Nearly 4 billion people use social media worldwide. With marketers expanding their digital game, the questions of which platforms to use comes up often. New and exciting platforms are popping up every day and older platforms are constantly making updates. While it may be fun and interesting to hop on the latest trendy platform, it’s imperative that marketers understand which networks will and won’t help them reach the users they want. Let’s dive in and see who’s on the major platforms and some key features you may have missed.
Facebook is one of the oldest and widest-reaching social networks. For most entities, it’s essential to hitting digital communications and marketing goals. It has 228.6 billion monthly active users and users in the United States alone are projected to grow to 237.8 million by 2025.
To yield the best results from Facebook, it’s necessary to be authentic and engage with your audience by reading comments and responding when necessary. Take note of what your followers are saying and respond well. Video performs the best on Facebook and receives 59% more engagement than other post types. Images, on the other hand, account for roughly 18% of the top posts while links make up a mere 0.2%. To maximize your reach, try turning content like infographics and blog posts into animated or informative videos.
Facebook is making changes to their algorithm to put an emphasis on page followers rather than page likes. This refers to the number of people signed up to receive notifications from the page. More notifications result in higher engagement! Dedicated news feed for pages is another new feature, suggesting new connections like public figures, pages, and groups on your feed. Comments from verified pages are also bumped to the top of comment sections which will allow users to follow pages directly from the comments.
Twitter has been around for nearly 15 years and many users adopted the platform early on. Twitter has 187 million daily active users. 65% of American Twitter users identify as Democrats. Twitter’s user base is predicted to grow 2.4% this year and is ranked the 6th most popular mobile app.
Twitter recently announced a new paid feature called Super Follows. The new features will allow content creators to charge followers a monthly fee for access to additional exclusive content. Think substack or Patreon in 240 characters or less.
Spaces on Twitter, which was launched back in December 2020, is a voice chat tool that allows you to broadcast live conversations to your followers. This can be beneficial in spreading a message that isn’t easily condensed to Twitter’s traditional 280 character max tweets. Spaces is currently still in beta testing and only available to a limited testing pool of Twitter users on iOS, but when it is accessible to all it can be a great new way to reach your existing Twitter followers.
Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users. It is the 4th most popular mobile app with only Facebook, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger ahead of it. Ads on Instagram can reach over 1 billion users.
An existing feature to tap into is “swipe up” on Instagram Stories. Once an Instagram page reaches 10k followers you are able to access the stories “swipe up” feature. With over 500 million people using Instagram Stories everyday, this tool can be used to redirect followers to any web page. This can be helpful for things like fundraising, amplifying petitions, and more.
New features have also been proven to be very useful and effective. Reels is another fun feature that hasn’t been around long. Similar to TikTok, Reels allows users to create bite-sized video content to share with their followers. Reels first launched in Brazil in 2019. After launching, Instagram saw 4.34% growth in monthly users in Brazil, a substantial increase from its usual 1% growth.
Aside from those social network powerhouses, there are many new platforms that are making their presence known on the political scene.
As we know, TikTok has recently taken the world by storm. It doesn’t allow political advertisements but it has been a place where millions of young people organize increasingly effectively.
TikTok has an astounding 1 billion active monthly users with 32.5% between the ages of 10 and 19. Is this the target audience you need to reach? If not, you probably want to focus on other core platforms before diving into TikTok. But if you’re looking for a way to reach younger voters, TikTok should absolutely be one of your platforms.
Clubhouse is a drop-in audio app launched in 2020. It allows you to listen to conversations between people on various topics and share information with your audience – who can raise their hands and ask to participate in real time. Clubhouse encourages ghosting with users dropping in and out of conversations frictionlessly.
The app is currently only available for iPhone and you need an invitation to join. That hasn’t stopped it from experiencing exponential growth, hitting over 10 million downloads earlier this year. Will this alienate a portion of your audience and will they understand or be interested in the platform? Or is there another platform your audience is more active on?
If you’re a campaign, before hopping on, it’s important to note that Clubhouse requires hand-on commitment from the candidate. This isn’t a social network you can hand-off to a staffer to manage. To be successful on Clubhouse, the candidate will need to actively participate (in real time) by joining and participating in conversations. That makes the app more authentic and intimate but does your candidate have capacity for that?
Twitch is a more specialized social network made popular by video gamers and streamers. The lifestream platform has over 15 million active daily users with 41% of whom are between the ages of 16 and 24. It’s popular because it allows its users to talk live to their watchers while playing a video game. Twitch burst onto the political radar screen when AOC livestreamed herself playing “Among Us” and landed in the top 20 most-watched streams. Bernie Sanders also joined Twitch in 2019 to reach “a potentially supportive audience that we may not be hitting other ways.” Twitch is a great way to engage and expand your audience that is different from what other platforms have to offer.
While it’s important to keep a lookout for new and interesting platforms it is also important to focus time, effort, and resources on the platforms central to campaigns. Before considering new emerging social platforms, make sure you’re killing it at the essentials. Consumer behavior can change very quickly in the digital space and every trend won’t work to achieve your goals. It’s important to understand your audience and market to where they are.