Social media is a vital tool for any business’ marketing strategy. More than 3.6 billion people use social media platforms worldwide, 42 million of those being in the UK. These users are spread across different age groups, each with different content preferences. This is reflected in the social media platforms they use.

As a brand, it is important to know which platform to take advantage of. By understanding the demographics of each social media platform, you can identify the best way to reach your target audience.

This article looks at the five main social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. We will delve into each platform’s demographics as well as effective methods for engaging these groups.

Facebook

Facebook remains the largest social media platform. With more than 2.7 billion active users, (that’s a third of people on earth), it’s easy to see why companies find advertising on Facebook attractive. The largest demographic is 25-34-year-old men, closely followed by 18-24-year-old women. Despite having the largest reach among teenage users, numbers in this group are decreasing. Today’s teens are opting for other platforms, such as Instagram and TikTok. On the other hand, Facebook has seen a steady increase in the baby boomer generation.  In fact, in the US, 46% of people aged 65 and older now use Facebook.

The most effective way to reach these groups is to promote your business profile using paid ads. These come in various forms:

  1. Photos – post fun photos that capture your brand essence.
  2. Videos – gain attention through engaging movement and sound.
  3. Messenger – one-on-one marketing tactic that initiates conversation with the customer.
  4. Carousel – can show up to 10 images or videos whilst including a website link.

Posting the ad is not enough. You have to keep working to ensure your content is not only reaching, but effectively engaging your target audience. There are a few ways to increase engagement on Facebook:

  • Emoji use generates higher likes, comments and shares.
  • Share photos posted by customers, crediting the creator.
  • Run contests to bring in new customers.
  • Asking open-ended questions.
  • Go live – live videos are interacted with 6 times more than normal videos.

LinkedIn

With 260 million monthly users, a strong LinkedIn page benefits companies and individuals looking to improve their network. LinkedIn is made up of 26 million users in the UK, making it a great place for B2B and B2C businesses to advertise locally. Users aged 25-34 make up 60% of LinkedIn’s profiles, which presents a great opportunity for advertising.

LinkedIn allows for three different methods of paid advertising:

  1. Sponsored Content – this includes images, videos, and carousels.
  2. Direct Sponsored Content – target different groups without the ad cluttering your timeline.
  3. Sponsored InMail – direct message to a customer’s inbox to create conversation.

Whichever method you choose, you have to keep your audience interested. So here are a few tips to keep in mind when working on LinkedIn:

  • Articles without a video engage more people than those with videos.
  • Tell a story in your post.
  • Try dispelling a myth about your industry.
  • Ask questions.

Twitter

Twitter is primarily used by a slightly younger demographic. 18-29-year-olds are the largest group, with 80% of active users identified as affluent millennials. Users on Twitter spend 26% more time when viewing ads than other platforms, making it a great place to advertise.

Twitter may have less ad options than Facebook and LinkedIn, but it can still target these audiences effectively. With Twitter’s “Objective-based Campaigns” you can choose the audience you want to target and further subcategorise by location, language, gender, interests, and behaviours.

Here are some tips to target these demographics and boost engagement:

  • Tweets with GIFs perform better than those without.
  • 100-character tweets perform 18%
  • Images and videos increase engagement.
  • 80% of content should aim to build relationships with your customer vs 20% promotional.
  • Post about current trends.

Instagram

67% of Instagram users are aged between 18-29 years old, making it an ideal platform to target younger users. 78% of users perceive brands an Instagram profile as being popular, with 90% of users following at least one business account.

There are a number of ways to reach young people on Instagram, most working in the same way as Facebooks ads. These include:

  1. Stories – a great way to reach customers daily without cluttering your timeline.
  2. Photos – young adults want to see creative photos that stand out.
  3. Explore – ads which show up on the explore page, making it easier to be discovered.
  4. IGTV – long-form videos designed for mobile viewing; perfect as users tend to access Instagram from mobile devices.

Remember, it’s not just about the ads you create, but about how well you can engage your Instagram followers. With this in mind, stick to these posting habits:

  • Use trending hashtags.
  • Go live to engage younger audiences.
  • Host giveaways.
  • Make use of influencers.
  • Use high-quality filters.

TikTok

TikTok is relatively new to the game, but it is slowly dominating the market in the youngest demographic. 27% of users are aged 13-17 and 42% are aged 18-24. As the most downloaded app on the Apple store, it is certainly worth your attention.

Though advertising options are in their infancy, the platform can still be used to build brand awareness and reputation with these age groups. There are a number of ways to do this:

  • Make use of trending hashtags.
  • Use popular sounds.
  • Keep up to date with trends.
  • Take part in and create challenges.
  • Collaborate with TikTok influencers.

Allocating Your Resources

Each platform allows you to create a free profile, but it is often the paying profiles that reach the most people. Running an effective social media page requires considerable time and effort, so you should invest wisely. Understanding your target audience and where they can be found is an important step in choosing where to concentrate your resources. If your platform isn’t reaching the engagement numbers you had hoped for, take a step back. Ask yourself whether it is the right platform for your audience, if you should invest in paid promotion to reach more people, and how to properly engage your new and existing customers.

Want to learn more about engaging your audience? Take a look at how to make social media work by asking yourself a few simple questions here.