6 Social Media Platforms: How To Decide Where You Need to Be

Six Social media platforms every entrepreneur needs to know // social media platforms cheat sheet // social media comparisons // social media platform business // social media platform strategy // socialmedia marketing strategy // social media platform tips

6 Social Media Platforms: How To Decide Where You Need to Be

Social media icons are everywhere visible. Logos associated with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In, Google Plus, YouTube and a handful of others pop up in immediate visibility just about everywhere we go.

In the early 90s, at the infancy of the Internet, website addresses were plastered everywhere to indicate that your business had an online presence. These days, social icons are the thing. We can no longer deny the fact that social media is a viable vehicle to communication and community. 

Pew research conducted a social media update in November 2016 and found that engagement and usage on Facebook continues to be at least 2Xs higher than any other social platform, with 79% of all Americans signed up.  Of the almost 80% figure, 68% comprises of adult Americans who check their platform daily.

These numbers are evidence that social media is not merely a viable vehicle for modern living, it is here to stay!  Social media is a beyond a means to communicate - it has become a part of our culture.  Now, more than ever, communicating through platforms are a norm for connectivity, even over the traditional use of telephone.

Social media usage has become the norm in modern day society. 

“Resistance is futile,” quoted from The Borg in the popular sci-fi series, Star Trek. 

We either join the program and become part of modern society, learn how to use these channels properly, or we simply disconnect altogether. 

Having said this, once we get over our resistance to join the bandwagon, there is great news. 

For many of us, learning about social media is a deep dive into a new platform and new way of being, regardless of your age, or generation, you can participate too!  The evidence shows that over 60% of online users over 65 use Facebook.  So for those of us who are 64 and younger, we’ve got no excuse but to get with the program.

We either join the program and become part of modern society, learn how to use these channels properly, or we simply disconnect altogether. 
— Evelyn Foreman, Path of Presence

Social media can be compared to traveling in some ways.  Think of it this way:  Traveling is exciting!

You get to visit foreign lands, experience a different culture, learn a different language, and visit with the people of the land. For those who are travelers, the idea of getting to their destination and exploring what life has to offer in the new location outweighs the idea of travel inconveniences - missed flights, long hours, airport food.  The excitement of being on adventure while traveling is part of the experience, right?

People who love to travel have a different way of being than those who do not love travel.

Non-travelers cringe at the thought of missed connections and lost luggage.  They may even bring at the through of flying.

Social media compares to travel in that each platform is a foreign land with its own culture, way of being, interaction, and even its own language.  If we can shift our perspective for one moment to the excitement of travel, we may see social media in a new light. Rather than needing to wrangle and master social media, we can flow and learn, and experience each channel with the ease and grace and excitement of traveling to a foreign land.

And all of a sudden what we've been denying ourselves, the acknowledgment of social media, that we kept ourselves in the darkness about for so long, can now come to light.  Even with social media, we can step out of the unknown and into the light so that we can embrace it for what it is, and integrated as part of our life… and stop fighting it.

So if we could have some fun, we can think of each social media platform as a different country. In fact, just like a foreign land, each platform (I use this word interchangeably with channel) operates differently, with different demographics and norms. 

There are countless platforms to choose from.  This article focuses on 6:  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linked In and Google Plus.  My aim is to provide you with broad stroke important statistics so you have , in your mind’s eye, the lay of the land. This information will help you get clear on where you need to be to find your people.

First things first. In order to decide which social media platform to focus on for your business, program or service, you’ll need to know exactly who your audience is.  Knowing your idea client, and therefore, who you are speaking to, will help you focus and attain better results in your social media campaigns.

If we were traveling, I would ask you what kind of people you want to meet.  

In social media, the question is: Who are my people? With whom do I want to be in community?

If we were traveling, I would ask you “Which country do we want to visit?”

In social media, the question is:  “On which platform are my people most likely to show up?”

Daily Use on Facebook and Instagram - Chart

As of January 2017, there are 2.8 active social media users world wide, with an increase of 22% since 2016.  They are not all on the same platforms, so where are your peeps?

Which social media platform(s) are your people most like to show up? If you have a clear idea of who your ideal client is, the following statistics and information from Pew Research would be all the more meaningful for you.

I'll share with you my findings but please know that specific data charts graphs and further information can also be found at pathofpresence.com/blog.

The hard numbers are as follows: 68% of all adults in the us who are online are Facebook users, while only 28% use Instagram, 26% use Pinterest, 25% is on Linked In and 21% use Twitter. These numbers are derived by pew research from a report dated November 11, 2016.

Having just this information is eye-opening because you are now aware, if you did not already know, that the majority of adults are on Facebook while all the other social channels are merely a small percentage of the giant platform that is Facebook. These numbers indicate that 8 in 10 online Americans now use Facebook and this has increased by 7% points since the social media survey conducted a year prior (2015).  As of this post, the numbers may have risen by another 7%, if not more!


Facebook Platform Statistics and User size

Facebook has about 1.5 billion worldwide users, and 70% of the US population is on Facebook. It is the most evenly distributed demographics of any platform.  Most people use Facebook to connect with friends, as a means of social communication.  There are 1.9 billion unique monthly users, ages 18 - 49.

Business wise, Facebook is the best platform to increase and strengthen brand awareness and loyalty.  If you have a business, you need a business page on Facebook.

Being on Facebook establishes your business as an authority through the interesting content and information that you can provide through your post.  Facebook, as a social platform, is ideal for sharing personal stories, testimonials and detailed information about your business.

Facebook has become the leader in advertising.  As users provide personal data onto the platform, advertising can be targeted based on those details.   Not only can you target your advertising based on demographics, but also by job title, the age of the users, number of children they have, who they follow, and whether they are a group leader and much, much more.

Because of its popularity and the sheer amount of people that are on Facebook, this platform is the only social media marketing platform that you ABSOLUTELY NEED to be active on, no matter what your business is.

In just one year, from 2015 to 2016, the number of online adults increased 50%, with 60% of online adults 65 years and older in active use. More women then men have adopted Facebook as their social media channel,  with the statistical number of 83% female and 75% male. Of all the people who are on Facebook, 76% of Facebook users check their account daily, while 15% check weekly, and 7% check less often.  75% of Facebook users spend 20 minutes or more on this platform everyday.


Instagram User Stats and platform size

As of January 2017, Instagram has now exceeded Twitter's user base with over 600 million unique monthly users. This platform is skewed towards the younger demographic with an engagement rate of 4.2% totally exceeding both Facebook and Twitter. 


Instagram is a popular channel among younger adults with its grid style high visibility, storytelling culture of expression through this channel.  Of all Instagram users, 90% are under 35.

About 6 in 10 online adults, ages of 18 to 29 use Instagram, comprising 60% of the Instagram population.   Everyone else added together, 30 years of age and older, comprise of the remaining 40% of the Instagram population.

If your target is for the younger crowd of 18 to 29 years of age, and Instagram is the platform you need to be on.  Forty million photos are shared on Instagram every day with 75% of its users outside the United States. 

About a third of all online users also have an Instagram account, with 28% of them being adult users.  

Adults 30 to 49 years old comprise of 33% of Instagram users.  With 18% of Instagram users being age 50 to 64. More women show up on Instagram then men at a rate of 38% to 26%.

If you have a business that is image friendly, and visual branding is important, like a restaurant or clothing store, food, fashion, designer, and target the age group between 18 and 29, Instagram may be the platform for you.

USAGE:  About half of Instagram users check their accounts daily while 35% say they do sell several times a day.

Income wise:

  • 38% of Instagram users make less than 30,000 a year.
  • 32% make between 30 and 50 Thousand a year. 
  • 32% make between 50 and 75 Thousand a year


Twitter user statistics and platform size

Twitter’s platform has a usage of approximately 317 million monthly users (as of January 2017).   Twitter users are mostly male, 22% online men, 15% online women.  Its demographics are mostly 18-29 years olds with 53% inactive (never posting updates).  Average time spent of Twitter’s mobile app: 2.7 minutes (as compared to Facebook’s whopping 20+ minutes each day!)

Twitter delivers 1 billion unique visitors to website via embedded links.

A little tidbit about Twitter for business is that users have a higher tendency to follow brands on Twitter than they do would on any other platform. 

Twitter, more than any other social platform, is known for it it's in the moment developments. If your business is based on things that are happening now, Twitter is a must-have social platform for you.  Those who are on Twitter share breaking news and quick updates in 140 characters or less. This makes it convenient to promote the new products, content, contests, and be able to collect instant feedback from your audience. 

Twitter provides people who are looking for a quick information about your company or service, and provides an immediate response to questions about your products. It focuses on dialogue creation and start conversations with your customers.

For this reason, Twitter can be a wonderful platform for relationship building with influencers and to communicate with your customer base. The short snippet of information on Twitter are useful to keep up-to-date about what's going on, keeping your marketing fresh, and up-to-date, like a ticker.

If you are using Twitter take note that tweets with pictures increases engagement.  There is a 89% increase in “likes” from posts with pictures, and a 150% increase in retweets (shares) according to Buffer.

It's reported that about a quarter of online adults 24%, use Twitter, with 36% in the 18 to 29 age range.  54% of Twitter users are over the age of 30, and 30% of Twitter users make an income of 75,000 or greater each year.

It's also interesting to note that almost 30% of Twitter users have college degrees where as 20% have high school degrees or less.  42% of Twitter users say that they visit their accounts daily while 23% visit more than once a day.


Linked In B2B Platform - Stats and user size

There are approximately 106 million American users on Linked In.  Linked In is mainly used as a professional social marketing platform with 414 million users.   This professional, business to business platform has demographics favoring 31% male over 27% female.  Approximately 38 - 45% of Internet users on Linked In report a $75,000 or higher income per year.

79% of LinkedIn users are 35 years and older making it the oldest platform on all the social media channels.

The three dominant sectors on LinkedIn are:

  • High Tech (14.3%),
  • Finance (12.4%), and 
  • Manufacturing (10.1%). 

The legal sector only makes up about 1.4% of all Linked In users.

This platform is primarily used to check up on business partners, find jobs, improve careers and occasional networking. The social habits are done on a periodic basis rather than on an hourly basis like the users on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

In short, LinkedIn is for professionals and it's about professionals. LinkedIn is influential in the job hunt both both for employers and for potential employees. Linked In is great for networking.

About 29% of all Internet users have a LinkedIn account.  This platform is especially popular with college graduates and high income earners. About half of online users with the college degrees are on LinkedIn. 18% of LinkedIn users are daily visitors.

All professionals should be on LinkedIn as individuals. If you have profile on Linked In, check it periodically to assure that your profile is up-to-date and current.  

A word about LINKED IN GROUPS:  Within the groups function of this platform, there is opportunity for small businesses to start conversations and become a trusted source of information. To make a significant presence on LinkedIn however, as with all the other social media channels, time must be spent to nurture these relationships.  Prior to joining a LinkedIn group check the statistics under the more tab in the groups name. We sure that the demographics matches yours in the group is active so that you don't waste your time.


Pinterest Platform statistics and user data

Pinterest is a search engine/social media platform all mixed in one. Pinterest acts an online scrapbook showcasing products and allows you to display your brand through inspiration boards.  Pinterest is the number three most popular social media marketing platform. 

There are 317 unique monthly users on Pinterest.  About 3 in 10 online Americans(31%) use Pinterest. The majority of Pinterest users are women coming in at 45% doubling the share of men who use the platform at 17%. Only 25% of Pinterest users check to their account daily.

Demographics are fairly evenly distributed amongst all age brackets between 18-64.

Pinterest has the second highest percentage of all Internet users in the 50,000+ a year income bracket with 34% of Pinterest users having an household income of 100,000+.

Pinterest allows you to generate leads and drive traffic to other content or back to your website visually promoting and highlighting products and services through images.

It is important to note that 70% of Pinterest users use the platform to get inspiration on what to buy as opposed to 17% on Facebook.   People referred by Pinterest are 10% more likely to buy online than users of other platforms.  Pinterest posts have the best longevity, half of a pin is 151,200 minutes (versus 24 minutes for a tweet or 90 minutes for a Facebook post).


Google users are mostly males, 60% majority in technical engineering fields with the average age of 28. The platform has about 2.2 billion profiles but only about 4 million are active.

Google plus is a platform that is ideal to share content and it is compatible with YouTube, and Google hangouts circles and communities.  

Technology and engineering companies, as well as marketing individuals do really well on Google plus. The top three brands on Google plus:  Android, Mashable, and Chrome. The focus on Google plus is on increasing social shares through social linking intriguing images and content.

Social Media Platform Size and users per channel // social media platform statistics // social media platforms strategy // social media platform tips // social media platform ideas //social media platform size // social media campaign // entrepreneur hacks

So which platform do you need to be on to attract your people??  It depends on who your target audience is.

A brief synopsis of social media users per platform (as of Jan 2017) is below:

  • Facebook  1.5b
  • Linked In  414m 
  • Instagram 400m 
  • Twitter  317m 
  • Pinterest  150 m
  • Google +  2.2b (4m active)

If you are primarily a business to business company, Linked In is your best bet.

If your audience is part of the technology or engineering fields, you would want to be on Google Plus. 

For brand recognition, Facebook. For instant up to the minute brands, Twitter may benefit you. 

Instagram is for visual brands.  Pinterest has a longer “shelf life” per post, and a smaller platform (Less users). 

Based on the information provided in this post, with demographics and user size, which social media platform is speaking to you?  Which one might be a priority for you to pursue 1st? 2nd…?  3rd?  Feel free to comment below.