A Social Media Platform Overview

Perhaps your business is at the beginning of its social media journey, and you don’t know which platforms to choose. Or maybe your business has been on social media a while but you’ve tried to be on all the platforms and it’s completely overwhelming. Whichever is closest to your situation, read on through this overview of the platforms and we’ll help make things clearer for you.

This blog has been updated to reflect the changes in the platforms in the early part of 2018, but changes happen all the time and while I will try to keep it up to date there may be times it isn’t possible.


  • Facebook has over 1.4 billion daily active users, & 2.13 billion unique monthly users so your customer is very likely to be on this platform somewhere.
  • 64% of users are female. 83% of adult women in the US use Facebook, compared to 75% of adult men.
  • 88% of 18-29 year olds are on this platform, along with 84% of 30-49 year olds, 72% of 50-64 year olds and 62% of those over 65 (in the US).
  • There is little difference in usage between urban, suburban and rural areas.
  • Usage is slightly higher among those earning less than $30K per year (likely because usage is higher among younger people) but there is not a huge differential.
  • 70% of all internet users log into Facebook.
  • 75% of users spend 20 minutes or more on Facebook every day.
  • The half-life of a Facebook post is 90 minutes.

So Facebook is likely to be a good fit for your business as long as you can find your audience. It works for both B2B and B2C. Organic growth on this platform is very difficult though so you will need to allocate a Facebook Ads budget in order to see significant success.

In early 2018 Mark Zuckerberg announced changes to the algorithm which governs your Facebook feed. Basically, these changes meant the algorithm would favour sustained conversation between family and friends, and disfavour business pages. It means that business pages that are not producing content which produces reactions, shares or comments will now be shown to very few people. The true results of this change remain to be seen at the time of writing, but suffice to say in order for your business page to be seen at all you need to be going Live, using video and producing entertaining and engaging content consistently. Facebook was and remains a Pay to Play platform for businesses to see real growth on there.


  • Instagram is the fastest growing social media channel.
  • It has 800 million unique monthly users and 500 million unique daily users.
  • Most of its users are female and 38% of women online are using it.
  • 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35.
  • 53% of Instagram users follow brands.
  • Average daily use is 32 mins per day for under 25s & 24 mins per days for over 25s.
  • Instagram Stories has 300 million daily active users, up by 50 million in just a few months and more than Snapchat’s entire app.

Instagram is a visual platform popular with creatives, women and the young. If you have a regular supply of good quality, beautiful, original images which would appeal to these demographics Instagram is probably for you. Instagram’s business profiles now give you reasonably good insights and analytics too.

Instagram announced in early February 2018 that it was opening up the API to enable users to schedule directly (without using push notifications), putting it in line with other platforms in terms of scheduling.


  • Twitter has 330 million active monthly users.
  • Most Twitter users are in the 18-29 age group.
  • The audience is mainly male, with 22% of male adults online on this platform.
  • Only 47% of Twitter users regularly post updates.
  • Users spend an average of 2.7 minutes per day on the Twitter app.
  • The half-life of a pin is 24 minutes.
  • Each Twitter post now has a 280 character limit.

Twitter has a huge audience, but your tweets needs to be compelling to last longer than that depressing shelf life of 24 minutes. If they don’t get any engagement they will very quickly disappear from the feed. For this reason you need to be posting much more often on Twitter than Facebook. But it’s great for customer service and relationships, and second only to LinkedIn for B2B. It’s also very good for social listening, monitoring what your customers are saying and what your competition are doing.

In the last half of 2017 Twitter made big changes: doubling the number of characters possible in a tweet to 280 and allowing threaded tweets so that the user could tell a story or make a report. It has started to change the way Twitter is used, and the ever-changing Facebook feed has also been to Twitter’s benefit.


  • YouTube has 1 billion unique monthly users, and 30 million visitors per day.
  • 62% of YouTube users are male.
  • YouTube has 2 million video views per minute.
  • 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day.
  • 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  • In an average month, 8 out of 10 18-49 year olds watch a video on YouTube.
  • YouTube has more viewers between the ages of 18-49 than any US cable TV channel.

YouTube is only for those brands who have lots of video content, and is generally used in conjunction with another platform as it performs a different function to a platform like Facebook. But look at that user total! If you can just get eyes on your content, YouTube is the place to be for video.


  • LinkedIn has 250 million unique monthly users, and 500 million users in total.
  • 133 million of the 500 million total users are in the US.
  • 40% of users visit LinkedIn daily.
  • It has slightly more male users than female, and 28% of all men online are on this platform.
  • Because it is a professional platform 45% of users have an income of over $75K per year. That’s double the number making $30K or less.
  • Microsoft paid $26.2 billion for LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is very much a B2B platform. If you have a lot of employees who will help get you traction on this site it can definitely work well. It’s much slower moving than the other channels, as people often check their accounts infrequently, so don’t expect to see fast growth. LinkedIn advertising can work well but tends to be expensive and is much less developed than Facebook Ads. However as people tend to fully complete their profiles it has excellent search possibilities by job title or company name.


  • Pinterest has 200 million monthly active users & 317 million unique monthly users.
  • The audience is mainly female with 45% of online women being on the platform.
  • There are more than 100 billion pins on Pinterest.
  • It isn’t dominated by any particular age group.
  • 50% of Pinterest users are outside the US.
  • 85% of searches are on mobile.
  • It has the best referral rate of all the platforms for shopping – 10% more likely to purchase than other platforms.
  • The half-life of a pin is massively more evergreen than other platforms at 151,200 minutes.

Pinterest can be particularly good for retailers, especially those in the home, craft and design markets. You need a large number of pins, but some of these can be pinned from elsewhere. Pinterest can also be great at driving traffic to your website using blogs. Running a Pinterest account at maximum voltage can be hard work though, as it needs more pins/posts than any other platform.

Pinterest Lens, Shop the Look and Instant Ideas features all promise to bring extra excitement to the platform in 2018.


  • Snapchat’s biggest audience segment is 18 – 24 year olds.
  • Snapchat has 178 million daily active users and 301 million monthly active users.
  • Average daily use is about 30 minutes.
  • Average number of snaps per day is 3.5 billion.
  • 71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old. 45% are under 24.
  • 70% of Snapchat users are female.
  • In Norway, 50% of smartphone owners are on Snapchat.
  • More than 20,000 photos are shared on Snapchat every second.
  • The longest Snapchat streak ever is 629 days.
  • 30% of users say they use it because their parents don’t.
  • 35% of users say they use it because their content disappears.
  • 79% of US teens use Snapchat.

Snapchat’s growth rate has plummeted as Instagram copies their every move, and some companies are abandoning it as a marketing platform. It could still be right for you if you have a young audience and a dynamic, creative brand. It’s very much a B2C platform and a fun approach to marketing is a necessity.

We hope this has allowed you to evaluate the best platforms for your business. A word of caution: it’s much, much better to do one or two platforms well than to do lots badly. Pick a couple and make sure you are rocking those before moving onto more.

Demographic insights from here, here  and  here.

Examples of #SocialDoneRight

In order for you to assess if you can run a platform well, it’s always good to see examples of social media being done well in your field. One example of #SocialDoneRight from an engineering firm is GE.

According to a report from Engineering.com  firms were allocating more of their budget to digital media this year. 37% of all those who took part in the survey said they would have a larger video marketing budget, 23% a bigger social media marketing budget and 26% planned to publish more blogs. A survey from Roper Public Affairs recently showed that 80% of top executives preferred articles to adverts in terms of receiving information.

They manage an educational but entertaining feed which is kept at the right level for the average reader. Their Vine videos are rightly famous and they have a beautiful Instagram feed.

There are a few retailers who are showing us how #SocialDoneRight looks. Innocent is a great example of a brand posting entertaining content and engaging with their customers. And boy do they engage. Quick thinking and snappy one liners are a must-have for the social media managers working here.

I looked long and hard for an example of a big PR firm with #SocialDoneRight and this proved quite difficult! I was looking for multiple posts every day, visuals, sharing interesting posts from elsewhere rather than just tweeting about yourself and most of all engagement. In the end, I went with a smaller example local to me who are showing their larger counterparts how it can be done. Take your bow Delicious PR.


To understand more about what constitutes #SocialDoneRight, have a look here.

And if you’d like a chat about what social media channels would be right for your business, get in touch!

To keep up with the constant changes on social media platforms, and to learn about producing engaging content, you may want to join my FREE Facebook group.