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There are many social media channels out there– the question is, which one should you be on to benefit your business the most? This is a worldwide list with some interesting numbers…

  1. Facebook has 2.936 billion monthly active users
  2. YouTube’s potential advertising reach is 2.476 billion
  3. WhatsApp has at least 2 billion monthly active users
  4. Instagram’s potential advertising reach is 1.440 billion
  5. WeChat has 1.288 billion monthly active users
  6. TikTok ads reach 1.02 billion adults each month
  7. LinkedIn has over 706 million users
  8. Telegram has 700 million monthly active users
  9. Snapchat’s potential advertising reach is 617 million
  10. Twitter’s potential advertising reach is roughly 486 million
  11. Pinterest has 433 million monthly active users
  12. Reddit has around 430 million monthly active users
  13. Tumblr has around 400 million monthly visits
  14. Flickr has about 90 million users in a month

There are a bunch of others including \ Vimeo, Skype, SlideShare, Yelp, Nextdoor, Quora, XING, Viber, Foursquare, Scribd, Meetup, Mix, DeviantArt, SoundCloud, Ravelry, Goodreads, Behance, Bloglovin’, Influenster, ReverbNation, Twitch, AllRecipes, Flipboard, Medium, and BizSugar. If you’ve never heard of most of them, neither have I. You can see what they all are here.

New Zealand Social Media Platforms

Let’s narrow down the list to make it applicable to businesses in New Zealand. The percentage rates show the population claiming to use the platform each month (as of March 2023).

  1. Facebook 63.88%
  2. Twitter 14.52%
  3. Instagram 12.25%
  4. Pinterest 5.23%
  5. YouTube 1.98%
  6. Reddit 1.13%

Even I’ll admit, I didn’t see that coming. Look at the gap between Facebook and any of the others! Where’s TikTok or LinkedIn? Apparently, under ‘other’.

Before you jump in and decide that Facebook is the place to be, no matter how many active users it has, the first question must be WHO is your audience? Because only then can we figure out WHERE they are so you can market to them.

Who is your audience?

Almost every business owner can probably say that everyone is their audience. Agree – but what you need to figure out is, who is your TARGET audience? Think of your favourite clients and make a list of their characteristics – largest deal sizes, longest retention, or even easiest people to deal with. It is best to look at real data because sometimes who you think wouldn’t be on the list, is.

If it’s a big list, break it down a little further. Find the customers that are…

  1. the biggest earners with the least amount of work, and
  2. the ones who might not be the most profitable, but they are repeat customers.

Now, what do they have in common? Are they family oriented? Corporate/professional, trade, retail, industrial, etc. How old are they? Are they predominantly male or female? Then it should become clearer as to which social media platform they use.

Where is your audience?

Social media channels have personalities too, so now you just need to match up your target audience with the social media channel they match. I’ve compiled a list below, which is purely my opinion.

Facebook – the spray and pray

Yes, it is the largest so will have the most reach. The audience uses the platform to connect with friends and family. It has a good gender mix (44% female/56% male). For smaller businesses, Facebook ads have the tools to target a smaller scale of audiences that are more local. However, the audience is growing older as younger users choose alternative platforms. I call this one the ‘spray and pray’ platform because you put your content out there (targeted as much as you can), and hope it gets engagement. Facebook does not work for every business though. For example, a lawyer will be on one side of a dispute – if his client loses, they could put something negative on the page. As could the loser on the other side, even if their client wins.

Instagram – a thousand words

A popular channel for influencers, high-profile brands, and small businesses for sharing more creative content. 71% of users are under the age of 35, but it does have an even split between men and women users. This channel is excellent for personal engagement; however, it can be very time-consuming to constantly post well-curated content. It also isn’t link-friendly, meaning you can’t put clickable links in your posts. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so if you can put your business into pictures, this is the channel for you.

LinkedIn – business to business

This is a professional networking platform, and whilst it used to be predominantly a job-hunting destination, it’s now a place for business-to-business marketing. Content such as blog posts, product launches and short videos work on this channel to increase engagement. It’s a bit more male than female (57% male/43% female) and 30-40% of users are in their thirties or forties (so not really a channel to target young people). It has great audience targeting tools for location and industry.

YouTube – bang for your buck

Technically a search engine for videos, so businesses with entertaining or educational information should use this channel. It has a younger audience of 15-34-year-olds and much like Facebook, has quite a large audience reach. Marketing on this channel is more complicated, but at present is quite cheap compared to advertising on other channels.

Those are my top four for the New Zealand market, but if your business is quite niche, then these might tickle your fancy.

TikTok – laidback and informal

Used for creating and sharing 15-second videos such as comedic skits or music-style videos. Over half of the viewers are under the age of 25, with the biggest age group 16-24-year-olds. Exposure on this channel will put you in front of a high volume of traffic, but very laidback and informal – so ensure it aligns with your brand.

Twitter – in bed with Google

This platform crowd-sources news and discussion enabling users to communicate thoughts and opinions. Two-thirds of this channel is male and the majority of users are aged 35-65. Twitter is in bed with Google, so tweets can show up in Google results. It also uses your targeted keywords to attract an audience outside of your followers which can greatly increase your traffic. Not so popular in New Zealand though, mostly reserved for famous people and products.

Snapchat – thank you, next

Used to message and update your friend group through disappearing pictures and 10-second videos. Best used as entertainment for your audience. 78% of 18-24-year-olds are daily users. You’ll have to be quick and interesting to not get skipped by the younger generation.

What is your content?

Sometimes the type of content you have access to will determine the channel – for example;

  1. Products and services that can be photographed – Instagram
  2. Selling a product or service to a business – LinkedIn
  3. Educational and informative – YouTube
  4. None of the above – Facebook

In closing

Not all channels are solely used for marketing to your audience, some serve another purpose, such as attracting new employees, thought leadership, developing community in commonalities, and so on. And sometimes you might need to be on more than one.

I’ll admit that the decision as to which platform can be overwhelming, just as much as learning a new social media channel can be. But one step at a time, look at your data, and the rest will come from there.

One day, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook will merge to become one channel. It will be known as ‘You Twit Face’. Ha ha, just kidding. Next month I’ll write about timing – how often can you send a newsletter or post on social media?

Get in touch if you’d like to talk more about content marketing.