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.
Demographics and stats
- Monthly Users: 215,690,880 (as of March 2016)
- YouTube has over 1 billion users (almost one-third of all people on the internet)
- YouTube usage is up 40 percent since March 2014
- Largest age demographic of users: 25 to 34 (41,000,000)
- YouTube reaches “more 18 to 34 and 18 to 49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.”
- 46 percent of YouTube users have incomes of over $75,000
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:
- GoPro—named the number one brand on the site, by YouTube
- Heinz—who cleverly marketed an otherwise mundane product, ketchup, with weiner dogs (a YouTube favorite)
- Apple—who regularly post videos of their new product releases, demos, and product features (like this recent Cookie Monster video)
Demographics and stats
- Monthly Active Users: 1.79 billion (as of September 30, 2016)
- More than 1 billion people use Facebook daily
- 71 percent of American adults with access to the internet use Facebook
- 83.6 percent of Facebook’s daily active users are outside the U.S. and Canada
- 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
- 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
- 72 percent of Facebook users have incomes of over $75,000
- 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
Demographics and stats
- 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
- 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
- 54 percent of Twitter users have incomes of over $50,000
- 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:
- “Twitter offers a peek into the minds of industry leaders, allowing you to see what they are reading, sharing, and thinking about any topic, at any given time.”
- Your customers are on Twitter, and are there with the intention of engaging with you
- Twitter allows you to discover what’s happening right now, with your customers, industry, competitors, and community
- Twitter helps you increase your brand awareness
- Twitter is a great tool for providing social media customer service
While there are tons of brands on Twitter, some of the best examples of using the network for your business needs are the following:
- Starbucks—who regularly engage with their 11.7 million followers through posting questions, special discounts, and product announcements
- The Girl Scouts—who saw over 19,500 app installations thanks to their Twitter campaign
- Sirius Decisions—who saw a 16 times return on investment (ROI) from Twitter
Demographics and stats
- Monthly Users : 66,933,192 (as of March 2016)
- 28 percent of adult American internet users use Pinterest
- A Pin on Pinterest has a half-life of 151,200 minutes
- More than 14 million articles are Pinned daily
- People referred by Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to make a purchase on e-commerce sites than users of other social networks
- More than one-third of Pinterest users choose Pinterest over Google search.
- 34 percent of Pinterest users are aged 18 to 29
- 28 percent of Pinterest users are aged 30 to 49
- 27 percent of Pinterest users are aged 50 to 64
- 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)
- 34 percent of Pinterest users have incomes of over $75,000
- 64 percent of Pinterest users have incomes of over $50,000
- 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
Demographics and stats
- Monthly Users: 400,000,000
- Daily users: 75 million
- 26 percent of adult internet users use Instagram
- 75 percent of users live outside of the U.S.
- Over 40 billion photos have been shared on Instagram
- 80 million photos are shared daily on Instagram
- Instagram’s per-follower engagement rate for brands is 58 times higher than on Facebook and 120 times higher than on Twitter
- Instagram users are “two and a half times more likely to click on ads than on other social media platforms”
- 53 percent of Instagram users are aged 18 to 29
- 25 percent of Instagram users are 30 to 49
- 11 percent of Instagram users are 50 to 64
- 6 percent of Instagram users are over 65
- Female-identified users: 49 percent of Instagram users identify as female
- Male-identified users: 51 percent of Instagram users identify as male
- 26 percent of Instagram users have incomes of over $75,000
- 52 percent of Instagram users have incomes of over $50,000
- 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
Demographics and stats
- Monthly Users: 35,342,648
- Total users: 414 million
- 70 percent of LinkedIn users are outside of the U.S.
- The most overused word on a LinkedIn profile is “Motivated”
- 23 percent of LinkedIn users are aged 18 to 29
- 31 percent of LinkedIn users are 30 to 49
- 30 percent of LinkedIn users are 50 to 64
- 21 percent of LinkedIn users are over 65
- Female-identified users: 44 percent of LinkedIn users identify as female
- Male-identified users: 56 percent of LinkedIn users identify as male
- 44 percent of LinkedIn users have incomes of over $75,000
- 75 percent of LinkedIn users have incomes of over $50,000
- 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
Demographics and stats
- Daily users: 100 million
- Videos viewed per day: 7 billion
- “Millennials, a demographic marketers are spending 500 percent more to reach than all others combined, account for more than seven out of 10 Snapchat users.”
- 18 percent of all U.S. social media users use Snapchat
- 65 percent of daily users contribute content
- 9,000 Snaps are shared per second
- 76 percent of Snapchat users purchase things online
- 45 percent of Snapchat users are between 13 and 24
- 26 percent of Snapchat users are 25 to 34
- 13 percent of Snapchat users are 35 to 44
- 10 percent of Snapchat users are 45 to 54
- 6 percent of Snapchat users are 55 to 64
- Less than 1 percent of Snapchat users are over 65
- 42 percent of females aged 18- to 29-year-olds have a Snapchat account
- 31 percent of males between the ages of 18 and 29 have a Snapchat account
- 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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