Social media has become an increasingly important part of any marketing strategy. From Facebook to Twitter and beyond, social media platforms are used by businesses to reach out to potential customers, provide customer service, and keep tabs on the competition.
However, there’s a lot more to it than just posting a few statuses or photos. There are numerous tools available for managing your social media presence. These tools can help you schedule posts and respond to comments; they can also help you track your metrics and analyze how your posts are performing.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some popular tools and websites that can help you manage your social media presence.
Popular Social Media Tools And Websites
Long the home of influencers, brands, bloggers, small business owners, friends and everyone in between, Instagram has topped well over 1 billion monthly users. If you’re wondering whether a meaningful segment of your audience spends time on the platform, the answer is almost surely a resounding yes.
Who’s on Instagram (and Why): Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms for teens and young adults, especially in the U.S. Use of the app slowly drops off with age but stays consistent across both men and women, so if your customers are under 40, then Instagram can’t be ignored.
The Content that Works Best on Instagram: Beautiful photography, stunning visuals, unique designs, selfie-style video that speaks directly to your audience and a cohesive theme to your content will help you stand out on Instagram.
You Should Prioritize Instagram if: Your target audience is under the age of 40, you run a lifestyle, ecommerce, or photography business.Edit this templateEdit this templateEdit this templateEdit this templateEdit this templateEdit this template
YouTube hails as the second most popular search engine in the world today, right behind its parent company, Google. If your business could benefit from producing video tutorials or walkthroughs, visually-driven instructional content, product reviews or interviews, then this social media platform is a must for reaching their more than 2 billion monthly users.
Who’s on YouTube (and Why): A whopping 73% of U.S. adults report regularly using YouTube, with a heavy concentration in the age range of 15 to 34 years olds. YouTube is broadly popular amongst both men and women, and usage tends to go up alongside income and level of education.
The Content that Works Best on YouTube: Video only. Depending upon your type of business and who your audience is, both long-form and short-form video content can work very well on this platform. Most viewers tune in for a combination of education and entertainment, so whether you’re teaching your audience about emerging marketing tactics or streaming video gameplay, work hard to retain their attention throughout your videos. You might also consider tapping into popular YouTube trends like unboxing videos (especially if you rep a physical product) and “with me” content that takes viewers along with you for the ride. Additionally, if starting a YouTube channel feels ambitious, partnering with YouTube influencers who are excited about your mission could help you test the waters before you dive in.
You Should Prioritize YouTube if: Your audience is below the age of 50 and consumes video content as a means of either education or entertainment.Edit this templateEdit this templateEdit this template
With nearly 2.5 billion monthly users, Facebook is hands down the largest social media site in the world. While that practically ensures at least some of your audience regularly uses the platform, it’s developed a somewhat negative reputation amongst younger users that are increasingly turning to other alternative sites.
Regardless, if your brand stands to benefit from sharing industry-related news, engaging (short-form) videos, graphics and other visually appealing content—especially if your primary audience is above the age of 30—then consider having a presence on Facebook. You might also consider leveraging Facebook groups to gather your customers or community in one place online. Facebook groups, unlike Facebook business pages, aren’t for advertising, but they can be helpful in creating conversation.
Who’s on Facebook (and Why): 68% of U.S. adults report using Facebook, with 51% saying they’re active multiple times daily. Usage is spread pretty evenly amongst males and females, while users tend to get increasingly active as age increases (especially beyond the 40+ year old demographic).
The Content that Works Best on Facebook: The more interesting, engaging or even polarizing your content is, the more likely it is to go viral on Facebook. Lean heavily on short videos, eye-catching images and attention-grabbing headlines to attract an audience. For Facebook groups, interactive content and conversation-starters are the way to go. Consider live streams and polls.
You Should Prioritize Facebook if: You want to reach an audience of adults and have engaging visual (or video) content that can capture their attention, invoke an immediate emotional response and make them excited to share with their friends. Or if you want an easy way to create an online community around a topic or business.Edit this templateEdit this templateEdit this template
While Twitter’s monthly active user numbers have hovered consistently around 300 million for a while now, a whopping 40% of those users are active on the site multiple times daily, suggesting that if your audience uses the platform, they’re likely very engaged. The popularity of this social media site remains high amongst tech-savvy users and is particularly active in B2B verticals related to business, marketing and politics today.
Who’s on Twitter (and Why): 63% of Twitter users are between the ages of 35 and 65, with males making up nearly two-thirds of those people.
The Content that Works Best on Twitter: Twitter has become a very popular medium to communicate breaking news, digest bite-sized content, and communicate directly with your users in real-time. Videos and images tend to stand out best, but a well-timed written tweet still works wonders if you’re hopping on trending topics and are particularly witty.
You Should Prioritize Twitter if: Your audience skews toward the demographic of mature males between the ages of 30 and 60. Experiment with a combination of content types ranging from educational videos, to gripping visuals and discussion threads that offer advice and opinions.Edit this templateEdit this templateEdit this template
This new kid on the block is less than two years old, but received over 1 billion downloads of their video-based app during their first year of operation. Today, TikTok reportedly sees over 800 million monthly users, which instantly places it amongst the top social media platforms in the world in terms of sheer user figures.
Who’s on TikTok (and Why): Around 50% of TikTok’s audience is under the age of 35 in the U.S., with the majority of that audience concentrated amongst those between the ages of 16 to 24.
The Content that Works Best on TikTok: Entertaining, interesting, comedic and sometimes nonsensical short-form video content, usually set to the tune of popular songs. Think fun, catchy music-video style content.
You Should Prioritize TikTok if: You want to reach (and entertain) a young audience with fun video-based content that doesn’t often have a direct connection to your products or services. Being overly self-promotional on this platform won’t build you a loyal following, so be prepared to take the approach of entertaining first.
Pinterest has become a very popular social bookmarking tool for saving ideas and finding creative inspiration when it comes to everything from cooking to DIY home projects, vacation ideas, interior design, business and everything in between. With an audience predominantly consisting of adult women, this social media platform is also often cited as a crucial part of the product discovery journey.
Who’s on Pinterest (and Why): With over 320 million monthly users, Pinterest boasts one of the most concentrated audiences of women amongst all social media sites. Nearly 80% of their users are female, with a heavy concentration amongst millennials.
The Content that Works Best on Pinterest: Vertically-formatted images do best on this platform, due largely to the browsing experience users are presented with. Polished imagery with clear copy that conveys what the Pinner will see if they click through performs best. Numbers, lists, and quotes should be a big part of your strategy here. And don’t forget to consider keywords and search terms in your imagery.
You Should Prioritize Pinterest if: Your audience consists predominantly of adult women, your business is related to lifestyle, fashion, decorating, or DIY.Edit this templateEdit this templateEdit this template
Despite seeming to lose some ground to competitor social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, Snapchat still remains one of the most heavily used apps with the under 25 years of age demographic—boasting over 300 million monthly users in recent months. Most Snapchat users frequent the app in order to share updates and communicate with friends and family through disappearing images and short video messages.
Who’s on Snapchat (and Why): Young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 make up a massive 78% of active users who partake in the platform’s over 14 billion daily video views. Users tend to skew slightly more toward females, with the majority accessing the app daily.
The Content that Works Best on Snapchat: Video-driven storytelling. If you have a knack for creating compelling (usually selfie-style) short videos that can entertain & educate a young audience, then Snapchat is a no brainer platform for you to form connections with your customers.
You Should Prioritize Snapchat if: You want to reach a young audience and have an affinity for creating bite-sized, engaging video content. Like with TikTok though, don’t expect to flip on your camera and talk about your products all day, as most Snapchat users are here to be entertained.
top social media apps
1. Facebook – 2.74 Billion Active Users
Facebook is the undisputed heavyweight champion of social media platforms.
While it can’t take credit for getting everything started, that honor goes to SixDegrees (RIP), Facebook is the social media juggernaut that not only showed the world what the internet can be, but also fundamentally changed the way humans interact with each other.
The company’s turbulent early days and continued association with epic controversies haven’t stopped it from achieving mind-boggling growth since its 2004 launch.
It took Facebook only ten months to reach a million subscribers and only eight years to reach a billion. As of January 2022, Facebook boasts 2.74 billion active users – a number that grows with roughly 500,000 new users every day, or six new users every second.
Despite its immense popularity, Facebook isn’t the most visited website in the world. Somewhat surprisingly, its 25.5 billion monthly visits are bested by YouTube’s 34.6 billion and totally eclipsed by Google’s 92.5 billion.
In comparison to other social media platforms, Facebook is the most popular amongst users aged between 12 and 34 years, although their US-based share of this demographic is most definitely shrinking.
The Infinite Dial reports that the 58% of survey respondents in this age group who identified Facebook as their favorite social network in 2015 has shrunk to 32% in 2020. The biggest culprit – Instagram. The photo and video-sharing social network saw its share of this demographic go from 15% to 27% in the same time period.
Here are some other interesting facts about Facebook usage:
- India is the country with the most active Facebook users (290 million), the US is second (190 million), and Indonesia third (140 million).
- In the US, 73% of all Facebook users log in on a daily basis. 93% use Facebook weekly, and 98% log in at least once a month.
- Despite continued criticism of Facebook’s role in spreading disinformation, 36% of US citizens say they regularly use the platform as a source of news.
- The average American user spends up to 38 minutes per day on Facebook.
2. YouTube – 2.291 Billion Active Users
The second-most popular social media platform on our list, YouTube comes in at a super-impressive 2.29 billion registered users.
However, since ANYONE can enjoy YouTube content, regardless of whether or not they’re a registered user, this figure may not be the most accurate representation of the platform’s true popularity.
Launched in 2005, the video-sharing platform was initially intended to be a dating service, with the founders reportedly publishing ads on Craigslist to entice women into posting videos of themselves talking about their ideal partners.
The (rather understandable) lack of response resulted in the site being opened up for videos of any kind – a decision that would ultimately make Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim multi-millionaires.
The company overcame numerous technical and legal obstacles on its way to becoming not only the world’s leading video-sharing platform but also the target of a $1.65 billion acquisition by Google. All of this by November 2006 – only 16 months after its official launch.
YouTube is also one of a tiny selection of social media platforms that reaches very young age groups. A 2020 study conducted by Pew Research revealed the following about the viewing habits of US children under the age of 11.
- 80% of parents say their children watch YouTube videos.
- Only 19% of parents say that their children don’t watch YouTube videos.
- More than half of parents said their children watched Youtube at least once a day.
Despite its popularity amongst a younger audience, YouTube also boasts some remarkable stats for reaching the adult demographic. Almost three-quarters (74%) of all adults in the US use YouTube. Facebook comes in second at 68% and Instagram is third with 40%.
When it comes to national demographics, more than 30% of all YouTube’s traffic originates from only three countries. At 16.4%, the United States contributes the biggest percentage. India is second with 9.2% and Japan grabs the bronze with 4.8%.
3. WhatsApp – 2.0 Billion Active Users
Founded in 2009 by two former Yahoo! employees, WhatsApp’s original goal wasn’t to be an instant messaging (IM) app, but rather to simply show “statuses” next to the names of each entry in a user’s address book.
“At some point it sort of became instant messaging,” Alex Fishman, a friend of founder, Jan Koum, told Forbes.
This accidental evolution led to the app dominating the free IM market and would also end up making the founders immensely wealthy – the latter thanks to Facebook’s $16 billion acquisition in 2014.
WhatsApp is one of only three social networking platforms with a user base of over 2 billion – a milestone they reached in 2020. The app’s recent growth rate has been astonishing, with the last billion users hopping on in only four years!
Because WhatsApp has resisted integrating traditional advertising into their revenue model, the platform doesn’t offer the width of marketing options that many other social networks do. But that doesn’t mean that the app doesn’t offer enormous marketing value for businesses who use it as a communications tool.
4. Facebook Messenger – 1.3 Billion Active Users
It says a lot about the power of Facebook that a service WITHIN their main platform reached the number four spot on this prestigious list.
It also says a lot about WhatsApp that they were able to dramatically outperform Messenger despite the latter being embedded into the world’s most popular social network.
Messenger’s initial incarnation was “Facebook Chat” – a simple IM feature that was launched into the Facebook environment in 2008. Noting Chat’s potential as a standalone app with its own unique commercial ecosystem, Facebook overhauled the service and rebranded it as “Facebook Messenger” two years later.
Unlike WhatsApp, Messenger’s proprietors had no issue with introducing monetization features into the app’s core functionality. As a result, Messenger offers businesses an unparalleled level of contact with their customers and prospects.
There are more ways to interact with your leads on Messenger than you can shake a stick at. From automated chatbots that field incoming queries and promote products, to advertisements displayed in the user’s inbox, Messenger is a B2C marketer’s dream.
Facebook gleefully reports that over 40 million active businesses use Messenger to interact with their potential customers and that over 20 billion messages are sent between businesses and regular users every month.
Interestingly, while Messenger still lags behind WhatsApp in terms of total number of global active users, Messenger is comfortably the more popular choice amongst users in the United States.
Statista’s most recent figures on US IM engagement reported that 12.1% of US mobile owners were using WhatsApp, compared to Messenger’s 56.8%.
Age-wise, there’s one group that towers above the rest when it comes to Facebook Messenger adoption in the United States:
- 13 – 17-year olds account for 1.7% of the app’s usage.
- 18 – 24-year olds account for 14.7%.
- 25 – 34-year olds represent 27.3% of Messenger’s US user base.
- 35 – 44-year olds come in second with 21%.
- 45 – 51 year olds account for 14.7% of the country’s Messenger’s user base.
5. Instagram – 1.221 Billion Active Users
The world’s most popular photo-sharing app comes in at number 5 with a total of 1.22 billion global active users.
Founded by former Google employee, Kevin Systrom, in 2009, Instagram is the product of an incredibly diligent analysis of the social media landscape at the time.
An early round of seed funding allowed Systrom to pivot the app, which initially focused on attracting whiskey and bourbon aficionados, into something broader. Something with industry-defining image manipulation tech and a far more immersive social experience than any other image-sharing service at the time.
The result was an absolute beast of a social network. By April 2012, the month Facebook acquired it for $1 billion, Instagram had grown its user base to 35 million. Three months later, it stood at 80 million users. By June 2016, it reached the landmark 500 million figure.
One of Instagram’s most enduring contributions to the world of digital marketing was the creation of “influencers”. For better or worse, certain users’ popularity gave their profiles an “aspirational” slant, which soon resulted in the birth of a whole new marketing channel that empowered regular folk to monetize their fame.
Demographically, Instagram appeals primarily to users under the age of 35, with 71% of the app’s user base falling into this category.
It’s also an immensely popular platform for B2C marketing, with more than 70% of US businesses actively using it as a marketing channel. Instagram offers incredible engagement rates in comparison to Facebook, its biggest competitor. Despite offering relatively similar functionality and engagement mechanisms, Instagram posts see, on average, a 23% higher engagement rate than images published on Facebook.
At 140 million users each, the US and India represent the platform’s two biggest national demographics. Brazil (99 million) is ranked second and Indonesia (88 million) third, while Russia (56 million) misses out on a podium finish.
6. Weixin/WeChat – 1.213 Billion Active Users
With an incredibly wide range of functions that allow users to do everything from sending text messages and conducting video calls to processing digital payments and playing video games, it’s no surprise that WeChat has such a high position on our list.
It’s also a testament to WeChat’s immense usefulness that the app achieved this level of popularity despite actively sharing users’ private information with the Chinese government as part of the latter’s mass surveillance and censorship efforts.
Regardless of this unfortunate collaboration, WeChat has blasted its way into virtually every aspect of Chinese life – a notion underscored by the fact that the app’s adoption by older age groups is extremely impressive.
In 2018 an astonishing 98.5% of Chinese mobile users between the ages of 50 and 80 are registered WeChat users. While 60% of WeChat users over the age of 60 use more than half of their mobile data on the app.
For social media marketers in the US considering WeChat as a possible marketing channel, it’s useful to know that 23% of America’s mobile internet users between the ages of 18 and 24 are registered on the app.
7. TikTok – 689 Million Active Users
There are overnight success stories and then there is TikTok. The video-sharing platform burst onto the international scene in 2017 and quickly started racking up adoption figures that made competitors weep onto their keyboards.
Two years after its emergence onto the social media landscape, TikTok was in the top five of the world’s most downloaded apps. A year later, it was number one. And not by a small margin, either. The fledgling social network outperformed its nearest rival, WhatsApp, by a staggering 250 million downloads.
Have a look at the table below for some more context. The difference between WhatsApp and the third-placed Facebook is only 60 million downloads!
TikTok still has a ways to go to catch up with its competitors in terms of the breadth of its demographic reach. In the United States, 47% of the platform’s user base is between the ages of 10 and 29.
8. QQ – 617 Million Active Users
Another property owned by the Chinese conglomerate Tencent (the other is WeChat), QQ has been around forever (in internet years).
Launched under the name OICQ in 1999 as a downloadable instant messaging service, the platform quickly became China’s most popular digital contact platform and played a pivotal role in “killing” email in the world’s most populous country.
QQ’s early rise to dominance as a business communication platform was helped by the software’s exceptional handling of file transfers. This created a network effect where companies simply HAD to be on QQ because, well, all their partners, vendors, and clients were already using it.
Being first to market with such a useful platform, especially in a territory that actively blocks so many external cloud-based apps, helped build the foundation for QQ’s enormous success.
Despite its ubiquity in China, QQ hasn’t managed to make its mark on the rest of the world. International versions of the platform weren’t integrated with many valuable QQ products, rendering it mostly valueless outside its home territory.
9. Douyin – 600 Million Active Users
To keep it simple, Douyin is TikTok for a Chinese audience. The two platforms have the same parent company and the same core functionality but are most definitely two different apps, marketed to two different demographics.
In China, Douyin has become one of the most popular marketing channels for luxury brands. Many have struggled to create meaningful engagement with the platform’s young user base, but there have been some success stories.
Unlike TikTok, Douyin has embraced user-monetization and provided content creators with more concrete mechanisms to generate revenue stream from their videos – mainly by integrating with popular Chinese e-commerce platforms like Taobao.
10. Sina Weibo – 511 Million Active Users
Sina Weibo is a Chinese property that started out as a micro-blogging site and has evolved into the country’s third-largest social network.
Unlike the other Chinese platforms on this list, Weibo’s focus is very much on the creation, delivery, and consumption of user-generated content. It’s an information center that’s been adopted by businesses, journalists, influencers, and regular folk alike.
Companies, especially, have taken to Weibo as a marketing platform, with several international brands even succeeding in tapping into the massive Chinese market. The most successful of these has been Tourism Australia who won Weibo’s “most promising and popular outbound destination award” at a Chinese influencer summit in 2019.
Sadly, as can be expected, the information that’s distributed on Weibo is subject to strict government scrutiny and censorship. But this hasn’t stopped continued efforts by foreign companies wanting to market themselves to a third of China’s population.
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