Which social media platforms are best for your business?

Published Decemeber 31, 2019
Author: Elora Griswold, special to Maine Creative

In a sea of social media options, it can be hard to decide which platforms best suit the interests of your business. Promoting your business can be a tricky dance between becoming too focused on some platforms, or becoming too widespread between several platforms (when in reality only one or two are benefitting your brand). At Maine Creative, we spend time with clients going over the pros and cons of promoting on each platform and provide structured advice in how to create a successful social media campaign on each one.

We believe the first step to success is taking the time to understand the playing field. While any business can benefit from social media, the reality is that some businesses are better suited to certain platforms than others. The knowledge you need to make a profitable decision without wasting payroll on promoting platforms that make no sense for your business all comes with understanding the demographics of each option.

Finding this information can be tedious, which is why we’ve taken the liberty of gathering it for you.

Read on to understand the top four social media platforms and whether or not they will benefit your business goals. 

  1. Instagram

Statistics courtesy of Pew Research Center

After the successful launch of Facebook, the rise of Instagram brought on a new era in social media. Unlike the text-heavy format of other exisiting platforms, Instagram introduced a social space that lets images communicate for people and businesses rather than words. Given the average attention span tops out after a few seconds online (check out this Fast Company article for help on ideal caption lengths by platform), it’s not surprising that Instagram is one of the most profitable advertising options for businesses.

Of the 500 million daily users, over 200 million will visit at least one business profile a day. Of those users, around 62% reported that a business profile or promoted post on Instagram led them to make a purchase.

What is Instagram’s audience like?

Businesses that do well on Instagram tend to sell products or services targeted towards younger people, given 67% of Instagram users said they are under the age of 29. Over 42% of users reported to have an income of over $75,000, but the app generally has a wide income spread. Given that 70% of users have completed college or less, and 81% live in suburban or urban settings, a clearer picture of Instagram’s audience can be formed. While any brand can succeed on the app, companies with a younger edge do well–partially because of the popularity of promoting through influencers.

2. Facebook

Statistics courtesy of Pew Research Center

Facebook is perhaps the most famous and storied platform of all, with seemingly constant controversy in the news surrounding Mark Zuckerberg’s advertising regulations. Regardless of this, Facebook is still a viable and often used way for businesses to connect with their client base and promote their brand.

Having launched in 2004, Facebook has since become the third most visited website in the world, with over 1.62 billion active users per day. Over 74% of Americans reported using Facebook in 2018, offering clear incentives for businesses to promote their brand from within the platform.

What is Facebook’s audience like?

With 75% of females and 63% of males reporting to have used Facebook in the past year, the platform offers a balanced (yet female skewed) gender ratio. It also offers widespread age representation, with the highest percentage of users over 65 topping out around 46% reporting to have used the app. Facebook has the highest percentage of rural users, with over 66% of rural residents reporting to have used the app. If you’re looking for an option that offers connections with an older and less centrally located audience, Facebook would be an excellent option to consider.

3. Pinterest

Statistics courtesy of Pew Research Center

While other social platforms are predominantly social networking with advertisements intermingled, Pinterest eliminates the social element and focuses on products, images, and ideas that are often for sale.

Rather than focusing on connections, Pinterest users tend to plan for the future. Users of the platform are twice as likely to say their time was well-spent, given 76% of users reported to use the app for product or project ideas. Given app users are already thinking about improvement and purchasing, Pinterest is an unlikely but strong contender for businesses selling products or services.

What is Pinterest’s audience like? 

Of its 300 million monthly users, 15% of men and 42% of women reported having used the app– offering a female majority audience. Most users are millennial aged (with a slightly older tilt towards mid-twenties), suggesting that companies with a younger edge would do well. Only 18% of users make $30,000 or under, and over 42% make over $75,000– suggesting a wealthier audience on average than other platforms. If your business targets a younger female audience you are likely to do well on this platform.

4. Snapchat

Statistics courtesy of Pew Research Center

When Snapchat launched in 2011, few could anticipate the huge stir it would cause in the world’s younger community. Snapchat seems to have it’s audience hooked, with over 71% of users reporting to check the app up to fifteen times a day. Perhaps because of the app’s element of instant gratification or its unqiue offering of anonymity, Snapchat has quickly surpassed other social media giats, with over 39% in revenue growth during 2018 alone.

What is Snapchat’s audience like? 

While 62% of users aged 18-29 reported having used the app, it is worthwhile mentioning that 67% of high-school students reported the app being their main means of communication with peers. Although only 24% of US adults reported to have used the app in 2018, over 51% of college aged males and 77% of college aged women reported using the app. These statistics suggest that businesses with products of interest to a younger demographic would do well advertising on Snapchat.

For a centralized look at the specific demographics of each social media app, please use the following chart pulled from Pew Hub Research as a tool when choosing which platforms are right for your business goals: 

Need help getting started? Visit our contact page for a free consultation on what steps you need to take to create a successful social media campaign for your business.