Social media can be an incredibly effective tool for businesses of all types and sizes. But the actual social networks that you choose can make a big impact on your chances of being successful. There are social media channels that reach nearly half of the earth’s population. And there are others with much smaller, but more targeted audiences like Twitter, Flipboard and BizSugar. Granted 321 million users is not small (Twitter), but compared to other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, it is. Each business must choose the social media marketing mix that works best for their specific needs and target customers. However, businesses must start with understanding of the options available amongst the social media platforms in the market.
If it’s time to upgrade your social media marketing strategy, here are 40 different social media channels that you can consider using to market your business.
The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Channels
With more than 2.7 billion users worldwide, Facebook is pretty much a must when it comes to social media marketing channels. The site is popular with everyone from teens to grandparents. Businesses can sign up for business pages, create groups, and even host events. The site also offers extra features ranging from targeted advertising to live broadcasting to increase your social media marketing.
A visually-oriented social media platform, Instagram is mainly used as a mobile app. It lets users post photos, short videos, live streams, and stories that disappear at the end of each day. The app has more than a billion active users. Its user base is a bit younger than that of Facebook. However, as social media platforms go, the value of influencer marketing is much higher on this channel. With influencers on Instagram, you can target your audience with the right type of content.
If you create video content for your business, then you probably already use YouTube. You can upload your own videos, share them on other sites, create playlists and even interact with other users on the video social media platform. YouTube has more than 2 billion monthly logged-in users. Even more view videos without an account. With a wide and varied user base, businesses posting useful video content like how-to’s or demonstrations can utilize YouTube as part of their social media marketing strategy.
The most popular business-oriented social networking site, LinkedIn is great for entrepreneurs looking to boost their professional networks or reach out to B2B clients. The site offers general posts, long-form content, and even job listings. With 706+ million users, LinkedIn can be useful for growing your network, hiring, or sharing expertise with other professionals. LinkedIn is especially helpful for startups looking for brand recognition as part of their marketing efforts. Whether it is to attract investment or talent, a startup can do both with the right content on this social media platform.
Pinterest is part social media site, part creative search engine. It allows users to create different boards where they can save photos and content from a variety of sources. So businesses can use it to post products, blog posts and a variety of other content. There are more than 400 million active users, many of whom are young people and women. Fashion, home decor, food, and DIY brands may find the platform especially powerful. If the content of your marketing is visually driven, Pinterest is a great option.
Twitter is a microblogging social media site that allows users to post short messages, photos, links and other types of media. There are more than 330 million active users. Males and those between 35 and 65 are most active. Since it’s not as visual as many other social sites, Twitter is often best for those who share information, like news outlets or B2B businesses. Twitter is a great social media platform for starting conversations, but you have to be in the right demographic to capitalize on it.
Tumblr is an interesting addition to the world of social media platforms. It’s sort of a mix between a social media site and blogging platform. You can post photos, videos, text posts and even re-post or like content from other users. It has lost some popularity in recent years. However, it still has about 400 million monthly visits. It’s especially popular with young, trendy audiences. Tumblr has changed dramatically since its early days, but with the right marketing and content you can reach a very specific audience.
Known mainly for being popular with a young audience, Snapchat has about 360 million users each month. You can share photos, short videos or text messages with other users. That content is only viewable for 24 hours. The mobile social media platform can be useful for raising brand awareness among teens as part of your marketing campaign. As marketing on social media platforms goes, make sure to view the site and the content before you invest in ads.
TikTok is a relatively new social network that specializes in short, viral videos. Again, it’s mainly popular with a young audience. However some of the videos get shared on other sites as well. The app gets about 800 million visitors a month. As a result, it can be a useful part of a social media marketing strategy for creative brands that want content to reach young viewers.
A social photo sharing site, Flickr has lost some of its user base in recent years. However, the site still has about 90 million users a month. It lets you upload photos and videos, sort them into albums and even interact with other users in groups or comments. Photography businesses might use it as part of their social media strategy to get more people interested in their photos.
Vimeo is not as popular as YouTube when it comes to social media video platforms. However, you can still use it to upload videos. There are also some community features aimed at serious video creators. With about 170 million monthly users, Vimeo is more popular with artsy individuals and serious video creators. It may be useful for small businesses like videographers looking to show off their content.
When you think of social media, your brain probably doesn’t go right to platforms like Skype. However, the popular video and audio chat platform also lets you add connections and send instant messages to connections on Skype mobile or desktop versions. With about 40 million monthly active users, it’s popular with professionals and an older audience. Businesses that want to stay in touch with top clients on a personal level may find it useful.
Reddit features a news aggregator along with some social media features like discussion boards and the ability to submit and rate various content. The site has about 430 million active users per month who discuss a huge variety of topics. The site is especially popular with men and young adults. Businesses can use it to interact with specific subreddits or share viral content.
If you’re looking for social media platforms for a professional audience, consider SlideShare. It lets you create presentations, infographics, documents and similar materials. You can also use it to find presentations on a variety of different topics related to your industry. There are about 70 million active users. Its most useful for lead generation or businesses that want to market to a target audience of professionals.
Known mainly for reviews of local businesses, Yelp allows you to create a profile for your business and interact with other users through comments and more. There are more than 140 million active users per month ranging various age groups and demographics. It’s most useful for local businesses like restaurants, cafes, and service businesses.
Nextdoor is a neighborhood app meant to provide a hyper-local hub. It’s mainly set up for individual use. As a result, it’s not yet a big name in the world of social media marketing. However, neighborhood businesses like bookshops or corner stores could potentially post updates to their neighbors there. There are about 27 million monthly active users, mainly consisting of homeowners and young families.
The popular question and answer site, Quora allows you to interact with other users by submitting questions and helping other users if they have questions that relate to your industry or expertise. There are about 300 million monthly users, and even more who may come across responses on Google. When it comes to your social media strategy, answering questions on Quora could help businesses with unique expertise build brand awareness online. For example, an HVAC tech could answer a common troubleshooting question or a dentist could answer a question about oral health.
XING is a platform made specifically for business networking. You can connect with other professionals and companies, read industry news and even discover relevant events. Xing has 16 million members. However, it’s more popular with an international audience than LinkedIn. As a result, businesses that network globally could use it for B2B social media marketing.
WhatsApp is a mobile messaging platform that lets users add friends and create groups to chat with via text, voice or even video. There are about 2 billion monthly active users around the world. It’s popular both in the U.S. and globally, especially with young groups. Businesses that want to communicate directly with millennials or Gen Zers could find it useful.
Another mobile chat app, WeChat offers apps for iPhone, Android and even a web version. With about a billion users, it’s also popular globally, especially in China. However, it also has a growing user base in emerging markets like Africa. As a result, it may be worth adding to your social media marketing mix if you want to connect with consumers in those markets.
Viber lets you send texts, make calls and even share photos with other users. It also offers a feature called public chats so that brands and celebs can share messages with wider audiences. It has about 260 million monthly active users. It’s also another strong social media marketing option for companies with young, global consumers.
For local businesses, Foursquare can help local customers find and check in at your location. You can even offer specials or promotions to potential customers. Features like check-ins and swarms aren’t as popular as they once were. However, with about 50 million users, it’s still a useful social media marketing app for local shops and restaurants to get discovered.
Scribd is an open publishing platform that authors can use to share ebooks, audio books, comics and other documents with interested audiences. Since this is more of a niche site, there isn’t a huge user base. But it can help authors share content and connect with their target audience in a creative way.
Meetup is a site that lets people create and join groups to share events and meetings in a given area. You can use the site to gain interest in special events or start groups. There are about 35 million Meetup users, many of which are adult women. Businesses with this target audience can use it to publicize in-person events or create active groups.
A personalized discovery platform, Mix is the newest iteration of once-popular StumbleUpon. Though it doesn’t quite have StumbleUpon’s 35 million user base anymore, it may still be useful for small businesses that want to share informative or viral content.
For artists, photographers, illustrators and other creative entrepreneurs, DeviantArt provides an online gallery and community. Artists can share work and connect with others. The site has more than 26 million members. Though it’s not as popular as it once was, it can still be an effective marketing tool for artists and illustrators.
Another audio distribution platform, SoundCloud can be an especially useful channel for musicians and podcasters. There are about 76 million registered users. The site has features for promoting and sharing songs or audio clips.
Ravelry is a niche site aimed specifically at knitters and crocheters. It could be a useful social channel for yarn sellers and other handmade business owners that want to connect with fiber artists. It’s a smaller community, but offers a very targeted market.
For authors and book enthusiasts, Goodreads is a site that lets users discover books, leave reviews and interact with other users. There are about 90 million members. Authors can create profile pages, promote their books, and engage with readers.
A portfolio site for designers and creative entrepreneurs, Behance lets you showcase your visual work. Users can also discover other artists and designers through their portfolios. As a result, it may help businesses find designers for collaborations. With about 10 million members, the site offers a small but targeted group of users.
For bloggers, Bloglovin’ is a platform that lets you create a profile for yourself and your blog (or blogs). You can then connect and follow other users to discover content and get your blog found by relevant readers. There are about 16 million users. It’s also especially popular with women and readers of lifestyle blogs.
Influenster is one part social network, one part influencer marketing hub. Users can discover new products from lifestyle brands, leave reviews, and interact with other users. The site is most popular with beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brands. If you sell products or produce that type of content, it may be a popular social media marketing tool for your business. The social media channel has about 4 million users.
ReverbNation is a social media channel for the independent music industry. There are about 4 million users. Artists can use social media features to share songs and connect with other community members.
Twitch is a streaming platform for gamers. There are about 15 million daily active users. As a result, professional gamers can build an entire business by streaming to their target audience on the platform.
AllRecipes is a recipe sharing site and community for those who love to cook and bake. The site has about 85 billion users. Aside from finding and posting recipes, users can also share their favorites and connect with friends on the site. It’s popular with a wide audience, but especially so with women and moms.
Flipboard is a social media platform that revolves around news discovery. It could be useful for brands that want to share useful content with a professional audience or online publishers. There are about 145 million active users around the world. It can be useful for publishers in niches from personal finance to health and wellness.
Medium is a platform for publishing long form content. There are about 100 million users per month. The site offers useful sharing features that make it more like a social media site. However, there’s not much to distract from the main content. Writers and publishers can use it to gain brand awareness or create viral posts.
38. Facebook Messenger
Though Facebook Messenger falls under the Facebook umbrella, it’s essentially it’s own social media channel at this point. Brands that want to connect more personally with target customers can download the app and respond to customer inquiries or move sales along.
39. Facebook Marketplace
Another Facebook creation, Facebook Marketplace offers an easy way for people to buy and sell goods locally. It’s probably not going to be the main social media marketing strategy for local businesses. However, if you have a small shop like a vintage store, you can list products you’re ready to move and connect with others via Facebook. If you provide a positive experience, you may even garner some repeat business.
BizSugar is a forum for sharing business related content. You can post articles, comment on posts and interact with other users. BizSugar is a sister site to Small Business Trends. There are about 2 million users on the business-centric social media site. As a result, it may be a useful social media marketing channel for B2B businesses and bloggers.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is the process of using social media channels to connect with consumers and spread awareness about your business, product, or service. Businesses can use social media marketing to increase awareness, promote products and sales, share useful content, and drive website traffic. Every company’s social media marketing strategy looks a bit different based on the channels they choose and the target audience they want to connect with.
What are the Top Social Media Channels?
The most popular social media platform by users is Facebook, with 2.7 billion. YouTube and WhatsApp have 2 billion global users, so they come in second.
Which Social Media Channel Should You Use to Market?
The social media channels marketing professionals choose for their strategies should really depend on who you’re trying to market to and what your goals are. For example, those looking to target Gen Z may be better served to create a presence on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Businesses like publishers that want their content to shine might opt for Twitter, Medium, and Flipboard. Many social media marketing strategies are likely to include big names like Facebook and YouTube.
The important thing to understand about social media platforms is they will give you access to the demographic you want to address with resources to maximize your reach. Understanding how to use these resources/tools is the key to truly optimize your marketing efforts on social media platforms.
Photo via Shutterstock
More in: Popular Articles