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Social Media Platforms: A Look at the Key Differences

By 2021, it’s estimated that roughly 3.1 billion people will be on social media. For context, that’s about the same number of people as the population of China, India and the U.S. combined. With the wide reach that social media offers and an ever-expanding audience available, how do you know which platform(s) is the best fit for your brand?

To know what social media platforms will be most beneficial to your brand, first start with defining your target audience. Below are the average audiences for the top three social platforms of 2019. 

#1 Facebook

Worldwide age and gender distribution as of October 2019

#2 Instagram

Worldwide age and gender distribution as of October 2019

#3 Twitter

Worldwide user age distribution as of October 2019 

Twitter – If people are talking about something, there’s a good chance they probably read it on Twitter first. As an incredibly diverse platform with an audience ranging from politicians to athletes and celebrities, Twitter prides itself on featuring thought leaders. If your company has a point of view worth sharing and can concisely relay it to Twitter’s hundreds of million users, tweet away. Keep in mind, the most app-friendly posts are text blurbs with a 280 character limit.

Facebook (currently rebranding to FACEBOOK) – This platform’s posting styles range from text to images, videos, status updates and live streaming. It’s also the most widely used social media platform globally, with upwards of 2 billion users. There are a number of ways your company can benefit from having an active Facebook account, one notable option is Facebook Ads. Facebook also offers Insights so companies can easily track audience engagement and post performance. 

Instagram – Today, Instagram is the fastest-growing social media platform, largely focusing on visually appealing posts and content. Founded on the idea of posting photos (caption optional), your company can succeed on Instagram if you’re able to consistently produce appealing and engaging content. Another huge benefit of being on this platform is the fact that users can discover and promote your business through tags of your company on other posts or comments. Other posting styles on the platform include images, stories (brief content available for 24 hours through your profile icon), IG TV, and videos up to a minute long.

Related Content: How to Measure The Return on your Instagram Investment

YouTube – Although one of the top social media platforms used globally, Youtube is commonly used as a search engine and is the second largest under Google. If your company specializes in video marketing, this platform could showcase your work beautifully. In addition to growing a social network following and gaining exposure, having your company featured on YouTube boosts overall SEO. If managing a YouTube account and posting video content isn’t your thing, there are other ways to be visible on this platform. Creating brand partnerships with YouTubers that emulate your target audience can be a great way to gain exposure. Brand partnerships are mutually beneficial, YouTubers get paid for sponsored content and brands gain valuable exposure to their audience. For more brand partnership information, see YouTube’s course on brand deals

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TikTok -Trending across social media platforms are short videos, and TikTok is quickly gaining traction as the go-to social media platform for short videos. In 2018, TikTok was the most downloaded iOS app with top campaigns featuring fun and silly videos such as dance challenges. The 15-second videos are incredibly popular with Gen Z-Y (16-24- year-olds), so if this is your company’s target audience, it is highly recommended that your company assess the platform. In order to achieve success with TikTokers, ensure that your plan includes creative and engaging videos or challenges that are geared for Gen Z-Y audiences.

Branching out to various social media platforms can benefit your company in a multitude of ways. While your company experiments with social media platforms, it is also important to create a comprehensive strategy for each and measure the ROI. Since transparency is becoming increasingly important to consumers, exploring different platforms allow them to search for and familiarize themselves with your brand, while also opening up another line of communication between your brand and your target audience. Social media listening helps you monitor your brand’s social media channels for any customer feedback and direct mentions of your brand, allowing you to stay current on what consumers are saying and respond accordingly. Regardless of what social media platforms are applicable to your brand, remember to post consistently and keep in touch with your target audience to maintain brand relevance. 

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