The year is 1997, SixDegrees.com has just been launched, the Social Media world is born. Although introduced before the turn of the millennium, it was between 2003 and 2005 that it grew from its infancy and into the mainstream. Giants of the digital world such as Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube were creeping into people’s lives.
Fast forward to 2021, there are hundreds of platforms available, with each one attracting different audiences and containing different features. But what are ‘the best’ social media platforms to be on? Well, it is not as simple as ‘this one is the best’, it all depends on what features you want to be utilising and who your target audience is. In this blog, PRG’s digital marketing experts share their thoughts:
Facebook, a household name at this point, still reigns supreme as the most popular social media platform in the world with over 2.7billion active monthly users. Just over 55% of all Facebook users are between 18-34 years old, with 35-54 year-olds contributing another 27% of all users, showing just how broad the age range of this platform is.
Facebook has evolved over the years, paving the way for other platforms by introducing the things we take for granted now like sharing, likes, comments, to the more Facebook unique items like being able to create groups and host events. As great as Facebook is for B2C marketing, it is also the most popular B2B platform among professionals, with 91% of B2B marketers using Facebook.
The second biggest social media platform in the world with over 2.2billion active monthly users, YouTube somewhat stands alone from other social media platforms as it focuses on video sharing.
YouTube users consume over 1 billion, yes BILLION, hours of video every day, with around 500 hours of video being uploaded every minute, showing just how powerful a platform this is. YouTube is also the world’s second most visited website, right behind its parent company Google. YouTube videos can easily be embedded directly into yours and other’s websites, meaning your content can be easily accessed away from the main platform.
As key as making your own video content is, you should also consider advertising on YouTube. A study of 2,000 users in February 2020 saw 70% of users buy from a brand after seeing it on YouTube.
With over 1.2billion monthly users, Instagram comes in as the 5th biggest social media platform in the world behind WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Instagram seems to be where the title ‘influencer’ began, where being a social media star suddenly became a job, allowing people to collaborate with brands, gain a following and then get paid to endorse other brands.
Although some may disagree with the world of Influencers, it just goes to show the power of the platform’s reach and engagement. Instagram is considered the best platform around for engagement and connecting your brand to its followers. The visual content is easy to absorb and as it comes with features like stories, highlights, reels and IGTV, there is so much scope for different types of content all within just one platform. Oh…and it can be linked to Facebook, so when you post on Instagram it can also be directly published to Facebook: double the content, at no extra cost!
Love it or hate it, you cannot deny the power of Tiktok. Stemming from 2014’s Musical.ly and 2016’s Douyin, parent company ByteDance wanted to expand under a different brand -Tiktok. In 2018 it bought Musical.ly and thus Tiktok’s global takeover had begun.
At first glance, you could see it as a bunch of teenagers dancing to the latest chart tunes, but upon closer inspection it’s a marketing masterclass. Users can choose from a huge database of songs from their favourite artists, sound-clips made by others in the community and filters to make their videos stand out.
Tiktok’s algorithm is arguably the best in the business, each user has a ‘For You’ page, which supplies you with a unique feed of content curated just for you. You do not even have to follow other users, but you will still be supplied with the content that you want to see. Everyone’s ‘For You’ page is different, but that’s what makes Tiktok so powerful.
Although Tiktok’s 689 million users might look dwarfed by the billions that Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have, considering Tiktok has only been around since 2018, that’s a pretty impressive feat which is only going to continue to grow.
The network for professionals. Owned by the Microsoft team since 2016, LinkedIn allows you to connect with other industry professionals to grow your network, making use of ‘its not what you know, its who you know’.
Whereas many of the networks we mentioned previously tend to focus on B2C marketing, LinkedIn is a must for anyone in the B2B remit. With over 740 million users across the globe and 55 million companies, LinkedIn is the second most popular social network for B2B marketing after Facebook.
If you are planning on spending on LinkedIn, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great in-house tool. Sales Navigator allows you to target the people and companies you are looking for, keep track of key lead and company changes and engage with potential prospects/customers. It also features CRM integration so you can keep hold of the valuable leads you create.
A great platform for talking about you and your business, writing blogs about the latest and greatest in your industry and finding the people you need. Whether you are including LinkedIn as a part of your paid sales strategy or just using it to divert organic traffic to your website, it is not one to miss.
The final platform we will be looking at, Twitter, is one of the ‘original’ platforms, launched in 2006 just a year after YouTube. With only 353 million monthly users, you could say that Twitter doesn’t have the reach of other platforms like Facebook or Instagram, but the users on there are a very active bunch!
Twitter introduced ‘hashtags’ in 2007, a feature that is now a must on any social media platform. This revolutionised how people used social media as you could now search for a specific topic and find others talking about your interests; a simple way of finding the content you want without having to follow thousands of accounts.
Hashtags are now key for organic growth and reaching customers for any business on social media, and Twitter brought this into the mainstream. Although you could argue that the 280-character limit on Twitter inhibits one’s tweets, it also keeps it quick and concise for the reader. Twitter is a powerful tool that can link you with the latest news and connect with reporters on the scene, so for PR it is a must.
Choosing the best social media platforms for you
In conclusion, it is no question that social media should be part of your marketing strategy. Whether it’s all organic or you have the budget to strategically push your content further, social media has the power to put you and your business in front of millions of potential customers. But it is a double edge sword as you have to regularly upload content and keep it all consistent and on brand. How many times have you found a company’s social media account that hasn’t posted in two or three years? It looks lazy and doesn’t put a good image in the user’s head. In short – use social media but make sure to keep posting.
In terms of which platforms to be using, part of that comes down to you. What do you feel comfortable with, and more importantly, where are your customers?
If you are still none the wiser, here are some useful tips: if you are in the world of B2B commerce, use Facebook and LinkedIn. If you have a very visual product or service (fashion, art, food etc) then Instagram is a must and give Tiktok a go. YouTube is a no brainer if you’re planning on making video content. If you’re looking at updating the world and spreading news, then Twitter is probably your best bet.
If you need help creating a social media strategy for your business, call our digital marketing team on 01323 411044 or complete our enquiry form.