No matter what your business is, you want people to know about you and follow you online. There are more than 4.55 billion active users across social media today, so the possibilities seem endless, right? It’s easy enough to create a profile on a social media platform, so you might figure it’s worthwhile to set up an account.
But not every social channel is the right fit for your business or your brand.
It’s critical to find the social platforms that are right for you and your audience, instead of trying to be active on all of them. Success on social platforms requires creating content fit for that specific channel, whether it’s knowledge-based text posts, beautiful imagery, or fun (and hopefully viral) videos.
Trying to embrace every platform without developing a strategy and a plan to continuously populate your feeds can be detrimental to your business’ long-term goals.
And, unless you have the resources to dedicate to mastering them all (there are more than 100 platforms considered to be in the social media ecosystem today), it can be a waste of time and money.
TikTok is still seen as the new kid on the block, though it boomed in popularity during the past two years. It also could be considered an untapped market for many businesses—projections show the platform reaching 1.5 billion active users this year.
That doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
Before you delete your TikTok account with four followers (you and your three colleagues who you convinced to dance on camera), let’s talk about what the value of that platform (and five others we love) could be as you focus on mastering your ROI.
TikTok is the world’s most downloaded non-gaming application, ranking No. 1 in Google Play and Apple App Store downloads. That’s ahead of Facebook and YouTube respectively—as a video-centric platform nonetheless. The app’s accelerated adoption experienced its greatest quarter-over-quarter in consumer spending in Q2 2021.
TikTok’s audience is young and mostly male. More than 50 percent of users are under the age of 34. The 10-19 age demographic comprises more than a quarter of the app’s users, and users 20-29 years of age are the next largest user group.
That said, TikTok’s younger demographics means relevant B2C brands are likely best positioned to use the platform to potentially form lifelong brand advocates. The content is notably brand-second, meaning that to see success in feed as far as engagement goes, following viral trends, pranks and even sometimes dances facilitates the most success.
Another useful data point? More passive users are prepared to spend their money on the app than actual creators or businesses. This invites substantially more pressure to develop organic content or paid advertising strategies that speak to the platform’s audience than others.
When done right, and targeting the right audience, it might be the best place to win new fans. If the under-30 crowd isn’t your target audience, it might be best to look elsewhere.
Somewhere between your aunt’s ramblings and Christmas photos—both shared in January of 2022, mind you—is a platform used by businesses to build a dedicated base of loyal fans and potential customers from a pool of over 2.8 billion active users.
That’s a massive number, but it doesn’t tell us the entire story. Of those 2.8 billion active users, the 25-34 age group is the most significant demographic group on the platform. Facebook is also the most used social platform around today, and 70 percent of adults say they check it every day.
Creating a Facebook Business Account makes sense for anyone primarily targeting a slightly older-than-TikTok age group who engages with relationship-centric content. Think photos, videos and live events.
There’ll no doubt be in-feed competition (notably between your aunt and competitor businesses) for engagement. That said, the real benefit of Facebook is lead generation through highly-customized, targeted advertising.
With over 1.22 billion active users, this social media platform is noticeably less cluttered than Facebook, which bodes well for in-feed content. Instagram isn’t simply a place for photos and videos to live, though—it’s a budding marketplace full of shops, live experiences and platform-specific stories.
Instagram is used by more women than men, breaking the mold of other platforms. And, 18-34 year olds make up most of those users. If you intend to reach a younger demographic who is visually focused, influenced by social causes, and willing to spend their disposable income in-app, Instagram is the social platform you’ve been looking for.
Similar to Facebook, this is not a unique audience by any means. And though there is considerably less competition on Instagram for their attention, the platform is owned by Facebook (Meta) itself. The added benefit of Instagram is having access to Facebook’s Business Manager which allows the same kind of highly-customized, targeted advertising Facebook does.
The caveat? You’ll need to create a Facebook Page for your business to use any of these advertising features. Thanks, Zuckerberg.
Unlike Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is a social media platform focused on photos and videos secondarily. Here, it’s all about conversations, news and trending topics, whether seen through text-only posts, hashtags or new features like Spaces. With more than 353 million active users, Twitter bodes well as a social media platform for any business interested in having a traditional brand presence without too many bells and whistles.
Though there is also an in-platform advertising manager here too, the function of Twitter is to effectively promote organic virality. By using hashtags or other means of culture signaling (we mean memes), success on the platform is more straightforward. This is particularly true for in-the-moment messaging, live reactions and timely updates.
This is where video content online originated, where other platforms take influence and heed from and where long-form visuals often live. Creator-driven, it’s also the world’s second-most visited website, accounting for nearly one-quarter of all mobile traffic. YouTube has over 2 billion active users on the platform.
Where YouTube stands alone: Nearly 95 percent of all 18-29 year olds use YouTube. For users ages 30-49 it’s 91 percent. Forty-nine percent of users older than 65 do, too. People are watching… and watching… and watching on this platform.
When it comes to brand messaging on YouTube, then, it needs to speak to not only the bridged audience between the platform’s user base and your business’ intended demographic, but also to what succeeds on the platform.
Like TikTok, success doesn’t necessarily come from scripted, corporate messaging but rather education-focused, POV-based, or experience-driven content. It takes a great deal of effort to be a YouTube creator, and that’s something not many brands have the capacity (or need) to do.
Given the breadth of potential reach, there could be value in using Google Ad Studio—YouTube’s pay-to-play function—to promote brand messaging to the right people at the right time. Having a library of linkable videos provides a bit of flexibility if your target demographic is on any of the other platforms listed here too. The caveat? You need high-quality video assets to really make an impact.
LinkedIn is unique compared to other social media platforms because it is focused on professional development and networking first and foremost. Typical uses are job hunting, employee avocation, recruitment, or promoting company culture to its roughly 756 million active users.
Functionally similar to Facebook, LinkedIn features similar offerings like photo and video posting, in addition to article publishing, live polling and direct messaging.
Here, it’s all about selling your business as if every post, every interaction, is a mini pitch. This point becomes especially clear when viewing the platform’s offerings for business page owners or admins: employee participation on the platform can make or break your business’ content regardless of reach.
Naturally, there’s also a paid element to this platform within the LinkedIn Campaign Manager. It can be especially useful when targeting leads by industry and job title, but can carry a higher cost per click for this type of targeting compared to other platforms.
So What’s Right for You?
With no shortage of options, it’s true each social media platform has its place. The critical first step is finding your audience and determining which platform is right for your needs and aims. Each social channel can further your brand or business, if used correctly to target the right people.
Need help determining what your social strategy should look like? Get in touch.