Consider the last piece of content you shared and what inspired or compelled you to do so. Maybe it was funny or joy-inducing; perhaps it was packed with useful information or offered a solution to a loved one’s problem. We share content because we are social creatures. We live in groups, work in teams, and form political and economic alliances.
In that context, it should come as no surprise that social media has risen to its current level of popularity and prominence. With roughly four billion users worldwide, social media has become a norm of modern living.
Below you’ll find a high-level overview of how social media can support your brand, along with the top-ranking social media platforms in 2023 and emerging platforms to consider adding to your social media strategy.
How can social media apps support your brand?
Active social media users spend 147 minutes per day on average on social media apps. This equates to a window of opportunity of over two hours per day during which current and potential customers can interact with your brand.
A strong social media presence offers potential benefits for brands, such as:
- Building relationships with existing and potential customers
- Improving and sustaining brand visibility
- Driving traffic to your website or ecommerce store
- Increasing sales
To tap into these benefits, you must first develop an understanding of the social media landscape.
5 top social media platforms for brands in 2023
The following list includes the top-ranking social media platforms based on the commonly used metric monthly active users (MAU). The best social media app for any business depends on who your customers are and where they spend time online. Coupling MAU with your own customer data can help you develop a robust social media marketing strategy that will meet your target audience where they are.
- Monthly active users: 2.9 billion
- Demographics: Largest audience is 25- to 34-year-olds (23.8%), followed by 18- to 24-year-olds (18.4%).
- Facebook Messenger: A messaging app within Facebook that allows brands to engage with customers directly.
- Meta Ads Manager: A tool that allows you to create, launch, and manage ad campaigns on desktop and mobile.
- Facebook Shop: A feature that allows you to sell products directly from a Facebook storefront.
- Meta Business Suite: A tool that allows you to manage all business activity across Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram.
- Sales integrations: Shopify’s Facebook and Instagram integration makes it easier to sell from your ecommerce store on the platform.
As one of the first social media platforms to come to market, Facebook remains No. 1, with the most monthly users of any platform. Facebook offers a suite of tools that let you create content and engage directly with your audience through comments, reactions, and Facebook’s instant messaging offering, Messenger. If you’re using Facebook parent company Meta’s other big platform, Instagram, the Meta Business Suite allows you to manage all your store’s interactions in one place.
- Monthly active users: 2.5 billion
- Demographics: 20.7% of YouTube's total ad audience falls between the ages of 25 and 34. Globally, 45.6% of users are female and 54.4% are male.
- YouTube Analytics: A tool that measures metrics such as video views, watch time, audience retention, engagement, and revenue earned.
- YouTube ads: A tool that allows you to launch in-stream ads (ads that appear within YouTube videos), overlays, and banner ads.
- Sales integrations: Shopify’s YouTube integration allows you to pin products to your videos, making it easier for viewers to find featured products.
More than 75% of Americans between the ages of 15 and 25 are on the video-sharing platform YouTube, and billions use this platform monthly. YouTube is one of the most popular social platforms for influencer marketing. Whether through haul videos or “shop with me” vlogs, the video content from creators (otherwise known as influencers) on YouTube can help your customers learn more about your products and understand the value they can get from a purchase.
- Instagram Shopping: A tool that allows you to create product catalogs, detail pages, and tags within the app.
- Shopping for Creators: A tool that enables influencers and other content creators to add your product tags to their Instagram posts and Stories.
With 70% of shoppers looking to Instagram for their next purchase and more than 200 million business accounts visited each day, this platform remains one of the top social media apps for brands. Instagram offers a growing suite of digital marketing, advertising, and sales tools. It often rolls out new features and functions to support ecommerce on the platform. You can make it easy for your customers to shop online by tagging shoppable products in your feed posts and Stories (posts that stay live for 24 hours).
- Monthly active users: 1 billion
- Demographics: 38.5% of TikTok users around the world are between 18 and 24 years old.
- Creative Center: A tool that provides examples of high-performing ads, trend insights, and competitor analytics.
- TikTok Ads Manager: A set of tools to help you create, edit, launch, and track ads within the app.
- TikTok Shop: An app integration that allows you to promote and sell products within TikTok.
- Sales integrations: If you have an ecommerce store, you can sell on TikTok directly from Shopify.
Launched as the international version of the Chinese app Douyin in 2017, TikTok continues to be one of the most downloaded apps in the US in 2023. The platform has quickly grown into an excellent social channel for reaching millennial and Gen Z consumers—particularly women under the age of 35. TikTok is one of the best social media apps for influencer marketing and user-generated content because its powerful algorithm is able to connect niche audiences with relevant, engaging content.
- Monthly active users: 635 million
- Demographics: 38% of Snapchat users are 18- to 24-years-old and another 20% of users are between the ages of 13 and 17.
- Snapchat Business Manager: A tool that offers detailed audience analytics and the ability to create custom, branded filters and lenses.
- Creator Marketplace: Snapchat’s in-house platform for connecting with creators and building influencer marketing campaigns.
- Sales integrations: You can use the Snapchat Ads app to create and execute Snapchat ads that direct back to products in your Shopify store.
Since its launch in 2011, Snapchat has been offering another way to engage with younger audiences via short videos and photos. The social media messaging app is most well-known for disappearing content after it’s viewed, but it also features content-enhancing filters, effects, and augmented reality lenses. If you have a youthful target audience, you might benefit from interacting with Snapchat’s user base, the majority of which is under 34 years old.
2 growing social media platforms to watch in 2023
The social media scene is always evolving, with new players emerging regularly. Here are two popular social media apps that may be interesting venues for expanding your social strategy:
If you’re familiar with the Amazon-owned Twitch, you may have pegged it as a gaming-centric livestream platform, but the lifestyle content on Twitch has expanded into everything from makeup to cooking. The platform has 140 million monthly active users, the majority of which are males under 30. With its focus on connection and community building, it offers ample opportunity for influencer marketing.
Like Twitch, Discord initially made inroads into the gaming community but has since expanded into a more well-rounded chat-based platform supporting text, audio, and video chats. While you can’t do paid advertising on Discord, brands can create their own channels, servers, and dedicated forums to connect with the platform's 154 million monthly active users (as of 2023).
Social media platforms FAQ
How can you measure the success of social media app marketing campaigns?
Effective measurement is informed by your overall social media strategy and/or campaign-specific strategy. Some of the most common metrics used to measure the success of social media app marketing campaigns include:
- Reach: The number of users who saw your content.
- Impressions: The total number of times your content was viewed, including multiple views from any particular user.
- Engagement: Interaction with your content through likes, comments, shares, and clicks.
- Shares: How many times your content was shared.
- Referrals: How many people landed on your website via a social channel.
- Conversions: How many purchases were made through a social referral.
- Audience growth rate: How many new followers a social channel gains over a period of time.
- Share of social voice (SSoV): How many people are talking about your brand or product compared to competitors.
Can you use influencer marketing on social media apps?
Yes, many popular social networking sites—such as YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitch—offer ample opportunity for influencer marketing and an effective way to reach your target demographic.
Should your brand create content specifically for each social media app?
While it can be cost-effective to repurpose content across platforms, referred to as “cross-posting,” you may see better results by crafting platform-specific content. For one, many social media users are on multiple platforms and may be put off by repetition. Additionally, each platform offers its own experience, with features and content formats to support that experience.