With new apps popping up every day, it can be a challenge to figure out which social media platforms will be most valuable for investing your time and money. Should you go all in on industry stalwarts like Instagram and Facebook? Or should you target younger audiences who consistently use Snapchat and TikTok? Which are the best social media platforms in terms of functionality across web and mobile devices?
Questions like these follow small businesses and corporate marketing teams alike. To help you decide which social networking platforms will be right for your brand, we’ve listed our top picks for the social media sites you should prioritize in 2023.
Instagram has well surpassed 1 billion monthly users, which is no surprise considering how the app blends the personal and professional with each new feature. If you’re wondering whether a meaningful segment of your audience spends time on the platform, the answer is most likely a resounding yes.
Who uses Instagram?
Long the home of influencers, artists, small and large brands, and everyone in between, Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms specifically for teens and younger adults, especially in the United States. Use of the app gradually drops off with age but stays consistent across all genders. If your customers are under 40, then Instagram needs to be incorporated into your brand strategy.
What kind of content should you post on Instagram?
Diversity with consistency reigns supreme on Instagram; lush photography, clever trend usage, and selfie-style videos that speak directly to your audience can all bring in new users to your channel. Keep them there with a cohesive theme and regular content to make the algorithm happy. Consider creating Instagram stories and reels to keep your audience engaged.
Why should your business use Instagram?
You should prioritize Instagram within your content marketing strategy if your target audience is under the age of 40, and you run a lifestyle, e-commerce, or otherwise visuals-heavy business.
YouTube holds the distinction of currently being the second most popular search engine in the world, right behind its parent company, Google. If your business could benefit from producing brand tutorials, instructional content, product reviews, or guest interviews, then this social media platform is a must — especially if the payoff is reaching their more than 2 billion monthly users.
Who uses YouTube?
The majority of American adults — 74% to be exact — report regularly using YouTube, with a heavy concentration in the age range of 15 to 35. YouTube is broadly popular amongst all genders, though the men-to-women ratio of users is 11:9.
What kind of content should you post on YouTube?
YouTube is a video-only content platform. Depending on your type of business and what your user demographics are, posting both long-form and short-form video content can work well for your brand on this platform. Most viewers tune in for a combination of education and entertainment, so you should aim for a balance of content to bring in as many people as possible to your channel. Tap into popular YouTube trends like unboxing videos (especially if you offer a physical product) and “-with me” content that takes viewers along for the ride. If starting a YouTube channel feels too ambitious right now, partnering with YouTube influencers who are excited about your mission, brand, or products can help you test the waters before you dive all the way in.
Why should you use Youtube?
You should create content for YouTube if your audience is below the age of 50, and if your customers consume video content for a variety of reasons — like education or entertainment — that reflect your brand or products.
With nearly 3 billion monthly users, Facebook is inarguably the largest and most popular social media platform in the world. While that level of proliferation ensures at least some of your audience will regularly use this platform and take in your content, Facebook has developed a somewhat negative reputation among younger users who are increasingly turning to alternative sites.
Regardless, if your brand stands to benefit from sharing industry-related news, short-form videos, brand graphics, and other visually engaging content, then consider having a presence on Facebook — especially if your primary audience is older than 30. Leveraging Facebook groups to gather your customer base in a singular digital location can be helpful for your brand as Facebook groups, unlike Facebook business pages, aren’t for advertising — which means they can be helpful in organically creating conversation and engaging with other users.
Additionally, Facebook offers the connected messaging app Facebook Messenger. This instant messaging app is a great way to connect with your audience directly and respond to any questions, comments, or complaints.
Who uses Facebook?
A majority of American adults — roughly 68% — report using Facebook regularly, with 51% being active on the site multiple times per day. Facebook users are spread evenly across all genders, and most tend to become more active as their age increases — especially after 40 years of age.
What kind of content should you post on Facebook?
Facebook is all about starting a conversation. The most engaging content can also be the most polarizing, thereby more likely to go viral on the site. Focus your content production on short videos and bold headlines to attract an audience. For Facebook groups, interactive content and communal experiences are the way to go; consider live streams and polls to get people interested in what you have to offer.
Why should you use Facebook?
Incorporate Facebook into your brand marketing strategy if your goal is to reach an adult audience and create an online community around your brand or topics related to your business.
While Twitter’s monthly active user numbers have hovered consistently around 345 million for much of this year, 40% of those users are active on the site multiple times daily; basically, if your audience uses this platform, they’re likely very engaged. The popularity of this social media site remains highest with tech-savvy users and is particularly popular in B2B verticals related to business, marketing, and politics.
Who uses Twitter?
63% of Twitter users are between the ages of 35 and 65, with men making up nearly two-thirds of that audience. The United States alone has 81 million active Twitter users, roughly one quarter of the country’s population.
What kind of content should you post on Twitter?
Twitter has become a popular medium to communicate breaking news, digest bite-sized content, and communicate directly with your audience in real time. Videos and images tend to stand out best when familiarizing new users with your brand, but a well-timed or especially clever tweet works wonders if you’re following along with trending topics and can seize the zeitgeist in time.
Why should you use Twitter?
Twitter should be a tentpole of your content marketing strategy if your customer base skews toward men aged 30 to 60. Experiment with a range of content types, like educational videos, opinion polls, and discussion threads.
No longer the new kid on the block, TikTok has been available worldwide since 2018 and wasted no time garnering over 1 billion downloads of their video-based app during their first year of operation. Today, TikTok consistently has over 1 billion monthly users, which naturally places it among the top-performing social media platforms in the world.
Who uses TikTok?
Over half of TikTok’s American audience is under the age of 35; 48% of American TikTok users are between the ages of 10 and 29. TikTok has a leg up on fostering future creators as younger users are able to download and access this app more easily than with sites like Facebook that were originally created with a restricted age range in place.
What kind of content should you post on TikTok?
Distill the elements of your brand or message into bite-sized pieces that can be laced with musical, comedic, or informative elements to bring users in and keep them entertained. Short-form video content is the only kind of content on TikTok, so it helps to follow the trends of what’s most watched and engaged with and stick to those formats until you can develop your own platform-specific voice. Think fun, catchy content that can be replicated based on what you want your customer base to know about.
Why should you use TikTok?
Make TikTok a key part of your brand marketing strategy to reach and entertain a younger audience. Fun video-based content doesn’t have to have a direct connection to your products or services and being overly self-promotional on this platform won’t automatically build you a loyal following, so focus on entertainment and engagement first.
Pinterest is a social media platform that acts as a bookmarking tool for saving ideas and finding creative inspiration for DIY home projects, recipes, sewing patterns, travel plans, interior design, brand marketing, and everything in between. This platform is often cited as a crucial part of the product discovery journey for customers of many different brands.
Who uses Pinterest?
With over 433 million monthly active users, Pinterest boasts one of the most concentrated audiences of women across all social media sites. Nearly 80% of their regular users are women, with a fairly even spread across age ranges 18-29 (32% of users), 30-49 (34% of users), and 50-69 (38% of users).
What kind of content should you post on Pinterest?
Vertically formatted images are the norm on Pinterest, due largely to the style of the platform’s feed layout and the users’ browsing experience. Polished visuals with clear copy that convey directly what the user will see if they click through generally perform best, especially if they align with common keywords and popular search terms. Lists and quotes should play a role in your strategy, as these kinds of posts are easiest to digest and share.
Why should you use Pinterest?
Plan to acquaint yourself with Pinterest if your audience consists predominantly of adult women, and if your brand is at all related to lifestyle tips, fashion and personal style, decorating, or DIY culture.
Despite losing ground to competitor platforms like Instagram and TikTok, Snapchat remains one of the most heavily used apps among people younger than 25 — netting almost 494 million monthly users in 2023. Snapchat users frequent the app to share life updates and communicate with friends and family through images and video messages that have a 24-hour life cycle.
Who uses Snapchat?
Adults between the ages of 18 and 29 make up 65% of Snapchat’s active user base, partaking in the platform’s over 14 billion daily video views. The average user gender skews slightly more towards women, with this 56% majority accessing the app daily.
What kind of content should you post on Snapchat?
Video-driven storytelling is the core of Snapchat. If you have a knack for creating compelling short-form video content that can amuse or educate a younger audience, then Snapchat will be essential for forming connections with your customers.
Why should you use Snapchat?
Snapchat should be worked into your brand marketing plan if your goal is to reach a teenage and young adult audience with bite-sized video content. However — much like with TikTok — don’t expect to turn on your camera and talk about your products ad nauseum, as most Snapchat users are there to be entertained, not lectured.
With 810 million users globally, the professional networking site LinkedIn has cemented its reputation as a top-tier resource for job opportunities, brand connections, and career advancement among social media sites on the market today.
Who uses LinkedIn?
Adults between the ages of 25 and 34 make up nearly 60% of the LinkedIn user base, with 57% of users identifying as men and 43% identifying as women. The platform ranks first when it comes to B2B lead generation, so expect a high rate of engagement between brands as well as with their clientele.
What kind of content should you post on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn posts that contain images net double the engagement that simple text posts get. Each post you create is essentially a billboard for your brand, so keep things consistent, clear, and tailored to what your audience needs, and don’t be afraid to throw in some punchy graphics to bring people into your world.
Why should you use LinkedIn?
LinkedIn should factor heavily into your brand marketing strategy if you seek community with other business owners and a network base for reaching potential customers who are hungry for new opportunities.
Other notable social media sites
Just because this blog post is limited to the top eight social media apps and sites does not mean there aren’t other social media networks to tap into.
Reddit: Content is promoted and socially curated by site users on Reddit. This is a social networking and news website that is comprised of user-run forums called subreddits. Reddit is a great social networking site for staying up to date on trends, news, and so much more. With daily active users averaging around 52 million, Reddit is a great social network to grow your brand.
Discord: If you are looking for a free communication app to get your brand’s voice out there, consider using Discord. This app is very popular within the gaming and developer community because it lets you share your voice, video, and message with your audience.
Twitch: Unlike Discord, Twitch is not an instant messaging service. Twitch is a streaming service that allows people to livestream to others. Like Discord, Twitch is very popular among the gaming community. If your brand’s identity aligns with livestreaming and gaming, strongly consider creating Discord and Twitch accounts.
Instant Messaging: Consider linking your social media pages to messaging platforms like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. WhatsApp is an instant messaging service owned and operated by Meta that functions as an alternative to text messages. With end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp has one of the biggest instant messaging user bases in the world. If your target audience is overseas, consider using Telegram or WeChat. Telegram is an encrypted messaging platform that is extremely popular worldwide but especially in India. WeChat is a popular messaging tool used in China. Consider your target demographic when choosing which instant messaging tools to use. Either connect with your audience directly or utilize chatbots to field your follower’s questions.
Quora: This is a platform where people can ask questions and get answers from fellow users. Consider keeping an eye on Quora – often people will ask how-to questions related to products, brands, experiences, or people, so be prepared to jump in there and answer brand-related questions.
Tumblr: This is a social networking platform that allows for blogging/microblogging and lots of customization. You can share photos, videos, music, links, GIFs, text, and lots of other multimedia on Tumblr. Tumblr is designed to bring social media users with similar interests together. Consider creating your own Tumblr page.