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7 of the Most Popular Social Media Networks, and Which Businesses They Work Best For

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

A computer screen with an image of someone looking through Facebook binoculars.

If you run a small business, you specialize in the products or service your business offers, and I am willing to bet (especially if you're reading this) that your specialty isn't in social media marketing. So where do you start? Ever if you are socially active on every single one of the social media networks, knowing how to promote your business on social media (and, most importantly, which network to market on) isn't quite as easy. The three most important factors in choosing where to advertise or promote your business are audience demographics, social network popularity, and your own likelihood of keeping an active account.

Audience Demographics

Demographics (like, age, income, race, etc.) are a very important part of marketing, because most products or services tend to have a certain group that is most likely to purchase them. As businesses, we need to not only tap into that group to promote our services, but also to figure out if it's possible to gain the interest of other groups that aren't in our largest customer base. A great way to do that is to view statistics on social media. A great resource that I use is a non-profit research organization, Pew Research Center. You can find straight data on just about anything there, so it's the perfect place to get data to help inform your business decisions. For instance, here is the most recent data from Pew on social media use among all demographics in the U.S.:

Percent of US adults by demographic who use social media networks.
“Who Uses Each Social Media Platform.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (Feb. 2021)

From this chart, you would be able to discern that if you wanted the largest total audience, you would use YouTube, but if your main customer base is rural women, you may also want to use Facebook and Pinterest.

Social Network Popularity

There's an old philosophical saying, “If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”. I would like to twist that question into a different one regarding social networks:

Banksy art of a child crying because of no social likes, comments, or followers.

If you post on a social media network that isn't as popular in your location, does anyone see it?

For instance, the social media network Line is huge in Japan and other parts of Asia, but is not really used in the U.S., so therefore, it's not a great pick for engagement if you're located in the States. Here is another Pew Research chart showing the most popular social media networks:

YouTube is the most popular social media platform.
“Which Social Media Platforms are Most Popular.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (Feb. 2021)

Likelihood of having an active account

Finding "the best" social media network for your business is fine and good, but if you choose Youtube when you know perfectly well that you will probably post one video, then drop out of sight (due to the amount of work and time it takes to continuously post good video content), then that network isn't for you.

When it comes down to it, each tool is only as useful if we actually use it. So, I hope that you've been able to find out a bit more about social media marketing and are able to use this data to decide what your marketing strategy will be. Keep an eye out, we will occasionally post other informative articles on this subject in the future!

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