Social media is pretty interesting. Especially when it comes to predicting which platform will dominate over the others. We know that there are people who either hate it, love it, or depend on it. Social media become such an integral part of people's day-to-day lives, that it can be a little hard to disconnect from. And this really is why social media marketing really is one of the most effective (and least expensive) ways to build a brand.
Sometimes it can be a challenge to figure out which social media platform is the right one for your brand. You want to make sure that it's not effective but is in line with your digital marketing strategy as a whole. That's why today we're having a little battle of the social media platforms. We'll give you some insight to help you decide which social media platform is the best option for your brand.
How To Choose the Best Social Media Platform for Your Brand
Let's have a little crash course before we dive in, shall we? As you may already know, a lot of brands tend to use a strategic mix of social media platforms. But when you're first starting out, it's more important to start with one or two. The goal is to find that perfect fit for your buyer personas. There isn't really "one" site that's the absolute best. It used to be that Facebook was the winner, but now things are a little different (more on that later). However, it's still worth a try though!
Below are a few things you should consider when you try to find the best social media platforms for your brand or niche:
- Demographics: How old is your audience? Age has a lot to do with figuring out which platform to focus on. What about the gender? Where do your audiences match up?
- Content: What type of content do you use the most? And how do you expect this to change in the near future?
- Industry: Is there a certain platform that makes more sense for your niche to be on?
- Product: How does your product/service fit into a specific platform?
Top 3 Social Media Trends of 2018
Unlike unicorns, social media trends are real. There really are certain platforms that are more popular than others. And yes, sometimes this popularity changes. So today we'll take a look at some of the up-and-coming trends of 2018. Ones that just might increase in popularity over time.
Trend #1: Influencer Marketing
Recently, influencer marketing has become one of the biggest breakthroughs in digital marketing. It's extremely effective when your target audience consists of Millennials and Gen Z. The concept behind it is that they already follow people they "love" and brands get to advertise through those favorite personalities. It works almost organically too, and as a result, people feel more connected to your brand. All thanks to the influencers. These influencers are actually able to get millions of people interested in any given product or service.
As a brand choosing an influencer, you can partner with up-and-coming stars or just people you feel that your brand is connected to. Just make sure to be transparent about it or you might run into a few snags. In fact, the FTC recently sent a reminder to some major influencers about this in the interest of maintaining transparency.
Trend #2: Stories & Livestreams
Who else has noticed that more and more people are posting videos on Facebook and Instagram? SnapChat is another contender when it comes to ephemeral content. People love this type of short-lived content because it offers an intimate (and authentic) look into a brand or person. It's every day, normal life - unfiltered and unedited. Which is why it's great for engagement. Instagram and Facebook stories are a perfect example of "micro-moments". This is definitely something that brands can use to their advantage.
Trend #3: Hangouts
Let's bypass Millennials for a moment and take a look at Generation Z. Gen Z is all about hanging out online and there's actually an app for that! It's called Houseparty. Now keep in mind that this may or may not work for your brand. If it doesn't fit your niche, you might want to try something else. But if it is something perfectly suited for your brand, you should keep this in mind the next time the discussion about collaboration and team-based work comes up.
2018's Battle of the Social Media Platforms
Now that we have the trends taken care of, let's take a look at what you've all been waiting for. The top 10 social media platforms of 2018! Most of this list won't come as a surprise, but there are a few new platforms listed here. Some that you might not have even heard of but should know about. Especially if you are a brand or if you're in the digital marketing industry.
I'm sure you're thinking, yeah big surprise there. But at over 2 billion monthly users, Facebook ain't nothin' to mess with. And so far, it hasn't shown any signs of slowing down either. There are, however, new features that you might want to look into. Including a change in the algorithm that deprioritizes business and encourages more interaction between family and friends. Not to mention the fact the cost of Facebook ads has recently risen. Regardless, they still remain an extremely viable and affordable advertising option for most brands out there.
Coming in at a close second, with 1.5 billion monthly users, YouTube has shown some remarkable growth from when it first started over 10 years ago. People LOVE video which is why it has become such a popular website. People also love making videos and sharing them too! As of now, there's no sign of the platform hitting a wall. So if you're an advertiser who hasn't taken a swing at it yet, now's the time.
800 million people use Instagram monthly and for a lot of reasons. From a personal AND professional level, IG really has it all. The downside? Not enough room for words (hello, continuation in comments) and the inability to back-link within the text and comment area. But that's okay - we love Instagram all the same. For the most part, Instagram is less for chatting and more about building a highly engaged community. Even though the rules and algorithms keep changing, it remains one of the most fun and least invasive platforms around.
330 million people use Twitter each and every month. It's the perfect platform to have a quick conversation about news, especially anything controversial. People flock to Twitter because it's consistent and direct. A downside of this open platform is the trolls and proclivity for abuse. It's basic and hasn't changed much over the years - but it works!
Love it or hate it, Snapchat is rolling steady with 300 million monthly users. People love this popular photo-sharing platform because it's incredibly private. It's also great for videos! And believe it or not, it isn't just for teens and Millennials anymore. However it does have a lot of younger users, which makes sense because it was originally geared towards them.
Ranking in at around 250 million users per month, Reddit is a super popular site with a really unique setup. On this platform you can find answers to pretty much anything. It's set up like a social forum (since it's so big) and it's also a great place for marketing. Especially when it comes to back-linking.
Pinterest has over 200 million monthly users. It's the perfect place to find home decor idea, DIYs, recipes, or travel destinations. It's a very visual site that works well for anyone who uses a lot of photos. It's also great for brands and niches where people are liable to pin things for later. Granted, Pinterest's popularity has slowly dwindle over time, it's still a great go-to platform for visuals. Even if it isn't as interactive as Instagram.
Yeah, we're a little surprised too! But Ask.FM has about 160 million monthly users. Ask.FM is like one of the biggest social sites that you've probably never heard of! This platform started out as a place for teens and Millennials to ask anonymous questions. However it received some bad press in regards to cyber-bulling. Because of that, there are now a lot of articles out about warning parents not to let their kids use the site.
With 115 million active users, Tumblr thrives on a rather unusual interface that caters towards weird and wild visuals. If you use a lot of different media types and visual, then it's perfect. Tumblr also comes with built-in email and mobile publishing. It hasn't shown any slowing down either, but your brand needs to be the right fit in order to succeed.
Flickr was originally set up for photographers to store and share photos. It has since grown to 112 million people on a monthly basis. There are signs that its popularity is actually slowing down. As for the interface, it isn't as up-t0-date as it should be.
Now for the Part Where We Make Predictions ;)
When we think about how social media will look in 2019 we think mostly about the innovations. There's really so much going on in the digital landscape that we really don't have a clear-cut answer as to what's really out there on the horizon. Even though we can't say exactly which sites and platforms will continue to dominate, it is likely that a few of the current trends will still exist. As a result, it offers us insight into which platforms we should turn to for a more permanent solution to digital marketing.
Trends such as video, mobile, a continued focus on user control, and privacy will continue to rule. What are some of the trends that you think will hang around? What does the future of social media marketing look like for your brand? Let us know in the comments below, so we can discuss!