15+ social media platforms your customers are using in 2021—and why you should be using them


With more social platforms than ever before to choose from, brands are faced with a tough question: where should they show up?

In the eyes of the consumer, all social platforms are not created equal. Consumers’ social platform preferences vary based on factors like age, interest and gender, and even then there’s no guarantee the platform of their choice is where they like to engage with brands. Rather than employ the spray and pray method, identifying which social media platforms a brand’s customers use is a more effective way to connect with one’s target audience. According to the latest Sprout Social Index™ Edition XVII: Accelerate, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are the top three platforms where consumers follow brands.

social platforms customer use, led by Facebook, YouTube and Instagram

Once marketers identify which social media platforms their audience uses, they also need to familiarize themselves with the in’s and out’s of what makes each platform tick. In this article, we’ll share the need-to-know stats and insights about each platform to help marketers determine the top social media platforms to prioritize for their strategy.


Key Stats:

  • Over 2.8 billion global active users
  • 90 million US users
  • Average time spent per day: 33 minutes
  • Largest age group: 25-34 year olds
  • 78% of consumers follow brands on Facebook

Why you should be on Facebook

With billions of active users spanning all ages, Facebook is one platform businesses can’t afford to ignore as part of their digital strategy. According to the Sprout Social Index™, increasing awareness remains a top priority for brands and a far-reaching platform like Facebook can help marketers get in front of current and potential customers. And Facebook continues to be incredibly popular—60% of consumers want to see brands use more of the platform. For brands looking to increase their reach and grow their business, there’s a good chance their next customer is on Facebook.


Key Stats:

  • Over 2.1 billion global active users
  • 210 million US viewers
  • Average time spent per day: 41.9 minutes
  • Largest age group: 15-25 year olds
  • 47% of consumers follow brands on YouTube

Why you should be on YouTube

Sprout data reveals 54% of marketers say video is the most valuable content for achieving their brand’s social goals, making YouTube a prime candidate for brands. And as the second largest search engine in the world, YouTube is an ideal social media site for brands looking to reach and engage with their audience. According to the Sprout Social Index™, 53% of consumers follow brands on social to learn about new products and services. Rawlings Sporting Goods, a retailer known for manufacturing baseball equipment, regularly publishes short videos on YouTube to promote the launch of new products like baseball gloves or bats.


Key Stats:

  • 1 billion global users
  • 140 million US users
  • Average time spent per day: 29 minutes
  • Largest age group: 25-34 year olds
  • 57% of consumers follow brands on Instagram

Why you should be on Instagram

As consumers, especially younger audiences, flock to visual platforms, brands need to invest in apps like Instagram where visual content is king. Instagram is one of the most widely used platforms among US adults and 48% of consumers want brands to use Instagram even more. Consumers are also sliding into business’ DMs with all of their questions and feedback, making Instagram a valuable piece of any brand’s customer service strategy. With a tool like Sprout Social, marketers can keep their inboxes organized and efficiently manage their Instagram DMs to ensure no message gets left behind.

sprout social instagram dms


Key Stats:

  • 199 million daily active global users
  • 69.3 million US users
  • Average time spent per day: 31 minutes
  • Largest age group: 30-49 year olds
  • 36% of consumers follow brands on Twitter

Why you should be on Twitter

Twitter is one of the top social media apps for brands keeping up with the latest trends and conversations relevant to their target audience. This makes Twitter a powerful platform for brands to collect candid consumer insights on how to improve their products, services or social content. Twitter also enables brands to keep in direct touch with their audience, making it easy for consumers to share feedback or to ask questions. For brands, maintaining an active and responsive Twitter presence is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge. Forty-seven percent of consumers say they’ll buy from brands that respond to customer questions in a timely manner over a competitor. At Sprout, we pride ourselves on providing robust customer care and part of that stems from our ability to address and resolve customer inquiries in almost real time.


Key Stats:

  • 459 million monthly active users
  • 100.75 million US users
  • Average time spent per day: 14.2 minutes
  • Largest age group: 50-64 year olds
  • 20% of consumers follow brands on Pinterest

Why you should be on Pinterest

Pinterest is the platform to be on for brands looking to spot emerging trends and target niche audiences. Another reason brands should invest in their Pinterest strategy? Pinterest is consumers’ go-to platform for inspiration and discovering new brands to shop with. Research shows 80% of weekly Pinners have discovered a new brand or product on Pinterest and 85% have started a project, like planning for a wedding or a birthday, on Pinterest before. To help home renovators, for example, Ikea partnered with Pinterest to create an interactive quiz that gave shoppers a custom board with product recommendations and inspiration.


Key Stats:

  • 113.99 million monthly active users
  • 65.9 million US users
  • Average time spent per day: 31 minutes
  • Largest age group: 18-24 year olds
  • 22% of consumers follow brands on TikTok

Why you should be on TikTok

One of the fastest growing social media sites that’s beloved among Generation Z, TikTok is a video-first platform known for its viral and meme-like content. But as daunting as the platform appears to be, brands ought to give TikTok a second look. For starters, the trends on TikTok can inspire other social content and give marketers a better sense of what topics are relevant to younger consumers. And even if your brand decides not to open a TikTok account, there are trends marketers can borrow from viral TikToks to use in other short-form video content.


Key Stats:

  • 756 million members worldwide
  • 170 million US users
  • Largest age group: 46-55 year olds
  • 16% of consumers follow brands on LinkedIn

Why you should be on LinkedIn

While LinkedIn is often associated with B2B marketing, there’s plenty of reasons why brands should consider developing their LinkedIn strategy. LinkedIn is a powerful platform for lead generation; brands are able to hypertarget their professional audience using rich demographic data and interest-based filtering. It’s also home to job seekers and investors, making LinkedIn a valuable resource for recruiting and establishing your employer brand to differentiate from your competitors.


Key Stats:

  • 2 billion monthly active users
  • Over 68.1 million US users
  • Average time spent per day: 28 minutes
  • Largest age group: 26-35 year olds
  • 13% of consumers follow brands on WhatsApp

Why you should be on WhatsApp

With over two billion active users worldwide, WhatsApp is one of the most popular consumer messaging apps. For brands, WhatsApp offers an opportunity to personally connect with customers all over the world, provide timely support and share real-time business updates. The ability to directly engage with consumers is especially important when you consider that 47% define a best-in-class brand as one that offers strong customer service. Adidas Football, for example, uses WhatsApp to announce new product offerings and to directly engage with their customers.


Key Stats:

  • 330 million monthly active users
  • 222.66 million US users
  • Average time spent per day: 34 minutes
  • Largest age group: 18-29 year olds
  • 9% of consumers follow brands on Reddit

Why you should be on Reddit

Reddit is one of the most trafficked social media sites, with billions of visits per month and over 100,000 interest-based communities. It’s a platform known for promoting authentic connection, where Redditors specifically look for and join conversations they can trust. Reddit is home to engaged communities filled with people who share all kinds of interests. Even if brands don’t join the conversation, listening to what Redditors are saying yields valuable insights that can be used to improve a brand’s product and services.


Key Stats:

  • 30+ million average daily visitors
  • Over 41.5 million US Twitch users
  • Largest age group: 20-29 year olds
  • Over 1 trillion minutes of video content streamed in 2020
  • 8% of consumers follow brands on Twitch

Why you should be on Twitch

According to the Sprout Social Index™, 25% of marketers cited live video as the most valuable content for achieving their social goals. And though Twitch is often associated with gaming, it’s quickly becoming the go-to platform for all things live-streaming. At any given time there are millions of active streamers on Twitch, making it an ideal platform for brands looking to target younger audiences like Millennials and Generation Z through live video. Complex Sports, for example, uses Twitch to stream a weekly soccer show breaking down matches and sharing team news.

Google My Business

Key Stats:

  • Businesses receive an average of 59 actions per month on their listing
  • 8% of consumers follow brands on Google My Business

Why you should be on Google My Business

While not quite a traditional social media app like Facebook or Twitter, Google My Business is an equally important platform because of the role reviews play in the buyer journey. According to the Sprout Social Index™, 88% of consumers are likely to purchase from a brand after reading reviews from other customers. Platforms like Google My Business make it easy for brands to respond to customer reviews as they come in, and quickly address inaccuracies or misinformation. The ability to monitor feedback directly in Google My Business helps marketers strengthen their brand’s online reputation while providing customers the context they need to make informed decisions.


Key Stats:

  • 224 million reviews submitted at the end of 2020
  • 31 million active monthly users (2020)
  • Largest age group: 35-54 year olds
  • 4% of consumers follow brands on Yelp

Why you should be on Yelp

An online review management strategy is a must-have for any brand that wants happy customers and a shot at cultivating a brand advocacy program. Yelp, another popular consumer review site, is especially beneficial for businesses in industries like food and beverage, local services, nightlife and entertainment. The reviews on Yelp go a long way in influencing customer sentiment toward a brand—a positive review can usher in a wave of sales while a negative review can sink a business. And though no one likes to be criticized, a negative review can actually help businesses identify areas for improvement and double down on their strengths.


Key Stats:

  • 376 million visitors worldwide
  • 47.43% of all traffic comes from the US
  • Largest age group: 26-35 year olds
  • 4% of consumers follow brands on Tumblr

Why you should be on Tumblr

Creativity never runs dry on Tumblr, where there are over 200 million blogs publishing 80 million posts per day. Tumblr gives brands an opportunity to flex their creative muscle, experimenting with a variety of content formats from text posts to photos to videos and even audio content. It also gives brands the power to reach their intended audience, targeting users based on demographic information like gender, location and interest. For Mental Health Awareness Month, brands like Headspace and Trill Project partnered with Tumblr to create content for the Post it Forward blog.


Key Stats:

  • 884 million reviews as of 2020
  • 98 million global visitors
  • 69.41% of all traffic comes from the US
  • 4% of consumers follow brands on Tripadvisor

Why you should be on Tripadvisor

For travel and hospitality brands, few review sites are more important than Tripadvisor. Not only is Tripadvisor one of the most popular travel review websites in the US, it reaches 60% of all travelers who book online. In other words, the review site represents the last chance a business has to convince travelers to choose their services over a competitor. When brands maintain their Tripadvisor profile, they’ll be better positioned to provide travelers the details they need to make an informed decision. And as travel around the country rebounds, now is the time for brands to revisit and revive their Tripadvisor strategy before travelers hit the road.


Key Stats:

  • 10 million actively weekly users
  • 3% of consumers follow brands on Clubhouse

Why you should be on Clubhouse

One of the newest social media platforms to break onto the scene, Clubhouse is an invite-only, audio-only app where users can host conversations in chat rooms. And in spite of the waitlist, Clubhouse remains a popular destination for brands and users alike. For brands, Clubhouse is a great platform for awareness and engagement. Brands can host fireside chats with industry experts or Q&As for their customers. Clubhouse also lends itself to more informal conversations that can help brands build more authentic relationships with their target audience.

Which social media platform is your audience on?

To build customer relationships that last, you first need to identify where your audience lives online. But knowing which social media platforms your customers frequent is only half the battle. You also need to understand what makes each social media site tick and the rules of engagement.

To learn how to effectively engage your audience on any social platform, check out the latest Sprout Social Index™ for the data and insights you need to inform your social strategy today.

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