In this blog post we are going to delve into a raw data, statistics and various mediums which can be utilised in your decision making processes to ensure that you have the best chance at selecting the platforms that are right for you and your business.
The first and most obvious statistics to look at are the sheer numbers of users across each of the major platforms and according to Digital Insights and rather unsurprisingly, Facebook is the clear winner when it comes to user-base size:
- Facebook: 1.28 billion
- Google+: 540 million
- Twitter: 255 million
- Instagram: 200 million
- LinkedIn: 187 million
- Pinterest: 40 million
In second place is Google+ which may come to a shock to some people, especially those who are just beginning their social media journey. Google+ is fantastic for business purposes due to the natural gravitas of the platform for business usage, it is the most business orientated social media platform alongside linked-in. Also do not forget that Google is the KING and ultimate goal when it comes to search engine optimisation so being active on Google+ will send massive trust signals to Google and inevitably boost your search engine results positions (SERPS). So if SEO is also in your long-term game plan then you absolutely should be including Google+ in your platform selection.
Now, although Facebook is currently the biggest platform by far there are some interesting metrics published by GlobalWebIndex that show that Facebook's active usage is actually declining and the most active platform at the moment is Instagram:
So I should join the social media platform with the biggest user base, right?
Whilst it may seem very obvious and tempted to join the biggest and most active platforms it is still possible that those particular platforms are not concurrent with your business type, objectives, capability and budget. There are several factors that must be taken into account in order to make an informed decision such as:
- Who is your target demographic?
- How are you going to engage with your audience?
- How fierce is the competition on each platform?
- Is your industry already represented on the platform?
These are just a few of the relevant questions that you must ask yourself and answer in order to make the best possible decision for your business. A larger user base does not mean that you will be able to gain more customers, these users could be a completely different demographic to your desired target audience. User-base size alone is not an accurate or credible metric on the quality of a social media platform, for example Twitter has around 215 million more users than Pinterest, but according to TechCrunch, Pinterest is much more popular than Twitter and thus it's users are more engaged.
Which social media platforms can people simply not live without?
In an survey performed by UTA Brand Studio it measured results from over 2,000 American adults asking which social media platforms they use everyday and simply could not live without and the results were very, very interesting:
These results conclude that with the exception of Facebook, the platforms with the biggest user base are the ones who have the lowest engagement. This is conclusive evidence that your decision should be based on much more than user-base size alone.
It is also interesting to see what is considered as one of the most popular platforms, Twitter, sitting at joint 10th position with Google+. Judging by the active industry of buying twitter followers it is incredibly surprising to see Twitter so low down on the active user leaderboard, even being out-ranked by lesser known platforms such as Foursquare and Tumblr.
The survey also drilled down deeper into the demographics of each platform based on gender, age and household income. If you were looking for a way to figure out which platform is best for you based on your target demographics then these are the statistics that you should be using to make that decision.
What content is most common on each of the platforms?
Another critical element to your decision making process should be your content strategy, are you going to be using mostly blog posts, videos or images? What is your niche and primary business objective? In order to make this decision much easier for all invloved, Jayson DeMers has kindly pigeon-holed each major platform into their most common content types and niche specific areas.
- All content and niches: Twitter and Facebook
- Image content: Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr
- Video content: YouTube, Vimeo, Vine
- Business orientated: LinkedIn
- SEO & business: Google+
- Local: Foursquare, Yelp
- Niche specific: reddit
There are four very important questions that you must ask yourself before selecting a platform, these are:
- Is my content compatible?
- Does my target demographic exist on the platform?
- Does it make sense for my business?
- Do I have the resources to effectively run a campaign? (Time, Manpower)
Stick to these simple rules when it comes making your decision and you will not go far wrong when it comes to starting, running and maintaining your social media campaign. Furthermore you must set clear and achievable objectives in the early stages of each campaign to ensure that your returns on invested time and effort can be measured effectively. It is critical that you recognise when a campaign is simply not worth the effort that is being expended and either adjust your strategy on the particular platform or move onto another platform altogether.
To conlcude this post, take a look at this incredibly informative video from GraVocinc which perfectly rounds off this post by compacting all of the information written here into one swanky 5-minute video.
I hope that you liked this guide and that it has produced some food for thought, enabling you to make better informed decisions regarding your social media platform selection.
Cheers guys and girls