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Choosing the right social media platform for your brand

When it comes to selecting the social media platforms you’ll use for your business, it’s valuable to begin with those that are best suited to the audience you want to reach.

We’ve banged on about how a brand can’t be everything to everyone – rather than be on every social media platform but only post occasionally, choose selected platforms according to the target audience they best reach, and invest in quality posts.

How do you decide which social media platforms are best for your brand? Here’s a rundown of the key social media platforms and the audiences they best suit.

Facebook

Facebook holds the lion’s share of active users on any social media platform, with approximately 1.28 billion people logging on each day, according to official Facebook statistics (as at March 2017).

Facebook is skewed more towards a male user base, with 56% of users declared as male and 44% as female, and 18-24 year olds making up the largest age group of active users.

While it’s free to set up a Facebook page for your business, to establish cut-through you’ll need to pay to boost or sponsor posts so that they reach your target audience. The upshot of this is that you can target very specific audiences through Facebook advertising, from gender to location, age and interests.

Even though Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform, consider that it is a competitive space and may be more challenging for your brand to cut through the noise.

Twitter

As a social media platform, Twitter has far less users than Facebook (313 million active users as of June 2016), but it attracts a younger, more intelligent and tech-savvy crowd, with a higher income bracket.

If your product or service is information-based, such as a blog, multimedia or news site, you should definitely be on Twitter.

Although, be aware that Twitter is all about timeliness – you’ll lose credibility if you’re posting news long after it has broken, and a day is a long time in the Twittersphere.

Instagram

As a photography and short video platform, Instagram is great if your product or service is visual and aspirational. With 700 million users, as at April 2017, Instagram is a rapidly growing social media platform.

According to Sprout Social, Instagram has a higher female user base, with 38% being women and 26% being men.

The platform attracts a young, wealthy and urban demographic – 18 to 29 year olds make up the platform’s largest age demographic.

If your target market is predominantly a young, urban female, your brand will be well suited to Instagram.

LinkedIn

Known as the largest social media platform for professionals (500 million registered users), LinkedIn has more male users than female.

Sprout Social cites that the platform’s two largest age demographic groups are 18 – 29 year olds (34%) and 30 – 49 year olds (33%). Almost half (45%) of the platform’s users earn an income of $75,000 or more.

While LinkedIn’s user demographic has traditionally leaned more towards an older age group, the platform is interestingly attracting a younger audience. LinkedIn reports that more than 40 million students and recent college graduates are on the platform, and is the fastest-growing demographic. That’s something to consider when thinking about the audience you want to target.

Pinterest

Described as a “catalogue of ideas”, Pinterest allows users to find, save or ‘pin’ images and other media to boards. It’s great for creating visual storyboards and popular categories include fashion, food and homewares.

Almost half (45%) of Pinterest’s users are female, according to data from the Pew social media report. The biggest age group using the platform is aged 18 – 29, followed closely by those in the 30 – 49 age range.

If your brand is highly visual and you’d like to target a predominantly female audience that lives in urban and suburban areas, then Pinterest may be a good fit for your brand.

YouTube

Video sharing platform YouTube attracts 1.3 billion users and is the third most visited website in the world.

While there’s a common perception that the average user is a young, single male, a 2016 Neilsen report shows that 50% of YouTube’s audience is female and users are more likely to have a college degree compared to the general population.

This 2017 FortuneLords report shows the two biggest age demographics that use YouTube are in the 35 – 44 age bracket (26%) and the 25 – 34 age bracket (23%).

By contrast, this AdWeek report states that 95% of Generation Z (those born roughly between 1996 and 2010, and currently up to the age of 21) uses YouTube and “can’t live without out”. These digital natives also use YouTube as their primary social media channel to source how-to information, news and shopping recommendations.

YouTube offers a valuable platform for video case studies, interviews, and product or service overviews.

Snapchat

This image and multimedia messaging platform allows users to interact instantaneously through the mobile application. The platform has 150 million global users, with four million active daily users in Australia.

According to this AdNews article, data shows that the largest Australian audience on Snapchat is aged 18 – 24 (31%), followed by 25 – 34 year olds (28%), 13 – 17 year olds (23%) and 35+ (18%).

If you want to reach a young and tech-savvy audience, Snapchat may be a suitable social media platform for your brand.

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