• Comparing Social Media Platforms for Marketing

Comparing Social Media Platforms for Marketing

Social media provides many unique marketing opportunities for business. It connects businesses directly to the their audience and delivers near immediate feedback from them. The challenge most business owners face is that some social media outlets are better suited for particular marketing goals and business types over others. Knowing which to use for what purpose can make a big difference in your social media marketing efforts. Take a look at our breakdown of the most popular social media platforms, and how best to use them to your advantage.

Comparing Social Media Platforms for Marketing

Marketing on Facebook

Facebook Usage

Facebook remains at the head of the pack as far as number of users (1.86 billion monthly users, to be exact), providing no shortage of potential customers to get in front of.

Facebook Marketing Benefits


The success rates of Facebook Marketing is in large part due to the ability to target users based on their actual interests.Facebook’s targeting abilities eliminate the need to purchase lists (which can be pricey). Businesses can post and advertise in front of highly specific groups, based on demographics such as location, special interests, gender, age, and household size. You can even target more specific niches, such as people who own dogs, who donate to veteran causes, who buy baby products, etc.


Many social media platforms have limitations in specific areas (such as characters per post) or are better suited for one medium (such as visual content). Facebook, on the other hand, continues to support a wide variety of post lengths, marketing goals, and content types (visual, text-heavy, live video, and more).

Direct Contact

Your Facebook business page allows you to incorporate important contact information as well as a call to action of your choosing. As a result, Facebook makes it easier for interested consumers to connect with you directly.


The analytics Facebook provides is another major plus. With it you can track the touchpoint that resulted in a conversion, or measure Facebook engagements around specific initiatives such as number of shares and link clicks. 

Facebook Marketing Limitations

Keep in mind that 45% of its users are over the age of 35 and users in the 55+ range are on the rise. So, if your target audience is a bit on the younger side you may do better with other social media platforms. Also, you have limited copy space when using Ad Manager to create your ads – it allows 90 characters max so you’ll need to say a lot without saying much at all!

Marketing on Twitter

Twitter Usage

With 313 million monthly users, Twitter has become a popular “watering hole” for plenty of small businesses.

Twitter Marketing Benefits


While Facebook is particularly useful for online advertising, Twitter offers benefits through its direct communication capabilities. Twitter users look to the platform to connect directly with brands and people they’re interested in.

Deeper Connections

Twitter users resort to this platform to get their news and share their opinions. Twitter makes a great place to connect with specific groups and build relationships based upon what is important to them—and to your business. If you’re looking to do any of the following, Twitter is the perfect place to start:

  • Build relationships with consumers
  • Network with industry professionals
  • Improve the customer’s experience by responding directly to their feedback, questions or concerns

Twitter Marketing Limitations

Like Facebook, Twitter provides targeted ad campaigns based on general user demographics as well as follow up analytics info. However, they’re not as robust as Facebook. One other limitation is the widely known 140 character limit per post.

Marketing on Instagram

Instagram Usage

Climbing the charts in popularity with 600 million monthly visitors, Instagram is a premium place to market your business and reach consumers. 

Instagram Marketing Benefits


Audience targeting abilities are the same as Facebook (their parent company) so you’ll get all the same perks when narrowing down your audience. 


Instagram users are 58 times more likely to share an Instagram post than one from Facebook and 120 times more likely than a Twitter post. Those numbers alone are pretty convincing if you’re on the fence about jumping into Instagram ads.

Brand Awareness

Instagram provides the perfect arena to create your brand’s voice and personality. Images make a more lasting impression than text alone. Setting the scene for your brand and associating your product or services with a specific look, lifestyle or activity helps users to relate on a stronger level and ultimately want to incorporate what you’re selling into their lives.

Related: Getting Started with Instagram

Instagram Marketing Limitations

Demographically speaking, Instagram users are almost entirely made up of 15-35-year-olds with 73% of users falling in this category. Also, nearly half of them are professionals or have college degrees. One other limitation of Instagram is that posts and direct messages don’t currently support clickable links, so it is important to make it easy for users to copy and paste, or easy to remember and recall.

Marketing on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Usage

With 106 million monthly users, LinkedIn offers a significantly sized audience to engage with.

LinkedIn Marketing Benefits


LinkedIn’s targeting opportunities are very specific, if you’re looking to reach people by industry or job type. If you’re primarily looking to conduct B2B marketing you’re in the right place. All the basic targeting parameters are also available like location, gender, age, etc.


A big plus about LinkedIn advertising is that users expect it! They are, after all, using a social media platform created for professional networking, which means they’re more receptive to your advertising.

LinkedIn Marketing Limitations

LinkedIn can be a lucrative place to market your business but is not for everyone. Users on this platform are there for one reason, to advance their careers and businesses.

One other major downfall of LinkedIn is the cost of advertising. Even though you’ll likely see high impression numbers, the click-through rates will likely be small. You’ll be relying more heavily on your conversion pages than the interactions and connections made via social media. If you normally see high conversion rates after users make their way to your landing pages then LinkedIn could prove to be a good choice for you.

Marketing on Pinterest

Pinterest Usage

Pinterest has 150 million monthly users, which is significantly less than the other social media platforms. However, Pinterest is still an effective marketing tool for business. nearly 90% of Pinterest users have made purchases based on what they’ve found on the platform demonstrating that they’re willing, and in fact looking, to find products and services from their Pinterest searches.

Pinterest Marketing Benefits

Website Traffic

Driving traffic from Pinterest to external sites is easier than other platforms. Images that you upload to Pinterest are automatically hyperlinked to their source, so in one click  (or tap) the user can find his or herself directed to a site of your choosing.


Because the site is an image sharing platform meant to provide users with visual inspiration, professionals in the fashion industry, interior design, travel, home goods, etc. will see the most benefit from engaging with a Pinterest audience for business.

Brand Awareness

With Pinterest, you can increase brand awareness through promoted pins and track their performance through the platform’s analytical offerings. Metrics and data are not as robust as other social media sites, but if you’re looking for something more simple with relatively high conversion rates, then look no further than Pinterest.

Pinterest Marketing Limitations 

The Pinterest user population is mostly comprised of women with 68% of users being female. This means that if you’re a B2B marketer, Pinterest may not be the first place you should look to market or advertise.

As you can see, each social media platform shares many of the same basics when it comes to online marketing opportunities. Deciding which to use will depend on the type of audience you’re looking to target and the type of campaigns you’d like to create. No matter which you choose, it’s always important to track results to prevent you from spinning your wheels on campaigns that aren’t benefitting you the way they should.

Kristen McCormick
Kristen McCormick
Kristen is the Content Marketing Manager for ThriveHive, where she geeks out daily over SEO, organic traffic, and A/B testing. When she's not equipping business owners and marketers to get their name out there through effective content, she's out pedaling the streets of Boston on her beloved bike.

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