Social media has come to stay for good or ill — whether we like it or not. No more is it only a channel for informal conversations and entertainment. Businesses, corporate organizations, governments, and even religious institutions now use social media to reach out to a larger, more targeted audience.
About 3.6 billion people all over the world use social networking sites. This number is set to increase significantly in the next few years due to the cheaper costs of smartphones and better access to the internet. The most popular platforms are usually available in multiple languages and this enables users to connect with more people across geo-political and economic borders.
Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube are some of the most popular social networking platforms there are. Each of them have its own unique features, niches, and user base. But which takes the spot for the top three?
With over 2.7 billion active users visiting the site every month, Facebook tops the leaderboard and with good reasons. Founded in 2004 by tech-and-business tycoon Mark Zukerberg, Facebook was the first social media platform to reach the mark of 1 billion registered users.
It has successfully subsumed three equally large social platforms, each with over 1 billion monthly active users – Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. It is also one of the first social platforms to provide businesses with an avenue for advertising their goods and services.
Today’s consumers expect all businesses to have a presence on the platform, and many of them also expect quick and personalized responses to their questions and concerns on it. This makes having an updated Facebook Business page very necessary for any company or brand.
Surprisingly, many people do not think of YouTube as a social media platform perhaps because it is heavily reliant on videos in contrast to the others which use a combination of textual and visual content.
That notwithstanding, YouTube remains the second largest search engine after Google, with an estimated 2.2 billion monthly active users. It is one of the largest sources of user-generated content and its descriptions, queues, and titles make it an excellent way for brands to create exciting and engaging content for their audiences.
Basically, any business that has a video marketing strategy can use YouTube to reach a wider audience. Some people can visit your site and watch videos without signing into their own accounts. In addition to the views you get directly on the platform, you can also use YouTube to host videos to embed on other sites.
Twitter gained popularity as a microblogging site where people seek out quick news and information and get real-life updates on what is happening at the moment in different places and industries.
Because of this new information-seeking culture of its users, Twitter is especially useful to companies who publish original content regularly. Sharing links to new pages and blog posts is simple, and doing it regularly sends readers directly to your new content. In addition, this builds your reputation as an authority in your industry.
With about 353 million monthly active users, Twitter is not as pervasive as Facebook and Youtube. However, it is still widely used by both individuals and groups all around the world. People can chat and share photos and videos with a large number of people by using trending hashtags.
As a marketer or business, these platforms can help you promote your brand and products, as well as expand your network. Influencers and consumers on the other hand can use these sites to connect with like-minded individuals and build better connections.