Each passing year, new social media platforms emerge to captivate the masses. Businesses looking to expand their reach through leveraging social content may be unaware of which network is best to reach their target audience.
It’s becoming clear that each social media platform is unique and has its respective strengths. As we’re moving through the first quarter of 2021, it’s worth knowing which platforms for social content are on the rise and which ones will continue to be relevant in the coming months and (probably) years. Here are some social media platforms that we think you should be aware of.
With only two years under its belt, TikTok is one of the youngest social media platforms on this list. Despite its young age, it received over 1 billion downloads during its first year of operation alone. TikTok currently boasts upwards of 800 million users and shows no signs of slowing down.
TikTok is a short-form video app where users have up to 60 seconds to create a video on a topic of their choice. It rose to fame with lip-sync videos and dance challenges. But we’ve seen an uptick in the variety of content in the past year. Just to name a few: chiropractors, doctors, artists, producers, and photographers are all using TikTok to share valuable information with their followers.
@goneon.luYou’ve probably seen this ##Instagram design hack on hundreds of iPhones, but never on ##Android 😎 TBH it’s way too complicated 😅 ##LearnOnTiktok ##fyp♬ Like the Sunshine – Ours Samplus
TikTok and its new partners
TikTok has also recently started to step up its ‘social commerce’ game. The social media company announced partnerships with the likes of Walmart and Shopify to enable users to shop products they see and like inside the app. Moreover, TikTok is making an interesting move in adding more sports content to the platform. They recently signed an agreement with the UFC to increase exclusive coverage of the mixed martial arts sport on the app.
If all of these points are not enough to convince you to start posting content on TikTok yet, then make sure to check out the blog post we shared about the platform in the past, highlighting why you should care about TikTok.
In our eyes, TikTok is the most important social media platform of the future. The way we consume video content has changed due to the app. The new ‘short-form video’ era it has started is here to stay and every other platform will build upon it (e.g. Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, etc.).
With its 2 billion monthly users, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, second only to its parent company Google. A staggering 73% of adults in the U.S are using YouTube. It’s also worth mentioning that a large portion of those fall in the age range of 13-34 years. It’s also one of the oldest social networks, and it’s more alive today than ever before.
People spend hours on YouTube looking up how-to videos, tutorials, advertisements, video games, music videos, and more. Viewers typically turn to YouTube for long-form education or entertainment, and this is where businesses can make the most out of their videos. For a business with physical products, unboxing videos or honest product reviews can go a long way to increase its reach.
A platform where content lives forever
What’s astonishing is to grasp the fact that YouTube has actually built its own creator universe. Over the years, Youtube was providing thousands of people the chance to make an additional income via the platform. Or even turning their content production into a full-time profession. Fun fact in this regard: The highest-grossing YouTuber is 9-year-old Ryan Kaji (and his family). Having started only with videos reviewing toys, the unique creator business today employs dozens of people who help produce ‘Ryan’s World’-branded content, products, and more.
After all, YouTube offers plenty of opportunities to build reach and get attention from your target audience from a ‘marketing funnel’ perspective and build a business just from creating content on the platform itself. What differentiates Youtube from the majority of other social media platforms is the longevity of the video content. Even years or decades after being published, your content can still go viral and will generate clicks rather consistently. Not to forget: It has also a positive impact on SEO. For almost all other platforms, the truth is: either get many clicks fast or be forgotten forever.
Founded in 2006 in San Francisco, Twitter changed the way people connected online. According to their website, Twitter works to “serve the public conversation.” As of 2019, this social media giant had over 330 million active users on the platform every month.
Businesses heavily involved in politics, entertainment, and the sports world stand to gain a sizeable following by being active on Twitter. The instant reach Twitter provides allows companies to up their level of engagement with fans and followers. It also lets companies have a chance to craft and hone their online voice. Think of Twitter as a giant, virtual town hall where basically everybody can express their opinion, and you can either simply listen in to other people’s thoughts or actively engage with them.
The platform is highly ‘personalized,’ meaning that usually, users connect with others with their personal profiles instead of their company’s ones. If you’re running a business, you should definitely have a dedicated company profile – but the true value of Twitter lies in the possibility to engage with people, even high-level or widely known ones (especially thinking of ‘Tech Twitter‘ here), on a more personal level. It is almost like being on a public stage together with them.
How you can leverage Twitter when being a startup founder. (Source: “How To Use Twitter, Volume 1: Fundamentals”)
Tweets are so much more today
The amount of useful information shared is quite unique in many ways. You can establish credibility and build your personal brand through ‘thought leadership’ (sharing inspiring thoughts, starting conversations, and providing useful insights). If the character limit of 280 is not enough for you to express yourself, then you can leverage the increasingly popular option of starting a ‘thread.’ By adding several Tweets in a coherent string of text, you can expand on a topic in a ‘micro-blogging’ type of way. These Twitter ‘threads’ make it possible for users to jump in and out of conversations at any stage. They can share photos, gifs, videos, or text responses to participate in the on-going discussions.
Feeling the heat of the success of other platforms like Instagram, Clubhouse, and Substack, Twitter recently announced some major updates and acquisitions. Among others, the platform added its own ‘Stories’ feature (aka ‘Fleets’), an own ‘social audio’ functionality called ‘Spaces’ as well as the possibility to write and earn money from editorial newsletters. Overall, all these new social content features (for creators and companies alike) emphasize that Twitter still has ambitious plans for the future and is not yet obsolete.
Of course, Twitter doesn’t only have its upsides. Infamously known for negative messages and the spread of misinformation by leading politicians, the platform bears a lot of societal responsibility. But so do others as well. If you take these dimensions out of the equation though and only focus on the potential the platform can have for your business, it is basically an obligation for you to be present on it.
Facebook is often called ‘the grandfather of social media’. Its method of connecting people was light years ahead of its time when it was founded in 2004. Over 15 years later, it’s still one of the most powerful social networks available. With over 2.7 billion users, the network has more users than India and China’s populations combined.
With all the changes happening in the technology world, Facebook has also rolled out new features to keep up. For many people, having a Facebook account is a necessity to being online. Dozens of websites now allow you to connect your FB account to access a plethora of online services.
The original intent of Facebook was to check out students from other campuses and meet new people. However, today Facebook is so much more. Facebook groups, games, events, and more recently, an e-commerce option allows users to shop, interact and sell items from the comfort of your Facebook dashboard.
FB gets older, so does the audience
Although users of all ages access Facebook, recent trends have shown that seniors are the fastest-growing group on the site. In fact, among Americans 65 and older, over 46% of them are on Facebook (!) – with this in mind, businesses looking to market to an older demographic will likely find success through the use of Facebook ads.
In fact, Facebook’s advertising options make it almost an indispensable platform to be present on for businesses of all kinds. Especially if you’re active in the B2C sphere, you will be able to target users with a laser-sharp focus based on interests, demographic factors, etc. Facebook has gathered so much data on its billions of users – it’s your opportunity to grab their attention by paying Mark Zuckerberg’s main social platform to let you in on its ‘chamber of treasures.’
When speaking of Mark Z.’s social media empire, Instagram is up next in line. With 1 billion monthly users, it has been the home of influencers, celebrities, friends, and family for over a decade. Some people in the tech world actually argue that it might have been the steal of the century when Facebook acquired IG in 2012 for $1bn (the company only had 13 employees but already 50m users back then).
Instagram is currently one of the most popular social media platforms for users under the age of 40. It’s especially popular among young adults and teens.
Source: “Instagram Demographics in 2021: Important User Stats for Marketers” by Hootsuite
The picture and influencer heaven
Instagram is heavily photo-based, so the best way to share content is to promote visually stunning photographs and other graphic social content that catches your viewer’s eye. Although they’ve stuck to their photo-sharing roots, Instagram has taken note of its competition and has rolled out new features in the past few years. These include IG Stories, Reels (resembling TikTok), IGTV, and live streaming. It’s become prevalent for those running e-commerce, jewelry, or photography businesses – offering integrated shopping options. One of its more recent and still underrated features is “Guides.” In fact, in our first blog post of 2021, we explained how to use this neat social content feature for various purposes.
Instagram’s advertising options are basically identical to the ones of Facebook (as briefly outlined in the paragraph above). If you have a budget for paid marketing, then IG is surely one of the best platforms to ‘acquire’ users’ attention. Just FYI – 9 out of 10 people active on Instagram follow a business account.
Some may feel that Snapchat has been surpassed by social media giants like Instagram or Tik Tok. However, Snapchat still holds strong with its base of loyal followers. It’s one of the most heavily used apps in the under 25 demographic, with over 300 million users every month.
Snapchat began as a fun way to communicate using disappearing messages and photos. As time passed, more engaging short-form video content became available on the app. Popular brands began creating their own Snapchat profiles to reach a younger audience. Known for its “selfie-style” filming, viewers feel that they’re getting a peek of what happens behind-the-scenes. Snapchat is a key platform for businesses looking to create short video content to get in touch with a younger demographic. With over 78% of its users between the ages of 18 and 24, brands looking to connect to a younger audience should utilize it to form connections.
Just like all the aforementioned platforms, Snapchat has also announced new features in recent months. Most notably, ‘Spotlight’ has been added to the app. The feature is basically a copy of what makes TikTok so popular – short-form videos with high potential for going viral. In combination with the new feature, Snap Inc. is planning to pay out lots of financial incentives for creators that manage to create the most beloved content that (ideally) engages a large audience.
After all, there are some dollars to be made on Snapchat for creators and businesses that target their audience on the platform.
Known as the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn is committed to creating economic opportunities. With almost 740 million members in over 200 countries worldwide, there is no doubt that LinkedIn has changed the global workforce forever.
Created in 2003, LinkedIn was designed to help professionals enhance their careers, build their brand, or find talents for their company. It is less social than other social media platforms, with a refreshing lesser (yet increasing) amount of personal posts. Instead, professionals utilize LinkedIn to make purchase decisions or validate the professionalism of companies they wish to join.
With over 87 million registered members in the millennial demographic group alone, it’s clear that LinkedIn has attracted a variety of users looking to find professional networking opportunities. Considering that Millennials are the biggest portion of the active workforce, the importance of the platform becomes even more obvious.
Businesses will find that LinkedIn can be used as a keystone platform in their marketing strategy. It allows them to easily network with various groups, generations, and prospective partners. Recruiters can use LinkedIn profiles to vet candidates and find talent to build professional quality content. Moreover, LinkedIn offers lots of advertising options. The world’s leading professional social content network lately also announced a major update: Its own freelance/gig work marketplace.
If you want to dive deeper into using LinkedIn for your online marketing, check out the comprehensive guide that we published on our blog last year.
Often underestimated in the context of social media platforms, Pinterest actually has over 322 million monthly users. Although the user base is predominantly female, don’t be fooled: over 40% of new Pinterest signups are men. Although Pinterest is categorized as a social media site, the company doesn’t see itself that way. Instead, Pinterest defines itself as a “visual discovery engine” where users can find “ideas to spark inspiration.”
Since Pinterest is a visual search engine, securing high levels of engagement takes two parts. Users need to post eye-catching visuals with relevant keywords on boards and pin titles. Pins are easier to find when they have relevant information attached to them. When compared to Instagram or Facebook, posts shared on Pinterest actually have a much longer shelf life.
The nature of the app lends itself to older content. People come to Pinterest to browse and search, meaning that your two-month-old pin may still be what ‘Sally from Wisconsin’ is looking for today.
Interestingly enough, 97% of the searches made on Pinterest are unbranded. This gives smaller e-commerce businesses a fighting chance to get their products out in front of millions of eyes. With the right keywords and scroll-stopping pictures, anyone can have success selling products on Pinterest.
On top of that, the platform has recently announced to be testing features aimed at creators and online instructors alike, e.g., bringing online events with dedicated ‘class communities’ to Pinterest.
Conventional media like television or newspaper has already been replaced by modern social content platforms. Teenagers and young adults continuously look for innovative outlets to get their information and entertainment. One big name in this segment is often overlooked, regardless of its massive potential for both the entertainment and marketing world: Twitch. A social media platform, which actually manages to combine all the known media into one platform.
Twitch is a streaming platform that hosts millions of streamers and allows them to connect with their audience for free. At this point, the number of unique daily viewers is about 15 million, with the number of monthly users standing at 140 million.
With an internet connection and a little bit of software and hardware, you can reach people from all over the world. Viewers love live streams, as they provide them with the chance to interact with other users and the hosts themselves. This small and simple fact makes all the difference. Suddenly, you are no longer consuming video content in a passive form (like on your regular television). But interacting and maybe even controlling the broadcasted content.
Whether you are looking to advertise traditionally or want to be creative and find new ways to increase your reach, Twitch might be the one platform that fulfills your needs. It is not too late to start your own channel or support existing channels and make a name in this industry. Find out more in our guide on how to leverage Twitch as a marketing platform.
Average concurrent viewers on Twitch (Source: Business of Apps)
With a monthly active user count of 430 million, Reddit is a discussion-based platform in which people come together to share their thoughts. These discussions happen in forums known as subreddits. As far as demographics go, Reddit is especially popular for users in the age range of 24 to 29.
While much of Reddit‘s content is in text form, the recent acquisition of Dubsmash helps the platform to move towards video content. Some users may punctuate their link-driven thoughts with gifs or photos, but the vast majority of the site content is text-heavy.
Whenever someone uploads a new piece of content, this content is open to upvotes and downvotes. Upvotes allow subreddits to rise to the top, while downvotes result in them becoming less noticeable. The most popular content is questions that spark conversation and thoughtful responses.
Reddit is a culture, not a platform
Businesses looking to market on Reddit must first understand the culture of the platform. If you take too many liberties, you could end up banned from Reddit, ruining your chances to attract new users. One of the best ways to market on Reddit is to start a conversation. If you promote viral content relevant to your brand and other Reddit users, you’ll find that users will start interacting naturally. Discussing relatable and trending topics encourages people to engage in your subreddit.
How powerful Reddit and its virtual community can be was on display just a few weeks ago. In case you missed the stock market frenzy around GameStop, you should definitely make sure to read up on it to fully understand how social content is changing the way we live, work, consume – and even invest. For some, a platform is just a platform, but for others, those platforms are their tribe, their family that they feel responsible for.
On that note: Venture capital investors also like Reddit’s influence and potential. The social media platform just raised $367 million to fuel its further development and growth.
If you’re living in the US or Europe, the chances are high that you’ve come across the Internet’s latest hype: Clubhouse. After its initial success in the Silicon Valley in the spring and summer of 2020, the app has gained lots of ground with an almost unprecedented spike in downloads and active users in several European countries within just a few weeks since mid-January.
So what is Clubhouse actually? It is a new audio-first social app that makes it easy to talk to other people. The way it works is quite simple. Users open or join so-called ‘Rooms’ where all that is happening is a type of audio-only panel discussion. The topics discussed are up to the “Moderators” (think ‘hosts’) of the rooms. To put it even simpler: People talk about interesting stuff, while others listen to that for as long as they want. The real hype is around the rooms that are open to all users. Where celebrities or influencers of all kinds share their views and wisdom.
It looks like ‘Social Audio’ is here to stay. When analyzing the landscape of digital content formats, the type of audio content and engagement possibilities that Clubhouse provides is actually the missing piece in the universal content mix. It sort of seems like podcasting is having its ‘TikTok moment.’
The app is fun, but it surely is not for everyone, literally because of its current ‘invite-only for iPhone users’ strategy and its special product offering that might not interest as many people as one would think. We will have to wait and see if the current hype continues once the COVID-19 pandemic is finally over. And until the wider public can access it.
If it does, the opportunity for creators and companies to tap into another vast ‘pool of attention’ is definitely real. In fact, just a few weeks ago, Clubhouse announced a new round of funding (at a company valuation of at least $1bn), intending to develop the platform into a serious creator-first alternative to many existing social media platforms.
If you want to learn more about Clubhouse and where this fresh hype is coming from all of a sudden, look no further than at our last blog post.
If you’re looking to expand your marketing reach, utilizing social media is one of the best ways to accomplish this. By taking full advantage of creating and sharing social content, you can successfully expand your engagement and interact with more potential customers.
Surprisingly, there is evidence of a trend towards audio-based formats such as Clubhouse, Discord, and even podcasting platforms. For the past years, video content was the only true future of social media. But the last months have proven again that things are changing quickly. Only because something was true yesterday, it doesn’t necessarily have to be still true tomorrow. There are also some new ‘hidden champions’ coming up like Yubo, which is especially popular among Gen Z in Europe (40m+ users), or Silicon Valley’s latest hot social app Dispo (founded by YouTube personality David Dobrik).
In case you want to stay on top of the SM game, you have to be aware of upcoming trends and major changes. Otherwise, you might be focusing on the wrong formats and audiences for too long.