A Social Media Platforms Crash Course

When you first begin to wade into the sea of Social Media, the plethora of different platforms can seem overwhelming. Not to mention, most platforms have multiple ways they can be used. It’s important to know which platforms will work for your audience because you don’t want to spend time doing something that doesn’t have any payoff. So how are you supposed to figure out which platform works for you?

 

The best way to know which platforms are going to work best for your audience is to match up what kind of content you produce and who your audience is with the platform that is widely used by your audience and supports your content well. We’re going to quickly give you a run-down on some of the most popular social platforms. We’ll let you know what demographic their users fall into as well as what type of content works best!

 

Let’s start with some of the most popular platforms.

 

Facebook

 

Contrary to popular belief, Facebook is by far the most popular social platform. Not only is it the most popular but it is also the most wide-reaching platform. Facebook boasts 2.27 billion monthly active users. That is over a quarter of the world’s population. Its users are almost evenly split between males and females. There is also a fairly even number of users from all age demographics with the percentage of users in any given age group ranging from 20% to 26% of total Facebook users.

 

Facebook is the “jack of all trades” platform. While some platforms are strictly images and videos and others have a strict character count, Facebook can do it all. You can post videos, pictures, gifs, long text, short text and more. Facebook offers the ability to easily create ads and even has story options similar to Snapchat and Instagram.

 

No matter who your audience is or what type of content you produce, Facebook is likely a good option for you!

 

Instagram

 

Instagram is the second most popular of the social platforms. There are 1 billion monthly active users and 500 million daily active users. Since the addition of stories and IGTV, Instagram has steadily increased in active users. Unlike Facebook, Instagram does tend to lean towards a younger audience with 72% of 13 to 17-year-olds and 64% of 18 to29-year-olds actively using Instagram. Instagram also has more female users than male users.

 

Despite not being as universal of a platform as Facebook, Instagram is still widely popular and effective in promoting businesses. This is largely because of its photo-based design. Businesses often like Instagram because there are able to show off their product in pictures and videos as well as post regular interactive content via Instagram Stories. Instagram also offers the ability to run sponsored posts or ads.

 

Instagram is very popular specifically amongst younger people. If your audience is in the 13 to 29-year-old demographic and if you are able to produce visually stimulating content that engages your audience, then Instagram might be the place for you.

 

Twitter

 

Despite being a well-known platform, Twitter is not nearly as popular as the previous two platforms. However, it is wildly popular amongst its users. Twitter has 330 million monthly active users and about 134 million daily active users. Their largest age demographics are the 13 to 29-year-old range.

 

On Twitter, you are able to post text, pictures, videos, gifs, and links. However, keep in mind that your text is limited to 280 characters. Twitter has become a place that is great for finding news, live time reactions, and being able to interact with your favorite celebrities. From a business standpoint, Twitter is a great platform to use for customer service and to build your brand reputation.

 

If you are trying to get stories out there or interact with people about the most recent trends, news, and drama, then Twitter might be a good place for you. Otherwise, Twitter is a great platform to build your reputation by interacting with customers who are talking about your brand online and by responding to any questions or concerns they might have.

 

Now that we’ve looked at the most well-known platforms, let’s look at some of the newer or niche ones.

 

LinkedIn

 

LinkedIn is very popular in the business world. It is known for connecting professionals and has over 590 million users. LinkedIn has an equal amount of male and female users. It also has a similar number of users from all different ages with the exception of the 65+ category and with the 30 to 49-year-old category being slightly more prominent.

 

LinkedIn is not the platform that you would use to promote products but rather where you would promote who your company is. You could share job openings as well. If your business is looking to connect with other businesses or to find individuals who could excel in your line of work, then LinkedIn is a good place to be.

 

Snapchat

 

Next, we have Snapchat. Most everyone has heard of Snapchat at this point and most everyone knows what it is. Is it worth your time for your business to be on it? Chances are the answer is no. Snapchat has 186 million daily active users. It is widely used by a younger demographic.

 

Snapchat is a self-destructing messaging app that allows its users to send messages to people that can only be viewed for a limited amount of time. Some businesses use the story function of Snapchat to reach a younger audience. That being said, for small businesses it would be very difficult to create a following on Snapchat and you can do the same thing on Instagram and Facebook where you are more likely for people in your audience to see it.

 

Just because a platform is “hip” with the younger crowd doesn’t mean that it’s the best way to reach them.

 

TikTok

 

And that leads me to TikTok, the newest social media platform. TikTok – formerly known as Musical.ly – became popular close to the end of 2018. It is a short-form video sharing app and has been compared to Vine (may it rest in peace). The draw of TikTok is its binge-watch inducing nature. From lip-syncs to skits, TikTok has a little bit of everything.

 

However, once again, just because a platform is popular doesn’t make it a business-friendly platform. More than 2/3 of TikTok’s users are under the age of 30. Even if this is your chosen demographic, creating content for TikTok is probably not your best move. TikTok content takes quite a bit longer to produce in most cases than Instagram and Facebook and also is less likely to produce any kind of lead for you. It also has fewer ways for you to increase your chances of being seen by the right people.

 

The world of social media is constantly growing and changing. There will always be new social platforms and the existing ones will continuously morph with the culture. Therefore, it’s a good idea to try and keep up with what they are and how to use them so that you can best figure out how to steward your time, content, and resources to get the most return.

 

As always, if you’d like some help in the social media world, we at Dogwood would love to be of assistance. Contact us and let us know how we can help you!  

 

Unless otherwise noted, all statistics come from the Pew Research Center.