The Top Social Media Sites That Matter to Marketers

By Dara Fontein

Social

While preparing for a recent dinner party, I visited my local overly-priced grocer with the intention of purchasing a few items for a cheese board. Getting cheese from “the nice part of the store” was novel enough for this gal, until I got there and realized the overwhelming amount of dairy at my disposal. I started haphazardly picking up chunks of cranberry goat cheese and funky looking blue cheese, throwing anything I saw into my basket.

Many social media marketers approach signing up for social networks the same way. With my dinner party, I felt as if I had to please everybody and therefore have the most varieties of cheese possible, when eventually my successful cheese plate consisted of the most popular, crowd-pleasing classics (shout-out to brie). You may feel like if you don’t have a presence on each and every network you’re missing out on audience members there, but the time and money required for keeping up with this mass platform strategy is unrealistic and exhausting for any social media marketer.

Best social media sites and platforms

While it may seem like there’s a hot new social media network being launched every day, the truth is that there are currently a core group of platforms that are key to consider for your social media strategy. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve outlined key demographics of the top social media sites and platforms that matter to social media marketers.

YouTube

Demographics and stats

General

Age

Gender

  • Female-identified users: 46 percent of total users
  • Male-identified users: 54 percent of total users

Income

  • 46 percent of YouTube users have incomes of over $75,000

Education

Why YouTube is a top social media site

With video a key component of content marketing in 2016, the number of brands using the channel is steadily on the rise. If you’re wondering why YouTube is a good option for your marketing efforts, our post, “How to Fuel Your YouTube Video Marketing,” explains that YouTube works through “taking a very core marketing concept—solving problems your target customer is facing—but presenting it in a way that is unique to your brand and channel.”

Besides being the second largest online search engine, YouTube is also heavily used as a resource for how-to content. YouTube explains this best:“As YouTube “Millennials and today’s independent buyer turn to YouTube to get quick answers, and you can easily become their go-to expert with incredible ‘how-to’ video content.” The key here is to think about the type of questions your customers and audience members are asking, or could be asking in the future, and provide unique, personality-filled answers to these questions and problems.”

Some brands who are cleverly using YouTube as a core component of their strategies include:

Facebook

Demographics and stats

General

Age

  • 82 percent of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Facebook
  • 56 percent of online users ages 65 and up use Facebook
  • 79 percent of those ages 30 to 49 use Facebook

Gender

  • Female-identified users: 76 percent of all female-identified U.S internet users use Facebook
  • Male-identified users: 66 percent of all male-identified U.S internet users use Facebook

Income

  • 72 percent of Facebook users have incomes of over $75,000

Education

  • 74 percent of Facebook users have some form of higher education

Why Facebook is a top social media site

Since its birth in 2004, Facebook has been a staple in social media marketing plans around the world. There are countless reasons for this, but as our post “Our Best Facebook Posts, and What We Learned From Them” explains, “Facebook is probably a more powerful business tool than it has ever been. The company is pushing e-commerce features like a brand new buy button; it ramped up its video strategy, making it a serious competitor for YouTube; and Facebook ads are becoming more accessible to all businesses.”

While countless reasons for using Facebook in your marketing strategies, the company cites these key areas it can help with:

  • Driving online sales
  • Increasing local sales
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Promoting your app
  • Finding leads
  • Social customer service

Some brands who have found incredible success, and act as solid examples of what Facebook can do for your business, include:

  • The New York Times—who saw a 2.3 times increase in volume of subscription conversions
  • The Skimm—who saw a 22 percent increase in lead quality, with a $1 to $2 cost per acquisition
  • Absolut—who saw a four point lift in favorability via Facebook
  • Eggo—who saw a 4.2 times return on ad spending and 3.2 percent in household reach

Twitter

Demographics and stats

General

  • Monthly Users : 80,173,808 (as of March 2016)
  • 23 percent of all internet users and 20 percent of the entire U.S adult population use Twitter
  • 50 percent of users visit or shop at the website of an small or medium business they follow
  • 60 percent of users bought something because of something they saw on Twitter

Age

Gender

  • Female-identified users: 15 percent of all female-identified U.S. internet users use Twitter
  • Male-identified users: 22 percent of all male-identified U.S. internet users use Twitter

Income

  • 54 percent of Twitter users have incomes of over $50,000

Education

  • 30 percent of users have some form of higher education

Why Twitter is a top social media site

As most brands know, 140 characters can be a powerful thing. While there were rumors in 2015 and 2016 that Twitter was increasing its signature character limit, CEO Jack Dorsey touched on one key benefit of Twitter when he dismissed these claims, stating: “It’s staying. It’s a good constraint for us. It allows for of-the-moment brevity.”

It’s this brevity that forces brands to get their messages out in the clearest, most concise manner possible. Besides this, there are countless reasons why businesses such as yours love Twitter, including:

While there are tons of brands on Twitter, some of the best examples of using the network for your business needs are the following:

Pinterest

Demographics and stats

General

Age

Gender

  • Female-identified users: 42 percent of all female-identified U.S. internet users use Pinterest
  • Male-identified users: 13 percent of all male-identified U.S. internet users use Pinterest (the most rapidly growing demographic for the site)

Income

  • 34 percent of Pinterest users have incomes of over $75,000
  • 64 percent of Pinterest users have incomes of over $50,000

Education

  • 32 percent of users have some form of higher education

Why Pinterest is a top social media site

The business value of Pinterest is undeniable. In addition to the statistics outlined above, our recent post, “Using Pinterest for Business,” highlights the fact that Pinterest can be a huge driver of traffic for professional sites. Numerous bloggers we spoke to declared Pinterest to be the biggest driver of traffic to their sites, information that emphasizes the network’s position as a serious component for any social media strategy.

Whether using Pinterest to Pin your products, uses and demos for your products, or lifestyle and industry-relevant content, the platform is one that your brand should seriously consider including in your plan. The following brands saw the power of Pinterest, and experienced great success using it for their business:

  • Homepolish—who saw at least 10 percent of their site traffic come from Pinterest, with 75 percent of those unique visitors new to the brand
  • Topshop—who saw a 260 percent increase in impressions thanks to Pinterest
  • Hearst—who saw a 715 percent increase year over year in traffic to their sites thanks to Pinterest

Instagram

Demographics and stats

General

Age

Gender

  • Female-identified users: 49 percent of Instagram users identify as female
  • Male-identified users: 51 percent of Instagram users identify as male

Income

  • 26 percent of Instagram users have incomes of over $75,000
  • 52 percent of Instagram users have incomes of over $50,000

Education

  • 24 percent of users have some form of higher education

Why Instagram is a top social media site

It’s no secret that visuals add a certain dimension to your content that words alone sometimes can’t quite grasp (a painful sentence for this writer to put down). In just five short years, Instagram has skyrocketed by being a place for marketers to easily and effectively showcase their brand through images, short videos clips, and the overall cohesion of visual content.

As not only a platform with extremely attractive demographics, as outlined above, Instagram highlights the following three key reasons content succeeds on the platform.

  • Passionate Community—with Instagram’s 400 million users globally, those on the platform are engaged and active.
  • Creative Context—users go to Instagram to view beautiful or interesting images, so placing your business’ content here means you are presenting to a creative, image-driven audience.
  • Visual language—with the focus on images, Instagram offers an easy-to-digest and aesthetically pleasing arena for your brand’s visual content to take center stage.

Brands and businesses quickly caught on to Instagram’s marketing potential, and have seen huge success with the platform. Some of the best success stories are the following:

  • Mercedes Benz—who saw a 27 point lift in ad recall thanks to their Instagram campaign
  • Coca-Cola—who saw a seven-point lift in message association between Coca-Cola, happiness, and friendship
  • Fido—who saw 2 million people reached in eight weeks, a 19 point lift in ad recall amongst Millennials, and a four point lift in brand recommendation

LinkedIn

Demographics and stats

General

Age

Gender

  • Female-identified users: 44 percent of LinkedIn users identify as female
  • Male-identified users: 56 percent of LinkedIn users identify as male

Income

  • 44 percent of LinkedIn users have incomes of over $75,000
  • 75 percent of LinkedIn users have incomes of over $50,000

Education

  • 50 percent of users have some form of higher education

Why LinkedIn is a top social media site

While many think of LinkedIn as solely a professional networking site, it has become much more for many brands. As a knowledge and information-sharing hub, LinkedIn allows like-minded people to find each other, form communities, and, yes, network professionally. For brands, this means that it has the potential to create thought-leaders out of their CEOs, share updates from their businesses to an interested audience, and provide valuable and relevant information on a regular basis.

LinkedIn shares that the most successful brands on the site do the following three things:

  • They continually update users on industry news.
  • They release new and engaging content tailored to specific audiences.
  • They add their voice to relevant conversations that their audiences care about.

Some great examples of brands who successfully use LinkedIn for business purposes include:

  • KLM—who created a 24/7 customer service group on LinkedIn in order to respond to customers’ inquiries
  • EY—who used LinkedIn to position themselves as key thought leaders in the accounting industry
  • HubSpot—who drive high-quality leads in the LinkedIn feed with Sponsored Updates

Snapchat

Demographics and stats

General

Age

Gender

  • Female-identified users: 70 percent of Snapchat users identify as female
  • Male-identified users: 30 percent of Snapchat users identify as male

Income

  • 62 percent of Snapchat users have incomes of over $50,000
  • 38 percent of Snapchat users have incomes of under $50,000

Education

  • 70 percent of post-secondary students use Snapchat

Why Snapchat is a top social media network

While not technically a social media site, Snapchat is a social platform you and your company should definitely care about. When advertising and content marketers first heard of a platform where the content would live for 24 hours, tops, I’m sure there were scoffs heard around open offices and pour-over coffee stations everywhere. However, since its inception in 2011, Snapchat has skyrocketed in prominence, becoming the place to be for many social media marketers. As an extremely popular platform for those under the age of 34, Snapchat is an incredibly valuable network for those trying to target this highly desirable demographic. Including the appealing demographics, there are three key reasons businesses on Snapchat love the app:

  • The Best Mobile Video Platform—with a focus on vertical rather than horizontal video
  • Snapchatters—the “passionate and engaged” audience demographic
  • Curated Content—as explained by AdAge, “[Snapchat] offers something unique in the world of mostly-broadcast, feed-centric social media—intimacy at scale.”

However, if you want to get inside the heads of your targeted demographic, Snapchat found that 13 to 34 year olds love the app because it allows them to:

  • Get perspective—”Snaps provide a personal window into the way you and your friends see the world.”
  • Be here, now—”Stories are updated in real-time and expire after 24 hours.”
  • Express yourself—”Snaps are a reflection of who you are in the moment—there is no need to curate an everlasting persona.”

If your brand or business is looking to begin using Snapchat, or are having trouble connecting with an audience there, think about these reasons that the core Snapchat demographic are using it. Snapchat users love the personal aspect of the app, so perhaps your brand can offer behind the scenes footage or clips of your CEO offering quick video snippets of advice. The audience also loves the real-time nature and maximum 24 hour lifespan of a Snap Story, making it a great place to share brief, exciting company or industry updates. For more ideas on how to use Snapchat for your business, our post, “Smart ways to use Snapchat for business,” provides a thorough guide. Additionally, looking at some examples from other businesses can prove helpful. To offer inspiration, here are some brands that are doing Snapchat right.

  • CNN—quoted in Snapchat’s advertising info page, CNN is communicating through Snapchat in a less formal way than on their other media channels, and in doing so, reaching a completely new audience.
  • Mashable—Mashable uses Snapchat to share industry news, provide behind the scenes access to their offices and employees, and provide Snapchat videos of live events (such as new Apple product launches).
  • Refinery29—who consistently provide short, easily digestible content featuring beauty, fashion, and lifestyle advice.

With these top social media sites in mind, you can see why—just like I didn’t need every single type of cheese to have happy dinner party guests—you don’t need to be on each and every social media platform to reach your social media goals. Instead, concentrate on building and maintaining a high-quality presence with a core set of social media platforms.

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