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The Newbie's Guide to Selecting the Ideal Social Media Platform

There's a lot of information out there about how to use social media for your business but most of those articles assume a certain amount of knowledge on the participant's part. Without that basic knowledge, you could spend a lot of time doing things that aren't helpful for your business.

Best practices aren't best practices when applied in the wrong scenario or on the wrong platform. To better understand why the platform is so important, let's think about fishing.

Yes, the basics of catching a fish.

You can buy the perfect lure, learn to cast properly, practice constantly, get your permit to fish, and never catch a shark in your bathtub. Where you are fishing is as important as what you use; just as which platform you're on is critical to success in social media for your business.

If you want more sales and customers, you need not only best practices but need to be using them on the right platform for your business. This article will help you decide which social media sites you should be on to reach your ideal customers.

Once you know that critical information, you can decide how to best spend your time and get the most out of your social media resources.

Statistics on the Most Popular Social Media Platforms

If you want to be effective in using social media for your business, it is imperative to figure out where your audience is.

There are a lot of options out there and all of the social media platforms are different. Here's a brief description of the most popular ones but keep in mind if you have a niche audience, there may be private online communities or groups that will help you reach more of them. Before you decide to start posting on any of the sites below, check that your ideal audience is there. You can do this by asking them or doing the research on the average age, gender composition, and other demographic data. This article will help you get started.


This is the country's most popular social network with 79% of the US's internet users participating. 75% of male internet users are here. Based on mere numbers, 22% of the world's entire population uses this platform. However, the Facebook algorithm often keeps a majority of your audience from seeing your posts unless you pay for them to be seen.

According to Statista, Facebook has 164.13 million monthly app users (not factoring in Messenger).


This visual sharing platform is popular with people under 35 and more women are here than men but it still attracts 32% of the world's internet users on a regular basis, second only to Facebook. If you're wondering what to post, pizza is the most widely Instagrammed food, ahead of steak and sushi.

Monthly app users: 111.54 million


Twitter has about 330 million total monthly users on its platform, with a 4% adoption growth from 2017-18. 36% of internet users ages 19-29 are on Twitter, while only 22% of 30-49 use it, and 18% of people between 50-64. Important to note: 30% of Americans who earn over $75,000 a year use Twitter.

Monthly app users: 71.79 million


This visual site works as a virtual board in which to pin your favorite pictures, products, quotes, and advice. It's the third-largest site attracting 31% of the world's internet users. 2 million Pinterest posters save something to boards every day but only 7% of total Pinterest pins belong to men. Millennials use Pinterest as much as they use Instagram. 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan or make purchases.

Monthly app users: 56.92 million


This app attracts a younger demographic as seen in the fact that 44% of teen-aged Internet users chose this app above all others, if they could only select one. The site boasts an impressive 187 million daily users. Yet, only 18% of US Internet users use Snapchat leaving a big market that it has yet to capture.

Monthly app users: 53.28 million


Largely a place to share professional accomplishments, this social network has tried to become a spot for thought leadership by encouraging people to publish there. While the average Linkedin user spends 17 minutes a month on the platform, 40% of users claim to use it daily. It's important to note that 70% of users are from outside the US.

Monthly users: 250 million (total)

Honorable Mentions for Additional Views

There are a few other sites that are worth mentioning when it comes to building an audience. Look into them to see if your ideal customer is well represented on them. They include:

· Medium

· Quora

· Tumblr

· Reddit

· WhatsApp

· Google Hangouts

Most businesses don't have a lot of time for social media so they want the maximum return on their time investment. In order to achieve that, you want to ensure your ideal customer is on that social space. If not, it doesn't matter how many others are on there. You're still trying to catch a shark in a bathtub.


Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine,, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at and the Event Manager Blog.

She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.



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