Social media enables brands to engage with current and potential customers, drive awareness, and promote products. In this guide, we’ll examine the top social platforms and effective marketing strategies.

It will be a big year for social media and content marketing. Businesses and consumers alike will use social media as a platform to be in the now, get in the now and stay in the now. Social media are major resources for businesses of all sizes to promote and sell their brands. Some of the most popular sites that started as a fun, social place to communicate have grown into a terrific opportunity to advertise, promote and grow your business.

SEE ALSO: The Impact of Social Media on Business

The Most Used Social Media Platforms

1.  Facebook:

Facebook is one of the most popular social media networking sites worldwide. It is easy to use, easy to navigate and an easy, effective platform for consumers and businesses alike. There are more than 1.6 billion worldwide active users, so this is an important platform for marketing your business. Research by the Pew Research Center indicates that 79% of internet users (68% of all U.S. adults) use Facebook. 

Facebook Marketing Solutions

Over 2.9 billion monthly active users. Demographic skews are slightly older. Ideal for brand building through content, community engagement, and advertising.

Most used social media sites

Facebook will continue to grow, change and increase their exposure, and so should businesses interested in growing. The site offers paid advertising opportunities to target specific audiences and provides analytics to see how engaging posts are and other analytics and tools to help marketers.

2.  Twitter:

This is one of the top social media sites today, especially for younger Americans. Twitter turned 10 years old 2016 and became a way a president-elect communicated to millions of followers. Twitter is a social media platform that limits posts to 140 characters and this short and sweet platform has more than 320 million active monthly users.

The opportunities are limitless for businesses who learn the art of the tweet and the # hashtag. Instant messages, content and promotions can be accessed almost immediately so marketers can have one-on-one intimate relationships with their followers and offer content that keeps their message in the “hands” and mobile devices on a personal level. #Rio2016, #election 2016, #pokemongo

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3.  Snapchat:

Snapchat, now Snap Inc., recently changed its name to encompass the growing services it offers users. Snapchat relies on images and photos and is a messaging application released in 2011. It now has more than 150 million users and is growing. According to Nielson’s research, on any given day, Snapchat reaches 41% of all 18 – 34-year-olds in the United States.

Their logo is a friendly-looking ghost that turns into a camera that takes photos and videos that are instantly shared and, in a few seconds, disappears. Their claim to fame is fun geo filters, storybooks and other photo-altering screens that alter the image. Some major companies that have already gained success from Snapchat promotions include Bud Light, Kraft and RetailmeKnot. Marketers will take note of these statistics and tell their stories on Snapchat to engage this age group like no other platform available today.

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4.  Pinterest:

Pinterest is a hugely popular visual digital bulletin board where businesses can “pin” their information. Known as pinning, photos, videos, tips and how-to articles are all divided into boards or themes. Users can collect their pins and browse and like other boards as well. Pinterest focuses on a person’s lifestyle so like-minded people and those with common interests can connect, discover and be entertained. Users can like, share and re-pin content, which makes the site social.

The long-standing trend that women use Pinterest much more than men continues. Pinterest is a must-have for anyone interested in reaching millions of potential customers. This highly visual medium allows businesses to engage customers with images, video messages and infographics like no other.

Pinterest For Your Business | Pinterest | Social Media Marketing | Pinterest Business | Social Media

5.  Instagram:

Like Pinterest and Snapchat, Instagram is a visual social media platform and one of the most used social media sites. Facebook now owns Instagram and boasts millions of active users. Instagram focuses on simplicity and creativity and has grown into an extremely popular platform for visual storytelling. Instagram has more than 500 million monthly active users and an engaged audience interested in visual storytelling.

This presents a huge opportunity for businesses to reach Instagram users in an instant. Businesses should use creative storytelling, videography and stories to capture a younger demographic and have fun along the way.

Mastering Instagram Stories | Instagram | Instagram Marketing | Shorts

6.  LinkedIn:

LinkedIn, launched in 2003, is the most popular social platform for professional networking. This platform is the place to connect with professionals worldwide, but it can also be a great asset to promote yourself and your business. It’s where anyone from a top corporate executive, small business owner or a college student can explore their professional opportunities, learn more about their industries or strengthen their professional abilities.

People like to do business with people they know are socially connected to. LinkedIn works with connections instead of friend requests like Facebook. Simply stated, it’s easy social networking. LinkedIn contacts can come from other social sites, so the possibility of your product posts having organic reach is increased.

LinkedIn marketing - Most used Social media

7.  YouTube:

YouTube, founded in 2005  by former PayPal employees, is the largest and most popular video social media platform. It has become a household name with fabulous marketing opportunities, especially because the giant search engine Google owns it. There are millions of YouTube videos watched every day, so it is a smart place to be to market products and services. It’s also where customers find products, another important reason to be on YouTube.

Make it social by embedding videos onto your website and blog so customers can easily find more information and share it with their friends. An online retailer, ModCloth successfully uses YouTube to promote its brand.

Most used Social Media

8.  Google+:

Google+ may be considered the most powerful social media platform for business, especially from an SEO (search engine optimization) standpoint. Google+ is owned by Google, a hugely popular search engine and being on their social media platform will increase your search-ability. Why? Because they get billions of searches every day. It’s important to use keywords associated with any industry and create content that is valuable to readers for Google+. Google is known for linking all of its services to one another to maximize a user-friendly appeal.

Google+ also can connect a business page to all other Google products and services, and a map will be included as well. Links to a website or blog are also beneficial to get the most from Google+, being active on the site and socially connecting with customers and potential customers.

What Is Google+? Use Google Plus for SEO

9.  Reddit:

Reddit may not be as popular as Facebook and Twitter, but it is one of the top social media sites for news and entertainment. They have 234 million unique users and eight billion monthly page views. They consider themselves “the front page of the internet.” Registered users submit and share content like links and posts to bridge ideas, digital trends and breaking news. They say their mission is to help their users be knowledgeable and current. Reddit is a logical site for marketing strategy because businesses can find target audiences through authentic campaigns.

Most Used Social Media

10. TikTok

Over 1 billion monthly active users. Short-form viral video platform with emphasis on creativity. Reaches younger demographics.

TikTok for Business | TikTok | Social Media | Social Media Marketing | TikTok Marketing

Comparing Social Media Platform Features:

While the major social platforms share some commonalities in terms of social sharing and content, they each have unique features and capabilities:

  • Facebook – Events, Groups, Live Video, Stories, Ad Network
  • YouTube – Video upload and optimization, Channel customization
  • Instagram – Stories, Live Video, IGTV, Reels, AR filters, Shopping
  • Twitter – News Feeds, Moments, Lists, Threads
  • LinkedIn – Company Pages, Groups, Job Postings, Educational Courses
  • TikTok – Video Effects, Duets, Stitching, Hashtags
  • Pinterest – Boards, Pins, Lens visual search

Understanding these platform-specific features allows marketers to utilize them for engagement and promotion.

Tracking Social Media Marketing Performance:

It’s crucial to monitor metrics to assess the effectiveness of social media marketing efforts. Key indicators to track for each platform include:

  • Follower growth, engagement rate, clicks, reach, impressions
  • Website traffic, conversions from social referrals
  • Ad performance – CTR, CPC, conversions, reach
  • Sentiment analysis around brand mentions and keywords
  • Audience demographics and growth in targeted segments

Using built-in analytics tools and third-party social media analytics software ensures maximum insight.

Social Media Marketing Tools:

Tools streamline managing multi-channel social marketing. Top tools include:

  • Hootsuite, Sprout Social – Social media publishing, monitoring and analytics
  • Buffer, Later – Content scheduling and automation
  • Canva, Adobe Spark – Visual and video content creation
  • Iconosquare, Sprout Social – Instagram analytics and reporting
  • Sprinklr, Socialbakers – Social media command centres for large brands

The right tools allow collaboration, automation, and in-depth reporting to optimize efforts.

Most Used Social Media: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What social media platforms have the highest ROI potential?

Typically, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube have the highest ROI potential based on ad capabilities and conversion opportunities.

Q: What types of content perform best on each platform?

Visual content on Instagram and Pinterest, conversational content on Twitter and Facebook, long-form video on YouTube, and learning content on LinkedIn.

Q: How often should brands post on social media?

1-2 times daily is ideal for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. One post per day for Instagram. 2+ videos per week for YouTube.

Q: What are the top social media management and analytics tools?

Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, Iconosquare, Canva, and Sprinklr are among the top options.

Q: How can you track and optimize social media marketing results?

Use platform analytics, Google Analytics, and 3rd party social media tools to track engagement, sentiment, conversions, and ROI on ad spend.

Most Used Social Media: Conclusion

Today’s leading social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Linked and Pinterest offer immense marketing opportunities for brands to engage audiences. By tapping into platform-specific features and tailoring content strategies and ad campaigns to each unique user base, marketers can drive real business impact.

Testing different content formats, keeping up with new features, and continuously tracking performance data are key to maximizing social media marketing success. The platforms may change over time, but engaging users genuinely will always be effective.

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