15 Top Social Media Sites & Platforms (A Handy 2020 Guide)
Wondering which social media sites your business, brand, or blog should be on in 2020?
You’ve come to the right place.
Because social media platforms are always jockeying for dominance, it can be surprisingly difficult to find articles with the most up-to-date information on Google.
The good news is we’ve done the legwork for you. Below, you’ll find the freshest data from sites like Statista to help you get the lowdown on the top social media platforms around the world.
We’ll look at cool features for each social network, go over who should (and should not) use them, and provide insights that’ll help you determine which ones are best for your business, brand, or blog.
Let’s dig in.
Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world with most of their daily users living outside of the USA
With people checking the site multiple times daily, sharing posts composed of text, photos, videos, and GIFs that other users comment on, share, and react to.
Just about every audience is on Facebook, and it is the most popular social media network for seniors — a rapidly growing demographic on the site.
A great platform to get people to know you. Know your brand and build a level of trust. And if you’re a content creator (whether it’s a blog post, infographic, or an article for a client), Facebook is one of the best social media platforms to share content.
Standout Features & Functionality
- Audience Insights gives small businesses the power to leverage Facebook’s massive pool of aggregated data to help them reach their ideal audience.
- Facebook 360 allows businesses to upload panoramic style photos from a smartphone, creating immersive, interactive experiences for their followers.
- Facebook Live gives influencers an interactive medium for connecting with their audience.
When it comes to social networks, YouTube dominates video content sharing.
This massive video-sharing platform lets users post, comment on, and upvote or downvote music videos, TV shows, vlogs, educational content, live streams, movie trailers, and more.
They can also subscribe to other users’ channels and add videos to playlists.
YouTube functions as a massive search engine (2nd only to Google), making SEO an important consideration for content creators. Tons of businesses have leveraged this top social media site successfully
An astounding 500+ hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. If you’re not committed to producing high-quality content, you won’t gain traction.
- YouTube Cards visually enhance links to other videos and playlists, making your content more interactive. They can appear at any specified time during your video.
- YouTube Live allows you to stand out by creating an engaging experience with your audience.
- After reaching 1,000 followers, channels can post text, images, GIFs, live videos, and more within the Community tab to further connect with their audience
In a crowded messaging app market (QQ, Telegram, Snapchat, etc.) WhatsApp stands as the most popular, with more monthly active users than Facebook Messenger (both are owned by Facebook).
Users can send text and voice messages or make voice and video calls for free with this mobile app. However, unlike the app Viber, users cannot call non-app users’ numbers.
WhatsApp Business is a standalone app available on desktop, and many business owners use it as a handy customer service solution.
- Free international text, voice, and video messaging (video chat with up to 4 people).
- WhatsApp Business provides messaging tools for connecting with customers, including automated greeting and away messages, the ability to reuse messages for quick replies, labels for organizing contacts and chats, catalogs to show off your products and services, and a profile page with your basic business info.
- Document sharing allows for easily sharing spreadsheets, slideshows, and other documents up to 100 MB (also free!).
- Facebook Messenger
Messenger, originally Facebook Chat, is a standalone messaging app and platform.
No Facebook account is necessary to use this social networking site to communicate via text messages, voice, or video chat.
More than an instant messaging app, users can also share photos, videos, stickers, and other file formats.
Messenger was recently redesigned to be lightweight and fast — deprioritizing a number of features, including chat bots that had become integral to many business’s customer communication strategy.
For a time, chatbots were a big marketing strategy on Messenger. Those days are over, with a shift toward user satisfaction. Respect your customers’ inbox!
- US users can send and receive money through Messenger by connecting it to their debit card or PayPal account.
- Location sharing (remember Foursquare and its check-ins?) makes it easy for your friends or customers to find you.
- Messenger Rooms is a video chat feature similar to Zoom that allows up to 50 participants at a time.
- Business solutions, like purchase tracking, notifications, and connecting customers with your customer service representatives make it easy to serve your customers.
WeChat (Weixin) is one of the most popular social media sites to come out of China.
Owned by Tencent, the parent company of QQ and QZone, this app does a little bit of everything.
It’s a messaging, social media, and mobile payment app rolled into one, and users also play games, shop, and access government services through the platform.
Like other social media apps, users can also share photos, make video calls, and text.
Advertisers on WeChat benefit from Facebook-esque customer data collection.
If your audience is in or from China — including tourists, students, and expats — then this all-in-one social media service is worth a look!
- WeChat Pay allows users to shop and make money transfers.
- Automated replies create a smooth customer service experience.
- A customer history chat log is available for easy reference when corresponding with clients.
- WeChat Shop platforms allow businesses to set up online stores that leverage features like WeChat Pay, phone number and address collection, retargeting, and customer service capabilities.
Instagram is a video and photo sharing social platform where users upload photos and short videos, often adding filters and other effects before sharing them with family and friends.
It’s owned by Facebook, which provides robust marketing data for reaching your audience.
Instagram is the perfect place to show off products and tell visually centered stories about your business. Whether that’s e-commerce or personal training, you’ll find that users on this platform are ready to buy.
A variety of brands thrive on Instagram, especially those in travel, beauty, and fashion — the largest demographic is under 35, urban females with above average income.
Instagram is growing every day. With increasingly sophisticated and powerful tools for marketers, it’s a great platform for growing your business.
- Shoppable Tags allow users to click on products in images and go directly to a product page to make purchases.
- Instagram Stories are short user-generated videos with various added enhancements and effects that disappear after 24 hours.
- Instagram Live is a great way to engage your audience and interact with them in real time.
TikTok is a massively popular social network coming out of China that bills itself as the “leading destination for short-from mobile video.”
Users create various types of short (up to 15 seconds) looping videos to share, including comedy, talent, lip synching, dancing, stunts, and more.
Like other social networking platforms, its algorithm will learn what you like and show you similar content over time.
TikTok is a fun space to show your brand’s human side. If your audience is on this platform, it’s a great place to cultivate awareness.
- In-app video editing allows users to customize background music, video effects, speed, filters, sounds, and more.
- With the React feature, users can film their reactions to videos, showing up in a small window alongside the original content.
- The Duet feature allows users to film themselves trying to sing the same song, perform the same dance, or do a parody as a joke alongside a piece of original content.
QQ is another Chinese instant messaging platform.
Users can participate in group chats and send texts and audio messages — comparable to Facebook Messenger.
Although it’s primarily a desktop app, a lightweight and less functional mobile app is available.
If you’re doing business in China, then look into QQ further to see if it’s a good fit for your brand. Here is a more in-depth article on the platform.
- A live translation feature for up to 50 languages makes it possible to connect internationally.
- QQ Coin is a virtual currency used to purchase items for the user’s avatar or blog. Coins are accepted by some vendors for real goods.
- Users can transfer files for free, with no limit on file size.
- Sina Weibo
Sina Weibo, simply called Weibo in China, is a microblogging social network.
Similar to Twitter, you can find journalists, celebrities and other public figures on the platform.
In addition to publishing text based updates (up to 2,000 characters), users can share music, videos, and images. They can also comment, follow, private message, search, and use @Usernames to tag others.
And, like Instagram, users can post images (9 max per post) and create Stories.
- Weibo Polls show up in users’ timelines like a regular post, and are a great way to engage with and learn about your audience.
- Businesses can claim their own hashtag, which can be used to increase brand awareness.
- Weibo Fit tracks calories, walking distance, and other health data.
With QZone, a bonded service to QQ, users share photos, watch videos, listen to music, keep diaries, play online games, shop, date, and blog.
Think of it like a mix of a social networking site and blogging platform. It’s similar to Facebook, and users can like, share, comment on posts.
They can also customize their profile backgrounds with accessories (mostly paid) and a song that plays in the background (like Myspace).
- Brands can create customized “microsites” and other interactive marketing applications that function within the platform.
- Users can have up to 1,000 QZone Albums, each with up to 10,000 photos.
- A QZone Certified Space gives businesses extra features to help them stay connected with their audience.
The “front page of the internet,” Reddit is a forum where users can participate in thousands of communities called “subreddits,” covering any topic imaginable (and many more).
Content is user-generated and includes written posts, discussions, photos, videos, and links to articles.
Users often pose questions to the community (similar to Quora), or just browse for random stories like you would see on StumbleUpon back in the day.
If you want to gain insights into an audience’s thought process and communication style, then follow any subreddits they hang out in.
Reddit is an awesome resource for learning about topics and people. To learn more about marketing on Reddit, check out this article.
- Ask Me Anything (AMAs) allow users to have live conversations with well known public figures like politicians, authors, actors, or people with interesting jobs.
- Activities on reddit generate Karma, a point system that shows how much you participate and generate goodwill from other users.
Kuaishou, called Kwai outside of China, is a short-video sharing and live-streaming app.
Users share clips of stunts and pranks and live streams of video game play.
Kuaishou’s algorithm is designed for inclusivity, ensuring more visibility for a wider range of content.
This has opened the way for people from China’s rural regions to share their lifeways while generating extra income, which they do by promoting their businesses or linking out to ecommerce platforms.
E-commerce businesses (conversions are higher on this platform) selling to the Gen Z demographic in China’s smaller cities and rural regions.
Kuaishou’s algorithm is designed to be more equitable in providing exposure. That could be an opportunity to “break in” and be seen.
- Kwai’s simple, easy to use interface allows anyone to quickly learn and use the app.
- Live-streaming allows users to provide a variety of entertaining and educational experience.
- Users can link out to e-commerce platforms.
Snapchat is “a camera and messaging app that connects people with their friends,” specializing in ephemeral content — media that is only accessible for a short time (kind of like Tumblr’s ephemeral chat rooms).
Users share image and video massages called “snaps” can be modified with stickers, text, filters, and other effects. Snapchat users are always looking for interesting content. This is a great opportunity to tap into your creative side and engage younger audiences.
There are also private and public stories that show the last 24 hours of a user’s content.
- Creators can add links to snaps, allowing them to send viewers to external websites.
- Businesses can create a Sponsored Geo filter, a location specific image overlay that is only available at a specific physical location that “proves” the user was there.
- The “Swipe Up to Call” and “Swipe Up to Text” features make it even easier for your audience to contact your business.
People visit Pinterest for inspiration and to find and share new ideas.
This “productivity tool for planning your dreams” has virtual boards that users (called Pinners) fill with image-based “pins,” bookmarking them for future viewing.
Pins typically link to an external website and can be repinned from one user’s board to another.
Pinners view pins from all the other users and topics they’re following on their home feed.
If your audience is made up of women, and especially Millennial moms, then Pinterest could be perfect for you.
Pinterest users have proven to be ready to buy. The great thing is that Pinterest gives marketers plenty of tools to channel that buying intent.
- “Lens” allows users to perform a visual search for objects they’ve captured on their phones.
- “Catalogs” allows brands to upload their catalog into Pinterest and turn products into Product Pins.
- “Rich Pins” come in 4 formats: Product Pins, Recipe pins, Article pins, App pins. Each with its own dynamic function.
- “Shop the Look” pins allow Pinners to click on items and go to a product page to purchase.
Twitter is a microblogging platform where users primarily share short posts called tweets (280 character maximum) with their followers.
Users can then like, comment on, or retweet these posts to their followers. It’s like having a massive conversation with people all over the world.
Twitter is full of businesses and brands communicating with their audiences, and “40% of Twitter users reported purchasing something after seeing it on Twitter.”
Twitter is a great place to have a conversation with your audience. Show up and be ready to have a conversation with your people.
- Users can see and subscribe to the curated feeds, called “Lists” of people they follow.
- Twitter Polls allow users to ask their followers a question with 4 answers to choose from. This is an easy way to engage your audience and get feedback on ideas.
- Hashtags were started on Twitter, and you can create branded hashtags to generate brand awareness and drive engagement.
Social Media Sites for Every Type of Business
You don’t need 15 social media accounts to get in front of your audience. In fact, that would be a terrible idea.
You’re better off focusing on one or two platforms where your target audience is most engaged. Each of the social networks we covered has its pros and cons. Pick one or two that you think could be a good fit for your brand, download their app from the Apple or Android store, and follow our links to learn more.
Now is a great time to start showing up in front of your audience. Study them, engage, add value, and before you know it they’ll become loyal fans and customers.
Wolfe Systems is a Business Technology Solution provider. Our offerings are tailored to our clients requirements, we believe Technology is a tool that should be harnessed to assist businesses to achieve their goals. Find out how we can help you today. Contact us now!
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