This article is regularly updated for accuracy and new platform features or changes.
Every business needs a social media presence. Social media supports your website, integrates with SEO and ads, expands your reach, and builds a community around your company. It’s a part of your brand story, and impacts how you’re perceived. But in order for it to be effective, you need to choose the right social media platform for your business.
I’m here to help you figure that out – using alcoholic beverages.
Yes, you read that correctly. We’re going to compare the most popular social networks and their audiences to popular drinks and the people who enjoy them.
A huge part of successfully using social media in your digital marketing strategy is identifying the personalities of your company and your audience – then choosing the optimal place for them to get together. The ‘flavour’ of your social platform is the foundation on which your content, ads, and even posting schedule should be built.
Cheers! Let’s get started.
The short answer is no. A law firm or small HVAC company can be successful on Instagram. A nutritional supplement company can tap the power of LinkedIn publishing. And you can totally have white wine with chicken wings.
There isn’t a ‘right’ drink that you have to pair with your meal, and there’s no ‘right’ social network for your industry or business type. What matters most is that you understand your business, your audience, and how social media fits into your digital strategy. If you’ve got that locked in, and you’re committed to creating the kind of content your audience wants, the best platform for your company should feel obvious.
How to identify your brand personality
Choosing a social media platform for your company has a lot to do with personality. And just like every business needs social media, our companies need personalities, too.
A huge misconception is that personality only matters for B2C companies selling to Gen Z. But personality isn’t about trying to be quirky or funny or flashy – it’s simply about making a lasting impression. And if your website and social media have no personality, you’ll be instantly forgettable.
Did you know that 62% of B2B buyers make choices based on digital content alone? And a single bad website experience makes B2B users 88% less likely to ever visit it again. (Blue Corona)
The words and images you use should come from the tone you want to evoke. Think of it this way: you can’t use the same packaging on a 6-pack of beer and on a $100 bottle of wine. Likewise, you can’t stick your name and logo on six social channels, post the exact same content with the same copy, and expect results.
We’ve written a thorough guide to developing a brand strategy, including how to define your personality and purpose. It’s worth a read for any business without a brand guide, or those considering a rebrand!
Here are the four key takeaways:
- Identify your business goals – who you are, what you do, and WHY you do it
- Think about what makes your company special; your differentiator plays a huge role in your personality, because it needs to come across even when you’re not directly talking about it
- Use branding exercises (or the awesome Brand Deck) to choose a set of words that describe how you want to be perceived; this should guide all creative (copy, imagery, video) choices
- Study competitors’ websites, social media profiles, and ads to get a sense of the creative assets that they’re using and audience response
While considering each social media platform, keep these questions in mind:
- Who is your target audience, and which platforms do they use most?
- What story are you trying to tell about your business, and your product or service?
- What kinds of content do you plan to consistently produce?
- How will social media support your website?
Now, let’s meet the contenders!
Facebook is a big-name, easy-drinking lager (Molson, Bud, Coors) or an affordable wine (think E & J Gallo). It’s reliable, familiar, and it gets the job done. Try as they might, other social media platforms can’t dethrone this household name.
Sixteen years after its inception, Facebook still reigns as the most popular social platform. It’s the place you go to keep up with family and friends, or snoop on people you used to know. We check Facebook several times a day, often without even thinking about it.
- Facebook has 2.93 billion monthly users
- Facebook ads are among the most affordable ads for small business, and its marketing features extend into Instagram (which is also owned by Meta) and Messenger
- Businesses can host live video events and even charge admission, adding a revenue stream
- Facebook has its own shopping platform, which is a free online storefront for small businesses
- Facebook reviews and your business profile details factor into your website’s SEO
- Facebook also has the widest age spread, with high daily usage among those 18-54
- It’s the content distribution channel of choice for marketers
Like a lager or reasonably priced wine it’s consumed pretty much universally, even by those who regularly splurge on craft beers and European wines.
Get started on Facebook with these guides:
Facebook Marketing: The Ultimate Guide (Hubspot)
Facebook Marketing in 2020: How to Use Facebook for Business (Hootsuite)
The Complete Guide to Digital Marketing Using Facebook (Facebook Business)
LinkedIn is the number one social media platform for professionals. It’s classy, like a fine red wine or a tumbler of whiskey. That isn’t to say that LinkedIn can’t party – but everyone will bring a gift for the host, nothing will get broken, and guests will help tidy up before they head home.
- LinkedIn has over 850 million members
- There are over 58 million company pages
- LinkedIn is considered the most popular social media platform for B2B
- LinkedIn Ads are also particularly powerful for B2B companies, because they offer methods of targeting that no other social media platform can match: education and job experience or title
- It has a built-in publishing platform, Pulse, where businesses can create articles that gain broad reach and drive traffic back to their websites
LinkedIn isn’t weighed down by cat videos and gossip; content shared on LinkedIn is intended to raise a company’s profile, connect with other businesses, and nurture recruitment. It’s the third most-used method to reach out to potential job candidates (aside from phone or email).
LinkedIn is a refined drink, sipped slowly over highly engaging conversation. If you want to get your name in front of the businesses most likely to buy from you, this is your place.
Get started on LinkedIn with these guides:
The Beginner’s Guide to LinkedIn Marketing (Hubspot)
The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn (LinkedIn Marketing)
LinkedIn’s Marketing Resources
Instagram is like a cocktail so pretty you have to pause and gaze at it (or snap a photo) before taking a sip. It can be classy or silly and a little vain, and that’s what makes it so fun.
- Instagram has over 1 billion users
- Those people spend an average of 28 minutes per day on the platform
- Although 127 million of its monthly users are from the U.S. (its largest audience), 89% are from outside the country and 46% of Canadians are on the platform
- 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile per day – and can be exposed to significantly more businesses through recommended content
- Although it’s most popular in the 18-30 age bracket, 71% of B2B companies have an Instagram account according to the 2020 Social Media Marketing Industry Report
- Like Facebook, Instagram offers shopping functionality
- Instagram Reels have been proven to increase reach for business profiles
Instagram is a fantastic place to humanize your company, showcase your values, or to elevate your brand with striking images and video.
A survey released by Facebook (now Meta, owner of Instagram) revealed that people perceive companies who use Instagram as popular, creative, entertaining, relevant, and committed to building a community. Those people use Instagram to discover, research, and make buying decisions about products and services.
Don’t miss this related read: How to Generate B2B Leads with Instagram Marketing!
Like making a gorgeous cocktail, quality Instagram content takes dedication and attention to detail – but the payoff is a delightful and highly memorable impression. Just be careful that the taste lives up to the presentation.
Get started on Instagram with these guides:
Instagram Marketing: The Definitive Guide (Later)
Instagram resources, guides, and training courses (Later)
Instagram Marketing: The Ultimate Guide (Hubspot)
YouTube is like a seasonal beer on tap, because no two breweries will do a summer or winter beer the same way. What you get might be fun, smart, and highly educational… or it might be a dumpster fire of low quality and poor taste.
- YouTube has over 2.1 billion active users
- People watch over 1 billion hours of video on YouTube every day
- It’s the world’s third-most popular search engine (after parent company Google, and Giphy)
- YouTube reaches more people between the ages of 18 and 49 than all U.S. cable TV networks combined
- 60% of users would make a purchase based on advice from a YouTube creator over a TV or or movie personality
- 53% of B2B marketers create organic content for YouTube, while 11% pay for ads on the platform (preferring the preroll, skippable ad format)
YouTube is a great place to add depth to your business content by creating videos and playlists, and engaging with your audience, while boosting your SEO. Think about it – when you type a search into Google, any video results are displayed above the page and post URLs. By creating videos around your target keywords, you can appear above your competitors.
People turn to YouTube to learn a new skill as often as they do to find hilarious entertainment, so there’s no need to try to fit into a specific content or personality box – you could find success creating how-to videos, topic awareness content, customer success stories, case studies, or expert interviews.
When it comes to YouTube, you want to be the tasty beer that’s so good, people stockpile bottles for the off-season. If you don’t feel like you have the time or budget to regularly create good videos, pick a different platform.
Get started on YouTube with these guides:
YouTube Marketing: The Ultimate Guide (Hubspot)
The Complete Guide to Building a Successful YouTube Channel (QuickSprout)
The Beginner’s Guide to YouTube Marketing for Small Businesses (WordStream)
Pinterest is a totally over-the-top fancy caesar (an ultimate bloody Mary for our U.S. friends); it costs more than your meal, but it’s so worth it. You want shrimp on top? Onion rings? Pakora? Tiny burgers? The sky’s the limit.
- Pinterest has over 431 million active monthly users
- There are more than 2 billion searches on Pinterest every month
- 76.7% of global Pinterest users are female
- 40% of U.S. dads use Pinterest, primarily to search for products, healthy recipes, and home projects
- 89% of U.S. pinners use the platform to inspire their purchases
- Shopping is the top priority for 48% of all Pinterest users
- 14% of B2B companies have said they use Pinterest for business
- Pins have the longest shelf life of any type of social media post, because they don’t get buried in an algorithmic timeline – they can always be discovered, pinned, and repinned from other users
- Pinterest shoppers spend up to 80% more than shoppers on other social platforms
Pinterest’s vibe is positive and inspirational. It’s a great place for companies to share engaging content around products, data, and values or causes. Video, infographics, and GIFs perform well on Pinterest.
While other social media platforms use AR for selfie filters, Pinterest Lens allows users to take a photo of something they see and then search Pinterest for similar content. And a new Lens-powered feature called Try On lets people virtually try certain products for sale on Pinterest.
Like an exotic caesar, Pinterest caters to a specific audience that’s willing to spend more for an elevated experience. You need to bring your A-game to meet their expectations.
Get started on Pinterest with these guides:
Pinterest resources and guides (Pinterest for Business)
The Ultimate Guide to Pinterest Marketing (Later)
How to Use Pinterest for Business: “Getting Started” Guide for Beginners (Post Planner)
Twitter is like a game of “surprise me!” roulette with shots at the bar. Sometimes it’s highly informative, sometimes it’s super entertaining, and other times you have no idea what just happened.
- Twitter has 396.5 million active monthly users
- There are 238 million daily users, including 6.45 million in Canada and 83.4 million in the U.S.
- Of those people, the majority (28%) are 35-49 years old
- Around 70% of Twitter users are male
- Twitter is the 4th most popular social media platform for B2B (after Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram)
- Twitter ads are most costly than Facebook on average, but Twitter’s boast a higher engagement rate
Twitter is great for news. You can get a lot of information quickly from world leaders, media, and organizations. But because Twitter is like texting to the entire world, you can also read a ton of trash talk (‘mean tweets’ about celebs are so popular that they have their own late-night show segment). And sometimes your feed is nothing but the repetitive ‘inspirational’ leadership quotes from companies that have been working the same Twitter strategy since 2016.
At this point you might be thinking, why the heck would I use Twitter for my business?
It’s all about the conversational aspect. Twitter is THE place people think to go for quick customer service, and it’s especially useful for SAAS and other tech companies. Popular business messaging platform Slack uses Twitter to share software status updates, to answer customer questions, and to share tips. Social media management tool Hootsuite also has a busy customer support account on Twitter.
Just like telling the bartender to surprise you with a mystery shot, you might do REALLY well using Twitter for your business. Or you might stumble away feeling confused and a bit unwell.
Get started on Twitter with these guides:
Twitter Marketing: The Complete Guide for Business (Hootsuite)
Twitter Marketing: The Only Guide You Need to Succeed (Sprout Social)
How to Use Twitter to Grow Your Business, Traffic and Sales (Post Planner)
Snapchat is a craft cider – that emerging drink trend of the last five years that’s now a regular item on menus and shelves, but it still feels fresh. Snapchat was actually launched almost 10 years ago (2011), so even though it feels kind of cute and ditzy, you can find plenty of reliable Snapchat marketing guides online.
- Snapchat has over 347 million active daily users
- 64% of those users are 34 and under (39% are under 25)
- The average user opens the app’s camera more than 20 times per day
- There are 35 million businesses active on Snapchat
- Users spend an average of 30 minutes on the platform each day
- Unlike Facebook or Instagram feeds, personal and business content is separated for Snapchat users – so you need to be quite active to maintain a presence
Snapchat is less polished and carefully curated than the cocktails and caesars of Instagram and Pinterest. It’s definitely for the playful, cheeky brands, and significantly more popular with B2C companies.
That isn’t to say it won’t work for B2B – it’s finding footing with certain industries like social media (obviously) and communications. And companies in many industries are using the custom geofilters to attract attention to a location or promotional event.
If this sounds like your target audience, and you want your brand to feel fresh and relevant, go forth and launch your smoked seaweed and elderflower cider. There’s an audience waiting to try it.
Get started on Snapchat with these guides:
Snapchat for Business: The Ultimate Marketing Guide (Hootsuite)
Snapchat Marketing: The Ultimate Guide (Hubspot)
Snapchat Business Centre
TikTok is the latest drink trend: a hard seltzer. It’s new, exciting, and way cooler than anything else on the market (although not literally cooler, because they can all be found in the fridge). And unlike other social media platforms, this one is ALL about entertainment.
- TikTok has over 1 billion monthly users
- The app has been downloaded over 3 billion times, and is currently the most downloaded app in the Apple App store
- Over 37% of TikTok users are 30 or older
- U.S. users spend an average of 38 minutes each day on TikTok
- 20.6% of social media shoppers buy items from TikTok “all the time”
- Although TikTok’s user base is still largely outside North America (primarily India and China), there are over 226 million users within North America
TikTok is great for those who want to reach a younger audience, be innovators on a new video platform, and primarily share entertaining content. Small business owners with a youthful brand and entrepreneurial individuals (like TikTok’s marketers and designers) can do well on TikTok.
That doesn’t mean it’s not for B2B! Being the most popular video platform, TikTok offers lots of advantages in reaching other businesses – plus it’s a great way to elevate your brand storytelling. Read all about it in our roundup of TikTok B2B marketing tips.
Like a hard seltzer, TikTok isn’t the place for every business. Plenty of people prefer beer, and that’s fine! You don’t have to switch to the trendy new drink just because everyone is talking about it.
Get started on TikTok with these guides:
The Ultimate Guide to TikTok Marketing (Later)
How to Use TikTok for Business: A Beginner’s Guide (Looka)
How to Get Started With TikTok: A Guide for Marketers (Social Media Examiner)
Like people who are into sour ales or double-hopped IPAs, Reddit users have very specific tastes. It’s the niche of all niches, while still being a social site. You don’t wing it on Reddit – you need to have a plan that starts with knowing if you belong on Reddit.
- There are over 48 million monthly active users on Reddit
- Reddit receives 52 million visitors each day
- There are over 46.7 million daily searches on Reddit
- Reddit is more popular with males than females
- Reddit have over 100,000 active communities
- 38% of Reddit users are tech enthusiasts
- External links are the most popular type of content
- Reddit offers promoted posts and ads, and claims to influence purchasing decisions
Reddit is more of a social forum than a social media platform. It’s the place to go for useful, relevant information, conversations, and data. There are subreddits (Reddit communities) on everything from news, politics, and games to SEO, science, and, of course, stupidity.
It can be a huge asset for businesses that earn Reddit users’ trust, and that’s a process in itself. You can’t just pop onto Reddit, create an account, and start sharing links to your company’s website and trying to host an AMA (ask me anything). You need to spend time commenting, upvoting and downvoting, and answering questions.
Like people who prefer sour ales or extra-hoppy IPAs, a Reddit community will be a smaller but much more loyal and engaged group than typical ‘followers’. If you establish yourself as trustworthy, credible, and not in it solely for promotion, you can use Reddit to grow a real community around your business.
Get started on Reddit with these guides:
How to Market on Reddit: A Guide for Businesses (Social Media Examiner)
The Ultimate Guide to Reddit Marketing: How to Grow Your Business Using Reddit (Elegant Themes)
How 10 Brands Use Reddit for Marketing (Hubspot)
We hope our guide to picking the best social media platform for your business was helpful! Remember that it’s all about your personality. It’s totally possible to be successful on an unexpected platform, if you’re tuned into the tastes of your audience.