Deciding on the Best Social Media Platforms for Customer Connection (2022)

Brands have to know who their core customers are and understand which generations gravitate to which platforms.

Social media marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach customers in the channels where they are most comfortable. The problem for brands is that there are so many popular social media platforms that it’s challenging to know which of them are best to reach their customers.

Let’s look at how brands can determine which social platforms are the most appropriate for their core customers, and which platforms are used by different generations.

An Omnichannel Approach With a Consumer Focus

With new social media platforms popping up every day, the challenge is knowing the ones brands prefer for marketing, advertising and outreach.Here are some of the most popular social platforms today, according to a January 2022 Statista report:

  • Facebook - With over 2.9 billion monthly active users, Facebook remains the top dog in the social media universe.
  • Facebook Messenger - Facebook’s messaging app has over 988 million monthly active users.
  • WhatsApp - Another popular messaging service owned by Meta, WhatsApp has 2 billion monthly active users.
  • Instagram - Another Meta property, Instagram has nearly 1.5 billion monthly active users.
  • YouTube - As the second most active social network, YouTube has nearly 2.6 billion monthly active users.
  • TikTok - With one billion monthly active users, TikTok is rapidly growing in popularity and is regularly used by Gen Z as a search engine for local businesses.
  • Reddit - With 430 million monthly active users, Reddit serves as one of the largest discussion networks on the internet.
  • Twitter - This popular social commentary platform has 436 million monthly active users.
  • Pinterest - This popular photo-sharing network has 444 million monthly active users.
  • Snapchat - With 557 million monthly active users, this messaging service remains extremely popular.
  • WeChat - Coming in as the second most popular messaging app, WeChat has more than 1.2 billion monthly active users.
  • Quora - While it’s not exactly a social network, Quora still has an active community of 300 million monthly active users.
  • LinkedIn - This professional business social network has 830 million members.

Joe Karasin, head of growth at CircleIt, a generational platform, told CMSWire that the value of a social channel is somewhat dependent on the goals that brands have.

“If someone is looking to convert sales on their website, then Instagram and YouTube may be the best channels. If one wants to simply create awareness and provide content, TikTok could be the best choice. The best strategy is to take an omnichannel approach with a consumer focus, so this understanding is key to marketing,” Karasin said.

Related Article: Understanding the Connection Between Social Media and Great Customer Experience

Social Media Posting, Influencers and Advertising

Because most brands have a social presence on the top social media networks, they have several marketing options available:

  • Use their own social media presence to post images, videos and messaging.
  • Work with influencers on social platforms to endorse, review or talk about their products and services.
  • Advertise on social platforms so that the ads appear after relevant searches or users show interest in specific keywords.

Each of these options — which are not exclusive (brands can use all three if they wish) — has its own merits and drawbacks. Determining which option offers the most benefits and will reach the brand’s target audience largely depends on the strategy and goals of the campaign and the audience segment the brand is trying to reach.

Ronn Torossian, founder and chairman of 5WPR, a New York-based public relations agency, told CMSWire that every single marketing campaign needs to have a strategy, largely because the strategy determines the methodology they use for each social platform.

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"Companies must define every strategy for every social media platform they're going to be using because every single platform is going to be different in various ways, which means companies have to understand what's going to work best to make sure that the content is going to generate engagement with a target audience.”

Most brands post content on their own social media presences regularly, so grabbing customers’ and prospective customers’ attention can be challenging, especially when brands are trying to create content that is not seen as purely advertising.

Although social media is a medium that allows brands to show their personality and character, the content that brands post should remain consistent with the brand’s voice and values. Humor and lighthearted content allow customers to see the human side of a brand.

Presentation Is Everything

Customers understand that brands are businesses with goals that include being profitable, but they do not want to be continually bombarded with sales pitches or advertising copy.

Because a brand’s strategy affects the way it markets on each platform, Torossian said that means changing the original content idea in terms of how it's presented and formatted — either in a written or a more visual format.

“Some of the things that companies have to take into consideration are the reasons why the business is choosing to use the specific platform, the audience it is targeting, the content that is going to work best on the platform and engage the audience, the brand messages the company is trying to promote and all of the ways that the content can be made unique so the company can stand out from the crowd,” Torossian explained.

Influencer marketing is often an extremely effective means of reaching niche audiences. According to an Insider Intelligence report, as of 2019, Instagram was used by 69% of marketers who work with influencers, with YouTube coming in next at 11%. A more recent 2022 Insider Intelligence report indicated that this year, 66% of influencer marketers will use TikTok.

Advertising on social media platforms provides brands with opportunities to showcase their products and services using images, text and video. On YouTube, for instance, brands can create video advertisements that play intermittently while users watch related videos.

Brands are able to target users based on their Google search history and YouTube viewing behaviors. Google has estimated that 70% of users have purchased a product after seeing it on YouTube.

Related Article:Finding Your Target Audience Through Social Media

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Generational Social Media Preferences

According to Karasin, although there are exceptions to every rule, it’s safe to assume that the newer a platform is, the younger the user base will be. “Certain channels, such as Reddit, tend to have a wider range of users in varying demographics,” he said.

The data that is made available through the various ad platforms provides brands with the ability to target those in specific generations. “On Facebook, for example, because we see the most engagement from an older user base (from older millennials to baby boomers), we create content that is relevant to those in that age range,” said Karasin.

“On Instagram, we tend to see a different range, which includes younger millennials and Gen Z through Gen X.”

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CircleIt has a different appeal to different generations. “So a Facebook ad may talk more about preserving your legacy for future generations and telling your story, while the same type of ad on IG would focus on discovering your roots and learning about your ancestors,” Karasin said.

Aneesh Dhawan, CEO of Knit, a consumer insights startup providing market data on Gen Z and millennial audiences, is in a great position to understand how to market generationally through social media.

Dhawan said that brands must truly understand the generations they wish to market to. “Not just their values, but how they express them, the trends they care about and, ultimately, the messaging that will resonate with them. When trying to understand Gen Z for example, brands have historically struggled to attract and retain their attention."

He added a warning that some brands act from a place of desperation by using slang or trying to tap into Gen Z humor without really understanding it, which is something that Gen Z considers “cringe-worthy.”

Genuine, organic outreach is the most effective way to reach this generation. “Gen Z responds best to marketing that is authentic, funny and aligns with their values of social responsibility,” Dhawan said.

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“The truth is, building long-lasting brand loyalty takes time and often requires a commitment to investing in valuable consumer insights to understand what motivates this group.”

To be successful, brands need to be impeccably tuned in with not just what content and messaging resonate, Dhawan suggested, but how to effectively articulate the brand’s story.

Effectively Engaging Specific Consumer Segments

Mark Beal, professor of communication at Rutgers University, told CMSWire that there are more social media content channels than ever for brands to use to reach consumers, but to effectively engage specific consumer segments, brands must take time to truly understand which channels are preferred by each generation of customers.

“In my immersion into Gen Z, the big three — YouTube, TikTok and Instagram — are the channels that brands must leverage in an attempt to successfully engage this cohort.”

Beal said that Gen Z does not consume traditional media such as network and cable television or even Facebook, which their Gen X parents prefer.“Gen Z also gravitates towards communities of shared interests such as Discord and Reddit, online audio communities including Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse and emerging channels such as BeReal.”

Beal suggested that the content created for Gen Z needs to be concise, clever, informative and, in many cases, entertaining.

The Lowdown

With so many social media platforms available for brands to conduct marketing and advertising campaigns, it can be challenging to determine which platform is best for their goals.

Brands must establish strategies for each platform, and decide if they are going to reach customers through posting on their own social presence, working with social influencers or using targeted advertisements.

Finally, brands must understand how each generation uses social media to approach them in a way that is genuine, organic and well accepted by each generational group.

FAQs

How do you decide what social media platforms are best for your business? ›

6 Tips for Choosing the Right Social Media Platform for Your...
  • Start with your audience. ...
  • Consider your company. ...
  • Research your competitors and others in your industry. ...
  • Align with your overall social media marketing goals. ...
  • Understand the different platforms and their uses. ...
  • Keep in mind your available resources.

What should you consider when choosing which social media platform to use for marketing? ›

Choosing the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business
  • Step 1: Identify your audience. The first step is to identify who your audience is. ...
  • Step 2: Define your goals. Once you know your audience, you need to define goals for that audience. ...
  • Step 3: Find your audience.

What is the best social media platform for communication? ›

With 2.93 billion monthly active users as of 2022, it's safe to say that nearly every social media user is on Facebook. So it's an excellent platform for brands to market their products to a huge audience. Users can share text posts, links, images, and videos with their Facebook friends.

How do you answer a customer using social media examples? ›

With an appropriate response, you increase the likelihood that they'll become return customers and brand advocates.
  1. Thank You. ...
  2. Share the Comment. ...
  3. Show Interest in Them. ...
  4. Ask a Question. ...
  5. Like or Favorite. ...
  6. Apologize. ...
  7. Start a Private Chat. ...
  8. Take a Moral Stance.
12 Sept 2018

What are the factors to consider when choosing a social media channel? ›

Let's take a look at what you should consider when choosing a social media channel.
  • What are your goals? ...
  • What resources are available to you? ...
  • What content types do you have? ...
  • Where is your audience now? ...
  • What industry are you in? ...
  • Where are your competitors? ...
  • How will you manage all the social media channels?
2 Sept 2021

Which two factors should be considered most when choosing the right social media platform? ›

Two factors that determine if a social media platform will perform for your business includes: Which social media platform should you choose? Step 1: Who is your target audience? Step 2: What are your competitors doing?

Which social media platform is best for marketing and why? ›

LinkedIn

Since it's a professional network, it makes the best choice for B2B social media marketing. Forbes ranks it as the best platform for generating leads, and it accounts for 46% of the social media traffic that generates on company websites for B2B firms.

What is the most effective social media site for advertising? ›

1. Facebook

Facebook has almost 2 billion daily active users, making it one of the most popular social media platforms today. It's no surprise that 62% of companies will leverage it for advertising and marketing in 2022.

How important is social media in communication? ›

The importance of social media in communication is a constant topic of discussion. Online communication has brought information to people and audiences that previously could not be reached. It has increased awareness among people about what is happening in other parts of the world.

How can media influence people in communicating? ›

Social media reduced the barriers in communication, making it easier for everyone to express their thoughts to the world. Social media also helps widen the knowledge of an individual. Social media-sourced information is now more handy making everyone involved and active in society.

How social media changed the way people communicate? ›

Social media networks allow us the opportunity to share opinions with a far wider audience. Another big change that has occurred is that there is now no filter on the way we speak. In the past, unless you spoke to people directly, you had no way to get your message across regardless of your freedom of speech.

Why is it important to select the appropriate social media platforms for your business? ›

Some platforms are better for building awareness and top-of-funnel initiatives, while others are better for conversion. What are you trying to achieve? You'll want to choose the platforms that match the goals you have in mind. Social media management and content creation is an industry for a reason—it's a lot of work!

How many social media platforms should a business use? ›

Choosing the right social media platform for your business

Only pick two or three social media platforms and do them really well. There's no use in spreading yourself thin across multiple platforms and failing to reach your audience on each one.

Why do we need finding the right platforms? ›

Choosing your platform carefully is important for two main reasons: It enables you to expand your reach. The right platform will have the right people: those who are interested in your business. You can drive more traffic, as well as expand your reach through shares, follows, and likes.

Which details should you look to include on a business profile on social media? ›

  • Details about the CEO.
  • Link to a local listing site you're on.
  • Description of the business.
  • Cost of products and services.

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