Comparing 3 Major Social Media Platforms

9 mins read

When you are ready to start implementing your social media strategy, one of the first questions you are faced with is which social platform is best for your business. This comes down to which platform will best support the goals you are trying to achieve with your social strategy. To answer this big question, you would first need to know the facts and answer a few other questions like: 

    • What are the major social media platforms being used?
    • Which one is best for your business?
    • What is the purpose of the different social media platforms?
    • What are the differences between the platforms?
    • What are the similarities between the platforms?
    • What audience will you be reaching with the different social platforms?

There is a lot to know, but don’t worry we have compiled the answers to these essential questions, here in a comprehensive breakdown of the top 3 major social media platforms.

1. Facebook

Ultimately, the purpose of Facebook is to connect people with their friends and family. People use Facebook to share photos, videos, and general updates on their lives and what is happening in their world. Facebook is a community that lets users connect on a personal level, while also connecting to the brands and companies unique to them. Due to the community aspect, Facebook truly has to work harder than other platforms to identify and engage with consumers to ultimately see a return. With Facebook being one of the original, most experienced and largest social platforms, I like to think of Facebook as the godfather of modern social media.

Facebook has the largest audience of social media users, as well as the biggest age range of users. To say that everyone is Facebook’s target audience is not an understatement. There are nearly 2.32 billion active users on Facebook around the world in a month. Facebook users also check their Facebook pages the most out of any social platforms, checking an average 8 times per day, every day.

One of the key features that sets Facebook apart from the rest of the social platforms is the advertising component with a Facebook business account. With some impressive targeting tools, you are able to narrow down the specific target audience your advertisements are reaching. Beyond the advertising interface being user-friendly, it is also a relatively cheap option for business advertising. Depending on the campaign you are running, you can have advertisements running on Facebook for as little as $2-$3 per day. Another advantage Facebook has over other social platforms is the ability to interface with many different apps through your Facebook profile. The Messenger app has also dominated the market, and instead of fighting with their biggest competitor Facebook chose to acquire the competition, WhatsApp, back in 2014.

2. Instagram

Instagram is mainly used to share people’s best photos and videos. Since inception in 2010, Instagram has been considered one of the most engaging social platforms available. Instagram allows users to express themselves with real experiences, and to create genuine interactions without the distractions of clickable links within posts, keeping users focused on the content. The content created speaks to users’ emotions through pictures, small video clips, and live update stories, continually feeding the users new content so they stay connected to the app. I consider Instagram the emotional member of the social media family.

The age demographic for Instagram may largely reflect the fact that it was created as an application for Smartphones originally and caused the popular worldwide phenomenon of selfies (digital self-portraits). The result of that is 75% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18-24. Compared to Facebook’s 2.32 billion, there are only 1 billion active users around the world in a month on Instagram, with users checking their Instagram on average about 6 times per day.

Instagram’s unique quality is needing to post a picture with your post, thus being branded as “the image sharing app”. Instagram is a great social platform to promote and strengthen the visual aspects of your business’s branding on social media as all of your content will have a visual aspect to it. Shortly after starting, selfies became the most popular use for Instagram, which was a worldwide trend that started from using the app itself. Stories, which are pictures and clips showcased on your profile for only 24 hours was innovated, from Snapchat’s My Story feature (2013), in 2016 and brought the idea to share to a much larger audience. Stories have become very popular and are now used on various social platforms including Facebook, although still remains most popular on Instagram.

3. Twitter

Twitter was created for sharing ideas, real-time information, and trending news. It is a platform for conversation using fast, concise, and controlled posts. While it may be used for connecting to friends and family as well, it is largely used for a bigger purpose; which is to connect the world as a whole and hear what’s happening (in 280 characters or less). Twitter can be seen like the talkative younger (but really older) sibling to Instagram in the social media family.

Most Twitter users are 18-29 years old, making up 40% of all users. Although the majority of users are in the same age demographic as Instagram users, the purpose of the platforms are very different, meaning they will target different audiences. There are an average of 330 million active Twitter users around the world in a month, with users checking their account 5 timer per day on average. Studies also show that high school graduates are less likely to use Twitter than college graduates, the users tend to be more affluent, and also tend to live in a city.

The unique quality of Twitter is the creation of the hashtag; a pound sign (#) followed by a term that you can search to follow trends, threads of a conversation, or events. Hashtags are now used across most social platforms and are part of the language in the modern digital world, the term is even being used in day-to-day conversation now. “Did you hear about BIG’s launch coming up? Hashtag excited!”. Twitter also has a unique name for their posts, calling them “Tweets”. With Tweets and Hashtags, Twitter is a great platform to create and follow trends compared to Facebook and Instagram.

Decide Which Is Best for You

When it comes to choosing the ideal social platform for your business, it is important to understand the differences, similarities, audience, and purpose of the different platforms. We have explained the different purposes of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, how they target diverse audiences, and some of the aspects that make them similar or unalike. Be aware, these are 3 common social platforms, however there are plenty more social platforms available to you out there! It is recommended to focus on only one platform when starting your business’s social media. Now that you have a basic understanding of 3 major social platforms, get out there and make an informed decision on which platform is best for your business!

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