitter’s audience will likely purchase new products
- Twitter’s CPM is the lowest out of all the major platforms
Given its fairly small user base, Twitter has impressive name recognition—90% of Americans have heard of Twitter, though only 21% use it. That, combined with an active population of politicians, journalists, celebrities, and comedians, keeps the platform punching above its weight, especially in North America (and Japan, where it’s the #1 platform.)
How can brands use Twitter? Organic Twitter marketing will depend on your brand voice, but there’s plenty of room for personality (American fast food brands regularly bicker with each other).
Customer service is also an important opportunity. And of course, Twitter offers an ad platform for brands to target their audiences.
Monthly active users: 557 million
- Snapchat’s users have over $4.4 trillion in “spending power”
- Snapchat’s advertising audience is 54.4% female
This camera-first, disappearing content app has been around since 2011. Owned by Snap, a company that’s independent of the Facebook empire, Snapchat’s Stories are a popular format that has been repeatedly cloned by competitors.
Nonetheless, Snapchat’s user base is not only youthful but also loyal: 82% of its users are under 34, and it remains the most popular app for teens (though TikTok is now breathing down its neck, see #8).
Brands who care about earning attention from Gen Z (and, soon enough, generation Alpha) are definitely going to want to check this platform out. Start with our overview of SnapChat for business and SnapChat ads.
Source: Dr Julie Smith
Monthly active users: 442 million
- Story Pins
- Try On Pins
Pinterest—the digital vision board app—has been experiencing notable user growth through the pandemic. For instance, their popularity outside of America was up 46% in 2020.
Pinterest has a reputation as a positive, apolitical, moderated space for brands to advertise to people planning out life events. 92% of advertisers on Pinterest agree that it has the most positive reputation of any social media app.
Advertising on Pinterest, as with most of the other platforms on this list, is headed towards e-commerce. Shoppable ads are now on the menu in select countries in Europe and North America.
Here’s a longer overview on using Pinterest for business.
Members: 756 million*
*First, let us note that LinkedIn hasn’t reported monthly or daily active users (just the number of accounts—a potentially vastly different number) since Microsoft bought it in 2016.
That said, LinkedIn has been a bit of a dark-horse social platform these past few years. It has experienced rising popularity as users and brands have realized that the only social media site dedicated to professionals is more than just a job board.
More than half of marketers say they’re planning to use LinkedIn in 2022.
For brands with a professional audience—especially B2B marketers focused on lead generation—a LinkedIn marketing strategy is key.
Organic content, including LinkedIn Live and the platform’s new product pages, is increasingly big on LinkedIn, with 96% of B2B marketers reporting that they use these features. Likewise, 80% report they use LinkedIn ads, which include sponsored direct messages.
Most businesses use more than one social media site to market their brand. Hootsuite is a social media management platform that lets you to create, schedule, and publish messages to all the major social networks from one dashboard. You can also:
- edit and automatically resize images according to each network’s unique specs
- measure your performance across networks
- moderate comments and respond to customer service requests
- streams to monitor mentions of your brand
- and more!
It will save you time and level up your social media marketing efforts.
Watch the video below to see how Hootsuite works.
Ready to manage all your social media apps in one place? Try the tool trusted by thousands of social pros free or request a demo today.