Which Popular Social Media Channels Do Your Customers Use?
Dozens of popular social media channels vie for your attention, promising to reward you with ongoing sales and massive growth.
Yet, if you’ve used these social media platforms, you’ll already know that social media marketing takes a lot more effort than just publishing a few posts and replying to a few comments. Plus, you may be wasting your time and effort if you are not even on the right social channel for your business.
Successful social media marketing requires a serious strategy and an understanding of each channel and its audience demographics.
Choosing your platform is critical. When selecting what social media platforms to use, popularity is just one aspect that drives the decision-making process. Even more crucial are the people who frequently use the platform.
How to Choose the Best Social Media Channel for Your Business
Just because YouTube leads the pack on active users doesn’t mean you should funnel all your money into YouTube marketing. You need to ask yourself… Is my target market on YouTube? Do they enjoy consuming content in the form of videos? Would video content enhance my business?
At a minimum, there are four things you should know before you choose a social media channel:
- The popularity of the platform
- Your target audience’s demographics and preferred platforms
- Your target audience’s preferred type of content
- Your business goals (sales, brand awareness, leads, product awareness, etc.)
For example, TikTok is incredibly popular. But you won’t be able to build a community of interested prospects if your target audience is working professionals aged 45-55.TikTok’s average user age is teenagers (TikTok users span from 10 to 29 years old).
If your target audience prefers blogs over videos, they likely won’t watch your YouTube videos. They might choose to find you on Reddit instead.
If you’re aiming to generate more leads for your SaaS business, you will have more success on LinkedIn. That’s because LinkedIn is a B2B platform.
Data on your target audience, your business goals, and each platform’s users should be part of a social media strategy. That data will guide your tactics and provide insights into what works and what doesn’t.
Launching social media campaigns from a sound strategy will set you up for massive gains.
The end goal here is to choose a popular social media channel that aligns with your strategy and your target market.
PRO TIP: If you are wondering how to define your target market, don’t choose a social media platform until you do some market research. We talk about why defining your target audience is critical in this article about how to grow your social media audience.
Now let’s dive into some platforms…
Below, we’ve provided an overview of five popular social media channels. We’ll dissect their audiences and discuss what types of industries leverage each platform for marketing purposes.
5 Popular Social Media Channels Being Used by Customers Today
1. Facebook Has the Largest Following
Active users: 2.8 billion
User demographic (age): Ages 13-65+. The majority of users are between the ages of 18 and 34.
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve most likely heard of this social media giant and may enjoy using it every day.
People of varying ages frequent Facebook, so your target audience likely uses the platform. Most businesses have a presence on Facebook regardless of the industry.
The great thing about Facebook is that it allows you to do the following:
- Publish written and video content
- Run ads
- Sell products directly from your Facebook Business page
- Generate business reviews
- and so much more…
Facebook provides a lot of resources for businesses to market their products and services.
The problem is Facebook is so saturated that simply posting content once a day won’t be enough to get your profile into the hands of your target customers.
Facebook’s organic reach is paltry, and the platform encourages businesses to run ads to get some traction. Facebook recommends you run advertising campaigns to extend your reach.
Suppose you are not willing to jump into advertising.
We get it…
Facebook advertising is highly effective, but it’s challenging to master without some coaching and help.
Even so, Facebook can still be an excellent place to expand your online presence and build relationships—most consumers expect businesses to be on Facebook.
Start Facebook groups and use Facebook Messenger chatbots to engage with prospects and potential customers.
Industries on Facebook
Although most businesses can find a home on Facebook, the most popular industries on the platform include the following:
- Computer software
- Media & entertainment
- Consumer goods
- Real estate
- Financial services
(Sources: enlyft, SEJ)
If your industry is not listed above, that doesn’t mean you won’t find success on Facebook. Most businesses have some sort of presence on this platform.
IMPORTANT: We don’t recommend you start a Facebook Page if you do not intend to keep it updated. Outdated social media business profiles tell consumers that you’re not in business or don’t care enough to post regular content.
2. Brand Followers Use Instagram
Active users: 1.3 billion
Acquired by Facebook: 2012
User demographic (age): Ages 13-65+. The majority of users are between the ages of 18 and 34.
Though any business can find a home on Instagram, the platform caters to product-based companies and creatives. It will also work well for any company that can use high-quality visuals to attract customers and clientele. And with 90% of Instagram users following a brand on Instagram, it’s certainly one of the popular social media channels to consider.
On Instagram, you’re likely to find…
- Restaurants and cafes each posting stunning images of their food and their location’s ambiance
- Creative professionals such as painters and photographers posting images of their artwork and photographs
- Retail establishments posting lifestyle and product images to compel followers to join their community and engage with them
Even B2B businesses can flourish on Instagram when posting highly engaging visuals.
Below are two examples of successful businesses on Instagram:
- iFLYluggage posts beautiful product shots, lifestyle images (people using the product), and user-generated content to generate buzz around their products and brand.
- CRM platform HubSpot posts engaging content in the form of helpful tips, inspirational industry quotes, instructional graphics, and humorous videos.
For B2B brands on Instagram, relationship building is critical. The goal is to generate brand awareness via engaging content and build a community of like-minded followers who can potentially become customers.
Instagram offers businesses multiple ways to build brand awareness and attract people to their brands and products.
Instagram Shoppable posts give retailers an incentive to leverage Instagram for marketing purposes. You can link your product information to your Instagram photos, and followers can click to buy the product right from the image.
Also, you can take advantage of the following:
- Instagram ads
- Instagram Stories—content that’s only live for 24 hours
- Instagram Story Highlights—Instagram Stories highlighted on your profile
- IGTV—longer Instagram videos
Another way to leverage Instagram is to partner with Instagram influencers to expose your brand to a larger audience.
Influencer marketing is powerful as authentic social media influencers have passionate community members who trust the influencer’s recommendations—because it comes from a genuine place.
Industries on Instagram
Industries commonly found on Instagram include the following:
- Retail and e-commerce
- Fitness and health
With more than one billion monthly active users, Instagram is one of the most popular social media channels that draw both B2C and B2B businesses.
The key is to use the platform’s strengths—design, visual, and video—to your advantage.
3. Target Any Age with YouTube Video Content
Active users: 2.3 billion
User demographic (age): Ages 15-56+ with large viewership in every age group.
If video content helps your industry disseminate information and attract business, YouTube is the place to be.
With 73% of US adults using YouTube, the platform can be a goldmine for your business if you leverage videos as part of your marketing efforts.
The other advantage to YouTube is that it boasts a large number of viewers from all age groups. The 35-54+ crowd doesn’t frequent a lot of social media platforms except for Facebook and YouTube. So, it’s a good platform for businesses that target a more mature audience.
Businesses use YouTube for…
- Product usage videos
- Product demos
- YouTube advertising
- YouTube Stories
- Contests and giveaways
- Video blogs
- Explainer videos
- Instructional videos
- Marketing videos
- Lifestyle videos
YouTube offers several features to help businesses market their products and increase brand awareness.
With YouTube Studio, you can optimize and measure performance on your YouTube videos, add YouTube cards (annotations), and encourage others to share your videos.
You can also leverage powerful YouTube video ads to increase brand awareness and sales or generate revenue from displaying other ads on your videos.
Industries on YouTube
Virtually every industry across B2B and B2C is represented on YouTube. You can find videos on pretty much anything you want.
If you’re wondering whether your industry can benefit from YouTube marketing, search for other businesses in your industry and review their level of impact.
4. LinkedIn Is the Go-to Platform for B2B
Active users: 756 million
User demographic (age): Ages 15-56+ with the largest user group from 36 to 56+ years old.
LinkedIn is a B2B platform—another popular social media channel that allows businesses to connect with other companies and work professionals. While users leverage LinkedIn as a recruiting tool, it is also popular with companies looking to increase brand awareness and generate leads.
Businesses on LinkedIn use the platform to post professional content around their business and industry. This content includes links to great content, industry news, and lead-generating content such as whitepapers, reports, podcasts, and special events.
Users also launch LinkedIn ads or create LinkedIn groups to communicate with like-minded people and get more eyes on their educational content.
For example, the Women’s Networking Society promotes content via LinkedIn ads to encourage users to apply and join their organization.
Industries on LinkedIn
Any B2B organization can find value on LinkedIn. Here are some of the top represented industries:
- Creative professionals
- Digital marketing
- Financial services
5. Pinterest Is Great for Reaching Shoppers
Active users: 459 million
User demographic (age): Ages 18-64 with an equal distribution of users in each age group.
We wanted to include Pinterest because it can be a goldmine for both B2B and B2C businesses.
The reason is that, unlike Facebook, Pinterest attracts a user base that is in a position to buy. Many users are further along in the buying cycle and flock to Pinterest to look for a specific product.
Also, Pinterest ads are less expensive than Facebook and not as complicated to launch. Plus, the recent iOS privacy updates make Facebook ads harder to measure.
Businesses use Pinterest in several ways. For starters, they publish optimized pins on their profiles and run Pinterest ads to increase product awareness. They also post product pins and other industry-focused imagery to generate brand awareness. Further, they’re able to showcase products directly from their Pinterest profiles by syncing with their e-commerce store.
While many B2B organizations also have a presence on Pinterest, B2Cs in the following industries are plentiful on the platform:
- Home decor
Other Popular Social Media Channels
Although we highlighted five popular platforms in this article, there are many more worth noting. Below is a list of some other popular social media channels to review and see if they are suitable for your business.
- Twitter (B2B primarily)
- TikTok (B2C primarily)
- Snapchat (B2C primarily)
- Reddit (Community)
- Quora (Q&A)
- Telegram (Messaging app)
Popular Social Media Channels: What You Need to Know
In this article, we discussed five of the most popular social media channels that businesses use to increase brand awareness and generate leads and sales.
It’s important to remember that social media is a vehicle primarily used for brand awareness and developing relationships with your target audience. While direct selling is possible, social media’s primary purpose is to connect with your targets if you already have a loyal following. It helps them get better acquainted with who you are and how you can serve them. Relationship building comes first, and sales are an inevitable byproduct.
Want to know how well your business is performing on social media? Request a FREE 20-Point Marketing Audit and Review. Get an evaluation of your social media presence and engagement along with a full website review, including your branding and messaging, critical keyword rankings, and more.