Social Media Marketing Platform Guide 2021

Social-Media-Marketing-Platform-Guide-2021

Social Media Platforms Guide Updated For 2021

Social media marketing has proven to be an essential part of business in the modern digital age. While the majority of business leaders and marketers are well versed by now in social media marketing, not everyone is on board yet. There are still a lot of companies, C-Suite level executives, and "old school" workers that aren't aware of what social media marketing platforms really offer, even in 2021. 

Or their knowledge and experience may be stuck 10 years in the past when Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn were the only real players in the social media game and things were much different! Most business professionals know the benefits of social media marketing, but below I've written a simplified outline on the various social media platforms that are reshaping the world of business today. You'll also find many links to more detailed and advanced articles or guides I've written on individual platforms, strategies, and case studies for 2021. 

Most of your top social media management services will be able to provide plans for these various platforms that I’m about to cover. Now without further ado, here is your guide to social media marketing platforms for business in 2021: 

Updated 2021 Social Media Marketing Platform Guide

Facebook

Facebook, founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and publicly held, is the largest social network with about 2 Billion users worldwide. Over the past 5 years Facebook has updated their algorithms so that brand page posts now only reach about 1-1.5% of the people who like the page. This means that for most businesses, paid Facebook ads and more post engagement (shares & discussion), are crucial to maximize results. Facebook for the most part covers the majority of social media users but user growth has plateaued a bit in the US. Facebook users range from tweens to those in their 70's and 80's. The latter end of the spectrum has actually been growing much faster than the former because the teen and millennial demographic have migrated more to Instagram (owned by Facebook) and TikTok in 2021. 

Facebook is still the leader in the world of social media for now, but recently has struggled mightily with privacy, data leakage, user manipulation, alt-right hate groups, and fake news scandals. While more people use it worldwide than any other platform, it's reputation and cool factor have been damaged irreparably and many advertisers and users have pulled out and switched social media platforms in 2021. 

Twitter

Twitter, founded in 2006 and publicly held, currently has about 400 Million users. It is a platform that is ideal for sharing quick live updates and articles of interest. You can also link live videos directly to your account or through an app they own called Periscope, although a lot fewer people still use that medium. 

Twitter started the use of hashtags, which has since been utilized heavily on Instagram and even a small amount on Facebook. Without Twitter, there would be no hashtags!

Twitter use has plateaued over the past year and a lot of the younger users (that originally flocked to Twitter from Facebook), have been migrating more to Instagram and Snapchat. Although not as extreme as Facebook, not everyone who follows you will see your posts, and a lot can get lost in the shuffle. 

Advertising on Twitter can be a little more expensive and a little less effective in my opinion, but it depends on your goals and industry. 

In 2021 Twitter is more profitable and relevant than ever before due to politics and social movements, but is mired in controversy over the same issues and accusations of censorship.

Instagram

Instagram, started in 2010 and bought by Facebook in 2012, now has over about 1.2 billion million users in 2021. The majority of them are teens and millennials, although there has been more recent growth from other age groups. Instagram is best used to display high quality images, videos, and live content (with a new feature called "Stories" that looks to compete directly with Snapchat). 

The Instagram platform created the popular "Filters" to easily enhance images and videos before posting them and helped to further popularize the infamous "selfie" pictures. Advertising on Instagram is similar to Facebook due to ownership. Instagram is the hottest social media platform today and is helping to keep Facebook profits afloat amid privacy scandals. 

Snapchat

Snapchat, founded in 2011 and now publicly owned (March 2017 IPO), now has around 200 million daily users... up a massive amount in just the last year. Many younger users got started on Snapchat because your posts disappear after 24 hours and purposely because very few "older" people used it. Snapchat has more advanced and customized Filters and other image modifications when compared with Instagram. Besides messaging other users, it is primarily used by advertisers by growing followers and posting pictures and videos. 

You can also pay for custom branded image / video filters or to feature your media. It's much more difficult to measure web traffic or sales generated through Snapchat marketing compared with other more traditional platforms. But if you're trying to reach teens and millennials, Snapchat is still a big and growing platform to do so. 

Time will tell how Snapchat will grow and monetize after its impressive initial public offering of around $25 Billion. Can it compete with Instagram stories, will it's growth continue to slow, and will it ever turn a profit? 

So far the answer to that is no, with Snapchat use plateauing and slowly declining recently. Instagram has done too good of a job of copying and improving upon Snapchat's key features, and even Twitter has had a revival after the most recent presidential elections and even more recent profitability. Snapchat is far from dead, but it has become less relevant with each passing year since 2017.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn, founded in 2002 and just now being purchased by Microsoft, boasts around 500 million users. It is primarily for professional networking and Business-To-Business (B2B) marketing. In terms of marketing Business-To-Consumer (B2C), you can reach out to some (most likely) higher paying customers... but it's more useful to connect with vendors, company decision makers, and candidates for employment. 

The LinkedIn platform can also be used successfully to promote events and publish PR-friendly content. Sharing content, especially video, is now incredibly popular on LI and a very effective way of generating leads.

Pinterest


Pinterest, founded in 2010 and still privately owned, has over 100 million regular users. It's essentially a catalog of images, videos, and infographics that are of interest to it's users. Nearly every image or video on the web can be "pinned" on to boards of any topic that you create and shared with your followers. 

Pinterest also has a user base of about 80% women so that is very important to acknowledge when identifying your marketing strategy. It's an excellent platform to refer traffic to your website, share "How-To" type or other informational posts, and drive customers to your eCommerce site. Pinterest advertising revenue has grown significantly recently and they are planning an IPO soon. 

YouTube

YouTube, founded in 2005 and purchased by Google in 2006, has well over 1 Billion users. It's primarily for uploading and sharing videos, along with creating a brand community. If used properly, you can leverage this social network for some incredible publicity and product marketing. Although now there are so many videos and channels competing for views that it is sometimes more challenging to get your videos noticed and your channel's subscriptions higher. Rivals Facebook and Twitter have also made it more difficult to share YouTube videos on their platforms because they want to give the advantage to their native videos and live recording programs. 

TikTok 

TikTok is a privately held company that started in 2016 and gained major momentum beginning in 2019 for short form video sharing. It has been incredibly popular with tweens, teens, and Gen Z. It has exploded into 2020 and 2021 with over 800 million active users and continues growing in popularity with celebrities and users, taking attention away from Snapchat and Instagram. These viral videos are all the rage in 2021 and will continue to grow, stealing Instagram's market share significantly. They even launched a new paid influencer program to stoke even more creative juices from top users.

Clubhouse 

Clubhouse is a brand new privately owned social media audio platform for big influencers and business leaders. It's an audio chat room style platform to discuss topics and listen to huge business leaders you never would normally be able to interact with, such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. Clubhouse is exploding in 2021, but you still need an invite from an existing member to join the fun.

Hive 

Hive is a new privately owned social media platform that is simple no-BS setup with a basic interface. Think of it as a combination of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter without some of the nonsense and data issues. It's actually been around since 2019 but Hive has blown up in 2021. Currently available only on the Apple App store, it could be one of the fastest growing social media platforms for 2021.

Google+ (RIP)

Google+ aka Google Plus aka G+, founded in 2011 (and now dismantled in August 2019 with only 500,000 active users), at one point claimed to have had hundreds of millions of active users but very low usage rate. 

The reason why so many users were registered is because it was basically a requirement with other Google services and billions of people use Google Search, YouTube videos, Gmail, Google Maps, and dozens of other popular programs. Although it is mostly considered a failure compared to other social networks, you can still get some website traffic from it and a possible increase in the search engine rank of your websites (your website may be found in more organically in search engines like Google). It is still worth creating personal and business profiles (and/or Google Maps listings) and updating, but not worth spending more than a few minutes on every month.

Oh well, you had a good run (kind of) while it lasted Google Plus!

Reddit

Reddit, founded in 2005 and private owned (a subsidiary of Advance Publications) is an aggregation site and community that ranks as one of the most popular websites in the world. It has a lot of unique and viral content for nearly every niche from politics to popular culture. 

Reddit isn't always considered as a mainstream social media site for marketing purposes but it has around half a billion active monthly users. It also drives an incredible amount of traffic. Like many forums and online communities, you need to learn the nuances of the platform and make sure to contribute more than broadcast your posts. Pictures, videos, memes, and quotes do very well on this platform. It's garned incredible publicity in 2021 due to WallStreetBets, Stonks, Silver Squeezes, and Gamestop stock explosions. 

If you haven't tried out Reddit you could be missing out on an exceptional business opportunity in 2021. 

Tumblr

Tumblr, founded in 2007 and bought by Yahoo in 2013 (an unceremoneously sold to WordPress in 2019 for a paltry $3 million after a previous valuation of $1 billion!), is a micro-blogging and social media site for sharing multimedia and short-form content. It's primary users are teenagers and Millennials. In my opinion it's more useful these days if you don't already have a website and/or blog. Like Reddit, Tumblr has a unique community culture that makes it a little more challenging for the average marketer to sell effectively. Obviously pictures, videos, GIF's, infographics, and anything else visual will be successful on Tumblr. Large blocks of text will most likely be detrimental to your efforts. 

Tumblr isn't dead yet, but it's certainly on life support now. It has improved a bit under new ownership, but only time will tell if WordPress can turn it around more in 2021.

Foursquare & Swarm

Foursquare (and the similar app handcuffed to it called Swarm), launched in 2009 and still privately owned, allows users to find business locations near them, rate them, get tips, visit their website etc. It has not been used nearly as much as it did 5+ years ago, but still boasts around 50 million registered users. It's still worth taking a small amount of time listing your businesses on Foursquare to cover your bases, but not advertising in my opinion. But overall Foursquare and Swarm have been taken over by Facebook, Google Maps, and Waze for the most part.

Quora

Quora is a privately owned social network launched in 2009 and became publicly available in 2010. It's kind of a combination of LinkedIn, Reddit, Google Answers, and your typical question / answer forum. Members ask questions on any subject you can imagine and other members experienced with those topics provide unique and relevant answers. Detailed answers are appreciated but so are the short and sweet ones or those including rich media such as video or infographics. It currently has over 200 million users and can generate an extraordinary amount of valuable website traffic to your pages if you use it consistently. It's sometimes classified as more of a forum and not always considered a full-fledged "social network" but that's what it really is. Like Reddit, it is usually very underestimated by most entrepreneurs and corporations alike. 

MySpace 

Yes MySpace is still around (although a shell of its former self) and privately owned now, with a mere tens of thousands of users instead of the hundreds millions that used to share their music, glitter profiles, and Top 8 friends list from 2005-2008 before Facebook eclipsed it. This former top social media platform founded in 2003 still gets some use for nostalgia and even some old pictures if you never deleted your original account. 

Who knows, with all the fallout on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube lately it could make a comeback in 2021 due to nostalgic users! People still talk about the simple times of MySpace on other social media platforms all the time.

Alt-Right Social Media Platforms 

There are also some alt-right social media platforms in 2021 gaining steam like Parlor, MeWe, Gab, and Bitchute, but they aren't worth going into in major detail due to their large amounts of hate speech, antisemitism, racism, violence, conspiracies and terrorism. Parlor is currently without a website host or app provider in 2021 and Bitchute has relatively low legitimacy. While MeWe and Gab are viewed by some as slightly better, and prioritizing privacy with low moderation, it is still used by many far right users and groups to promote conspiracy theories and anti-vaccination. But time will tell how these social media platforms will do in 2021 and beyond. 


Social Media Marketing Platforms 2021 Conclusion

Knowing is half the battle so it's important to study and utilize all of these valuable social networks. Things change quickly so don't blink, or your favorite social media marketing platform results could change forever in 2021!

Successful companies also seamlessly integrate their social media marketing with their Website, Email Marketing, and Mobile Application because it has a synergistic effect on marketing efforts. It’s all interrelated these days and now just over 50% of everything is from smartphones. Keep that in mind as well and read more Bootstrap Business articles on all facets of digital and traditional marketing for 2021.



digital media startup guide


I hope you enjoyed this simplified guide to the relevant social media marketing platforms that will boost your social selling in 2021.

Interested in more articles on social media marketing and social selling?

Read My Blog Posts:

- Social Media Marketing For Your Business 

- Facebook vs. Twitter Social Media

More Bootstrap Business Blog Below

Bootstrap Business Blog Newest Posts From Mike Schiemer, Partners, And News Outlets