Grab your phone, unlock your screen and check out your social media apps.
You probably have social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Maybe you also have Snapchat, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
But how many of those do you actually use on a regular basis?
If you’re like most people, you probably spend your time on just a few social networks. According to data from the Pew Research Center, the median American actively uses about three social media networks. Younger generations are much more likely to have profiles across multiple.
Just as you aren’t everywhere on social platforms, your target audience probably isn’t either.
If you provide software services to Gen X business executives, you might not need a YouTube channel. But if you’re an up-and-coming beauty brand for college-aged women, you can’t afford not to have a YouTube presence.
So, how do you choose your channels? Consider your answers to these questions:
- What is your competition doing? Conversely, what are they NOT doing?
- Take note of what seems to be working, then take it a step further to find opportunities for your brand.
- What engagement are you looking to get from social media?
- Are you looking to have conversations with your customers, promote brand awareness, or offer a customer service channel?
- How much time (or budget) do you have to spend on social media?
Your answers will help to narrow the field. Understanding where your audience spends their time will show you which networks to prioritize.
Let’s take a closer look at six of the most popular social platforms and dig into who spends their time there.
More than two billion people use Facebook each month, making it a default platform for marketers and brands.
Regardless of who your target audience is, they’re probably on Facebook.
Nearly two-thirds of adults say they are Facebook users, and the majority use the network on a daily basis. In the United States, it’s held the title of primary social media network among adults since 2012, according to the Pew Research Center.
If you’re looking to engage with Gen Xers or older Millennials, consider prioritizing Facebook. People in these age groups are the most likely to share content on Facebook than any other social network, according to Spredfast data.
While Facebook has the biggest user base, it can be one of the most difficult networks to build an audience without a substantial ad budget. Eternally-shifting algorithms make it increasingly difficult to sustain organic engagement on your posts.
But the explosion in chatbots and Messenger apps creates exciting possibilities and openings for marketers to engage and delight customers on Facebook.
If Facebook is the first social network you think your business needs, Twitter often comes in second. The platform’s 280-character limit makes it an ideal medium for sharing timely updates and deals, announcements and communicating with customers.
Twitter has a reputation for being the place to go for in-the-moment updates. This is great if your brand has a lot of time-sensitive content. If your content media strategy leans toward the evergreen, it can be difficult to get visibility without virality.
On its surface, statistics make Twitter appear like an oddity in the social media world. The microblogging site’s 317 million active users skew younger — 36% are under 29, according to Spredfast.
The wealthy are also more likely to use Twitter. Nearly 60% of users make more than $50,000 annually, and 30% of its users make more than $75,000. Of those who have college degrees, 29% report using Twitter, according to Spredfast data.
How do people spend time on Twitter? If you guessed news, you’re right. Two-thirds of Twitter users say they check the site daily to receive the news. But that’s not all users do: 84% use the social network to find coupons, deals, reviews, and ideas.
With 500 million daily active users, Instagram is growing rapidly.
While most of the social networks have had a consistent user base in recent years, according to the Pew study, Instagram has been an anomaly.
More than a third of American adults are active users, making Instagram the third most popular social media platform after YouTube and Facebook.
Instagram’s mix of photos, short videos, live videos, ephemeral stories, and IGTV provide a wide range of storytelling options that proved popular.
Just two years ago, 28% of American adults told Pew researchers they use this platform. In early 2018, 35% of adults now say they’re on the platform.
Teens and young adults, in particular, look to engage with brands on Instagram. In fact, 53% of teens reporting Instagram is the best place to find new products, according to Spredfast.
Overwhelmingly mobile, with 91 million mobile users a month, compared to only 21 on a desktop.
If your brand caters to teenagers and young adults, you can’t afford to ignore Snapchat.
Nearly 80% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat, and the vast majority of them visit the platform multiple times per day, according to the Pew study. Interestingly, that share falls to 54% among those aged 25 to 29.
Users are constantly on the platform. Active users say they open the app more than 25 times a day, according to Spredfast. Snapchat boasts 300 million monthly active users, and 39% of teens said it was their favorite social network
YouTube isn’t always thought of as a social network, as most users follow their favorite personalities and don’t often post much content of their own.
But if you’re discounting YouTube for that reason, you may want to reconsider. YouTube is more popular than Facebook among Americans and counts significantly more users than nearly all other social networks, according to Pew data.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans spend time on the video platform, according to Pew Research Center. More than 1 billion people are active users worldwide, according to Spredfast.
And if your audience is young, you need a YouTube channel. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, a staggering 94% of them use the platform, according to Pew.
YouTube reaches more 18-24-year-olds than any cable network, and people spend an average of 40 minutes a day on the platform, according to Spredfast.
Having an active LinkedIn presence is a must for those looking to reach a professional audience. It’s the second most popular social network among Fortune 500 CEOs, and 45% of users who make more than $75,000 annually, according to Spredfast data.
For business marketers, LinkedIn is also a key source for generating Business-to-Business (B2B) leads. Spredfast reports 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is also popular among college graduates and those in high-income households. Half of Americans with a college degree spend time on LinkedIn, compared with just 9% of those with a high school diploma or less, Pew reports.
The social media landscape is a diverse place with communities for nearly every niche imaginable. If you know your audience well, you can prioritize the channels where they are most likely to congregate -- saving time and maximizing results.