By Kayla Tooma                                                                                            June 8, 2018


Social media is a powerful tool that connects people and organizations across the globe.  According to Statista, 81% of Americans had a social media profile in 2017 and according to Mashable, over three billion people log onto social media worldwide.  For quick reference, that is half the world’s population.  For work or play, social media is an integral part of daily life.


Social media is also transforming the way people shop with online shopping and commerce at an all-time high popularity. That makes social media advertising an essential part of business, with more than $31 billion spent on social media advertising just last year. Organizations in all industries are taking advantage of social media to help their bottom line by implementing strategies that help them appeal to their customers and stakeholders.  Social media offers unique advantages to organizations large and small with the ability to reach customers across the globe.


While the rewards of a social media strategy are plenty, they come at a price. Maintaining a social media presence can consume resources and most organizations cannot afford a robust presence on each and every platform.  Choosing which platforms to invest your resources in for the largest return on investment (ROI), conversion rate (the percentage of viewers that complete a desired goal), and impact should be an informed decision and a priority.


Here’s a breakdown of the four most influential social media platforms and some potential indicators of whether they can help your organization reach its target audience.


You have heard all of this before in one version or another.  But if you haven’t had the time or team to understand how social media can support and potentially accelerate your business, here are some basics on the various platforms.


Originally created for college students to share photos, keep in touch, and meet new people, Facebook is now a social media giant.  Although anyone can join Facebook, its largest user demographic is Generation X, those between 35-55 years old.  According to the Pew Research Center, it is also the social media platform of choice for those 65+ years old.  Facebook is the largest social media network and dominates B2C sales. It is worth noting that the number of Facebook users has plateaued since 2016 while other platforms continue to grow, suggesting that Facebook’s popularity and growth may be impacted as more new, innovative platforms emerge.  According to Forbes, 85% of social media sales happen on Facebook.  While Facebook offers organizations the largest audiences and potential for sales, getting a return on your time investment on Facebook can be a challenge. To filter searches, Facebook uses an algorithm that favors content that has been paid for.  Even with a robust following, a significant number of your followers will not see your content unless you are willing to invest in advertisements and posts.  If your organization seeks high conversion rates to reach a larger target audience, has an older target audience, and is willing to invest money in their content, your social media strategy should consider Facebook.


Instagram is the second most popular and fasted growing social media platform in the US.  Although Instagram appeals to younger audiences, it offers a unique and powerful function that allows users to communicate through photos. Because images and videos leave a stronger impression than words, Instagram allows organizations to show audiences products rather than simply talking about them. According to the Social Science Research network, “65% of people are visual learners” and visuals resonate deeper and longer than non-visual content.  Unlike Facebook, Instagram users can see content from all of their followers whether the content is sponsored or not.  Instagram can be a particularly powerful tool for nonprofits, allowing them to showcase their work and their stories in a way that can engage stakeholders in a more emotional and impactful way.


Twitter is a powerful tool that allows users and organizations to communicate through 140-character messages called tweets.  Twitter users have the smallest disparity between age groups, so it is a good choice if you want to reach users of all ages.  Due to its even demographics, Twitter is the best social platform for networking, social listening, and direct interaction withstakeholders.  Unlike Facebook, organizations do not need to invest in their posts for content visibility, which allows organizations to use Twitter to interact directly with their stakeholders, contribute to ongoing conversations in their industry, and gauge public opinion on various topics.  Because of its high potential impact, robust network and high visibility among a broad set of audiences, all organizations interested in establishing a social media presence should include Twitter.


While the platforms above are more social in nature, LinkedIn is uniquely relevant to business and business networking. According to a Social Media Marketing Industry report, LinkedIn is “the #1 most important socialplatform for B2B marketers.”  As a social media platform specifically focused on professional development and relationships,LinkedIn is one of the most effective ways to find and recruit new talent.  Additionally, LinkedIn pages tend to outperform other social media pages on search engines, resulting in a search engine optimization (SEO) boost for your organization.


With so many options available, choosing which social media platforms yield the best ROI for your organization can seem complicated. Powell Strategies develops digital media strategies for many organizations across the federal government and in the non-profit sector. Our digital and social media experts can help you take the guess work out building a social media approach that is best for your business. Contact us today and let us help you jumpstart your social media strategy.