Social media is everywhere, but not all platforms work for every business, it’s helpful to know about the most popular social media platforms out there right now. This will allow you to maximize your brand reach on social media, engage with the right people, and achieve your social media goals.
The top five most popular social media platforms in the world are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. TikTok comes right after that, but Snapchat is number 11, Twitter is number 15, and LinkedIn isn’t even on there.
This may seem surprising, but while 80% of customers engage with brands on social media, not all social media platforms are designed for this use case. Some are purely for instant messaging and some platforms are wildly popular in other areas of the world, like China.
So let’s narrow our list down to the most popular social media platforms.
1. Facebook — 2.9 Billion Users
Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA
Founders: Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes.
Facebook is the largest social media site, with more than two billion people using it every month. This means that roughly 36.9% of the world’s population are Facebook users. Facebook is considering the best for the following:
- Local Marketing:
Did you know that Facebook is right up there with Google My Business as one of the top local business directories? When you think about what a Facebook business page contains, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. This includes:
Description, category, price range.
Contact info, hours, photos.
Call to action button, reviews, instant messaging.
While your business page is a popular hub for those who know about your business, Facebook isn’t the best platform for reaching new audiences organically. In fact, its organic reach is 2.2% (compared to Instagram at 9.4%).
- To ages 65+ :
Influencer Marketing Hub also tells us that age 65+ is the fastest-growing demographic for Facebook ad reach. In 2021, this group grew by 25%. Now this, of course, doesn’t mean that this is the most popular age group on Facebook. It’s still 25-34, but for the 65+ age group, it is the preferred platform.
Community and Relationship Building:
Don’t let Facebook’s low organic reach deter you from using it to engage with your audience. Many people often use a business’s Facebook page to check for announcements, store closings, sales, and other recent information. If you use your page in this manner, your customers and close followers will know to check your page frequently and you won’t have to worry as much about showing up in their feeds.
You can then cater your posts to the quality traffic you are getting to your page—sparking discussions and engaging back with individuals, encouraging direct messaging, and more.
2. YouTube — 2.2 Billion Users
Headquarters: San Bruno, California
Founders: Jawed Karim, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley
The original video social media platform, YouTube maintains dominance in that market. It is currently the second most used platform with 2.2 billion monthly active users.
So if you use video marketing to promote your business, then you definitely need to be on YouTube. To get started, here’s how to create a YouTube channel for your brand. And to help your videos get discovered by more people, we recommend reading up on YouTube SEO or consider advertising on YouTube to increase your reach.
YouTube has a strong user base across all age groups. This includes the difficult-to-reach 65+ demographic, 49% of whom use the platform, second only to Facebook.
YouTube covers all genres from beauty, gaming, and education to DIY home improvements. This is the platform for most brands to invest in, with video being the growing medium for content marketing.
3. WhatsApp — 2 Billion Users
Headquarters: Menlo Park, California
Founders: Brian Acton, Jan Koum
WhatsApp remains the most popular social messaging app, way out in front of Facebook Messenger. Initially, people originally used WhatsApp to send text messages to their family and friends.
Gradually, people started communicating with businesses via WhatsApp.
WhatsApp’s business platform allows businesses to provide customer support and share updates with customers about their purchases. For small businesses, there’s the WhatsApp Business app, while enterprise businesses can use the WhatsApp Business API.
As the most widely used messaging platform, WhatsApp can be your business’s great customer service channel.
4. Instagram — 2 Billion Users
Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA
Founders: Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger
Instagram is the most popular social media platform for…
Don’t worry, I’m not going to say visual marketing! Visual marketing should not be an isolated strategy. It should be a staple for all of your strategies, not just on social media. Here is where Instagram stands out above the rest:
Instagram advertising costs may be higher than Facebook, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good channel for paid social advertising. First of all, purchase intent is highest on Instagram, with 36% of users using it to follow brands (compared to just 19% on Facebook).
Instagram also has the highest organic engagement rate between users and brands—10 times greater than Facebook, 54 times greater than Pinterest, and 84 times greater than Twitter. And with shoppable ads, Instagram has turned planned shopping on its head and folded product discovery and impulse buying into our organic behaviors, making it the most influential social media platform on our shopping habits.
Still not convinced?
81% of people say Instagram helps them to research or discover new products or services.
72% report making purchase decisions based on something they saw on Instagram (compared to Facebook at 23%).
130 million users tap on shopping posts every month.
50% of people have visited a website to make a purchase after seeing a product or service in Stories.
most popular social media platforms – Instagram shopping example
Not only does Instagram have the highest organic reach of all social media platforms (9.4%)…
…but it also has the highest organic engagement rate, at 1.16% compared to 0.27% on Facebook and 0.07% on Twitter.
5. Facebook Messenger — 1.3 Billion Users
Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA
Founders: David Marcus
Messenger used to be a feature within Facebook, but since 2011, Messenger has been a standalone app with expanded features. Businesses can advertise, create chatbots, send newsletters, and more. These features have given businesses a myriad of new ways to engage and connect with their customers.
Messenger can be an indispensable marketing tool for brands looking to connect with customers on Facebook.
Why use Facebook Messenger for business
Facebook Messenger can be an integral part of your Facebook marketing strategy if you know how to use it right. It’s the most popular messenger app in the US, with 82% of consumers claiming they use it regularly for instant messaging purposes.
Below are some specific ways Facebook Messenger can benefit your business:
- Generating high-quality leads
Customers might reach out to you on Facebook for many reasons, but one thing is clear—they have displayed an active interest in your business by doing so.
- Providing exceptional customer service
Bad customer service can make you lose business. But if you’re wondering exactly how much, Zendesk’s 2022 report shows that 61% of customers will walk away from a brand after just one poor customer service experience.
- Enabling convenient purchases and transactions
Facebook Messenger is great for holding conversations, but it can also help streamline the customer journey by making transactions a breeze. Customers can make purchases, book appointments, check-in, and apply for refunds directly through the app.
- Building trust in your brand
Facebook Messenger offers brands an opportunity to engage in personal conversations with customers, which helps build trust.
Which Social Media Platforms Should You Use?
Social media is everywhere. And everyone is using it, from your teenage neighbor trying to go viral on TikTok with the latest dance to your 86-year-old grandmother using Facebook to track down long-lost friends.
But, not all social media platforms work for every business. So, if you were hoping you’d reach the end of this piece and there would be an easy answer as to which ones your company should be on, you’re out of luck.
That’s not to say there isn’t an answer. It’s just that every social media mix will be unique.