Understanding the Different Social Media Platforms: Which One Fits Your Business?

December 21, 2023

Choosing the right social media platform is crucial for businesses to effectively reach and engage their target audience. This blog post provides an in-depth understanding of the different social media platforms available and helps businesses determine which platform aligns best with their unique needs and goals. Utilizing everything from demographics and features to content formats and marketing objectives, you can discover the platform that fits your business like a glove.

The landscape of social media platforms: An overview of the top players

Modern marketers must understand how each social media platform differs from its competitors and find the appropriate channel to reach their intended audience. Here’s an overview of the five most popular platforms today. 

  1. Facebook

Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world, based on reach. Its ad reach constitutes 38.4% of the total number of users on the internet. It also has users from a wide variety of customer segments. While younger internet users spend their time across multiple applications, Facebook is still regularly in the mix due to its ubiquity and longevity. 

Businesses that sell mass market products targeting a mix of customers from different age groups, backgrounds, and financial standings — such as retailers and grocers — should consider advertising on Facebook to connect with a broad audience. Facebook allows advertisers to target customers with more specificity, but the platform’s greatest strength is its massive reach. 

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  1. Instagram

Instagram also has significant ad reach, which has steadily increased over the years and is rapidly catching up with Facebook. However, Instagram users are younger — the vast majority are aged between 18 and 34 — and often conduct more research before pulling the trigger on their purchases. This makes the platform the perfect choice for businesses that want to target customers with that profile.  

Instagram is designed for images and videos first. So, it’s perfect for businesses that create ads with a strong visual element, such as fashion brands, skincare companies, and other lifestyle businesses.  

American Instagram users by age, Image Source
  1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional social networking platform. Users often use this platform to share their professional experiences, offer their expertise, and expand their professional network. Unlike its competitors, interactions on LinkedIn rely on a person’s affiliation with a business or an industry to build relationships with others. 

The nature of the platform has led some companies to erroneously assume that it hosts older users. LinkedIn is actually most popular with users between the ages of 30 and 39. Businesses rely on LinkedIn to connect with professionals in their industry who might be looking for professional growth opportunities. B2B companies and educational institutions often find success on LinkedIn due to its ability to target industry-specific viewers. Businesses that sell big ticket items such as cars, real estate, or investment products can also use LinkedIn to reach out to buyers that have specific job titles or belong to a certain salary range. 

American LinkedIn users by age, Image Source
  1. X (Formerly Twitter)

X, formerly known as Twitter, is extremely popular with journalists, celebrities, and their followers. It has been used as an important tool for disseminating information. However, the platform has experienced major upheaval in recent months following its acquisition by Elon Musk. It has undergone constant changes and there have even been discussions about putting access to the platform behind a paywall. Consequently, X lost almost a third of its ad reach in the first quarter of 2023. 

Despite its reduction in ad reach, businesses targeting a hyper-specific audience such as current affairs and sports journalists that are more active on X can still find success there. However, it’s important to monitor the changes that will affect the platform in the coming months, such as the increasing popularity of Threads, Meta’s direct X competitor.

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  1. TikTok

One social media platform that is rapidly growing in popularity (despite efforts to control its influence in certain geographies) is TikTok. This creative and dynamic platform is perfect for marketers hoping to connect with the younger audience that makes up the majority of its users. With its vast user base, powerful algorithm, and variousadvertising options, TikTok can be an effective marketing tool for businesses seeking to cultivate brand awareness and drive engagement. TikTok is a popular tool used by influencers. This makes it ideal for trend-based businesses such as fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands. 

TikTok has an extremely strong influencer community despite the lack of an obvious monetization strategy for creators. Collaborating with influencers can help marketers gain exposure and credibility. Influencers on TikTok have a significant following and can create and promote branded content in an authentic and engaging way. The platform has also increased its focus on making it easy for businesses to advertise with CRM integrations and advance ad controls. 

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Defining your target audience: Matching social media platforms to your perfect customer

Numerous social media platforms are available for marketers to reach their audience. Most Americans also use multiple social media platforms to serve different purposes. Here’s how marketers can choose which platforms should be used to reach their target audience most effectively.

Utilize social media demographics reports

Several resources such as the annual Digital Report from We Are Social and Sprout Social’s regular updates provide up-to-date social media demographics data. These reports can provide insights into the demographics of users on different platforms, allowing you to align your customer demographics with the appropriate social media platforms.

Compare customer demographics with platform demographics

Look for alignment between your target audience and the user base of various platforms by comparing your customers’ demographic data. For example, if your target audience consists of younger adults, TikTok and Instagram may be the most suitable platforms. If you’re targeting professionals, LinkedIn might be a better choice.

Test and monitor platforms

Once you’ve identified the platforms that align with your customer demographics, create a presence on those platforms and monitor their performance. Track engagement metrics, follower growth, and conversions to evaluate the effectiveness of each platform in reaching your target audience.

Features, content formats, and marketing objectives: Finding the perfect fit

Once marketers understand where their audience spends the most time, they must define their strategies to make the most of every ad dollar. These tips can help marketers produce consistently positive results on their platform of choice:

Analyze competitor strategies

Analyze your competitors’ content strategies to identify trends, successful formats, and gaps in the market. This analysis can help you differentiate your content and find unique angles to attract and engage your audience. Tools such as Meta Ad Library allow marketers to see which issues and topics are getting the most traction across Meta-owned platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Threads. 

Leverage data analytics

Use data analytics tools to track and measure the performance of your content across different formats and features. Monitor key metrics like engagement rates, click-through rates, conversions, and customer feedback to identify what’s working and what needs improvement.

Experiment with content formats

Don't be afraid to experiment with different content formats. Try:

  • Written articles
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Interactive content
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • User-generated content

See what performs best for your marketing objectives and audience preferences.

Personalize content delivery

Tailor your content delivery based on audience preferences and behavior. Use marketing automation tools to segment your audience and deliver personalized content experiences that speak directly to their needs and interests. For example, LinkedIn users might be looking for information-dense content while TikTok users crave more engaging and entertaining content to hold their attention. 

Monitor industry trends

Stay informed about emerging trends and technologies in the digital marketing landscape. Adopt new content formats and features that align with your objectives and show potential to engage and captivate your audience.

Continuously optimize

Regularly analyze and optimize your content strategy based on data insights, customer feedback, and performance metrics. Keep experimenting, learning, and adapting based on the changing needs and preferences of your audience.

Seek feedback

Actively seek feedback from your audience through surveys, comments, or social media interactions. This direct feedback will provide valuable insights into audience preferences and help you align your content formats and features with their expectations.

How MarinOne can help your business optimize marketing efforts across different social media platforms

MarinOne offers a comprehensive solution for managing and optimizing advertising campaigns across various channels, including social media. MarinOne helps businesses optimize their marketing efforts with these methods:

Unified platform: MarinOne provides a unified platform where businesses can manage all their advertising campaigns across different social media platforms in one place. This helps streamline campaign management, allowing businesses to save time and effort by accessing all their campaigns and metrics on a single interface.

Data-driven insights: MarinOne provides businesses with detailed analytics and reporting tools to gain insights into campaign performance across different social media platforms. These insights help businesses understand which strategies and tactics are most effective, enabling them to make data-driven decisions and optimize their marketing efforts accordingly.

Automated optimization: MarinOne offers automated optimization features that allow businesses to set specific goals and parameters for their campaigns. The platform continuously monitors campaign performance and automatically adjusts bidding, targeting, and creative elements to achieve the desired outcomes. This helps businesses maximize their marketing ROI and achieve better results across different social media platforms.

To get started today, schedule a live, personal demo.

Lauren Neels

Marin Software
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