How to choose the right social media to support your business needs

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Don't make the mistake most people do when choosing social media for their business.

Social media iconsDon't just choose the one that is most popular or the one you use for personal interactions. There are reasons why it might not be the right one:

  1. The demographic audience profile of the social media platform might not match the target audience of your business
  2. The content your business produces might not suit the medium
  3. It might take too much time to manage
  4. It might not serve your business aims

1. Choose the social media platform to suit your target audience.

Each social media platform has an audience profile. This is the main demographic or group of people who tend to use it.

The trick is to find one that lines up with your business's target audience.  This way your ideal customers are already using the social media you are working on. Here are the audience profiles for the main social media platforms:

Facebook's audience profile

Businesses using social media will need to know information on the users of Facebook and compare that with their target audience.

Social Flims state that:

Facebook has 44.84 million users in the UK
Facebook is used daily by 44% of the UK population

While the gender balance is fairly stable, the age demographic favours older users but most users check it frequently. The income brackets column below shows the percentage of UK people within each income bracket who said they used Facebook.

UK Audience Profile for Facebook

Gender Split Age Range Income brackets Frequency of use
Male 52%

Female 48%

18-24 16%

(Declined from 24% in 2012)

25-35 26%

65+ 9%

£48k+ 81%

£34-48k 81%

£28-34k 77%

£21-28k 81%

£14-21k 82%

up to £14k 77%

74% at least once a day

9/10 internet users once a month

Average user spends 23 mins on the site.

Source Social Films Sources Social Films, The Last Hurdle Source Statista Source Statista

Although drastically declined in its use by young people, Facebook still has some diverse appeal. 'The Last Hurdle' states: "Of all the social media platforms Facebook is perhaps the most equally appealing across both the educational ranges, for location and for financial stability... there are still some 2.5 million 13-17 year olds who use the site and it would be foolhardy to ignore completely. (Stats courtesy of Rose McGrory and eMarketer)"

Findings from a 2019 Pew Research survey revealed that 69% of U.S. adults in the lowest income households use Facebook.

Linkedin's audience profile

LinkedIn is an anomaly compared to other social media sites, it is a business and employment social media site. It is very professional and you have the option to show your resume, search for jobs and create a professional reputation around yourself by posting updates and interacting with other people. The income brackets column below shows the percentage of UK people within each income bracket who said they used Linkedin.

UK Audience Profile for LinkedIn

Gender Split Age Range Income brackets Frequency of use
Male 58%

Female 42%

Under 35 21%

35+ over 79%

£48k+ 52%

£34-48k 36%

£28-34k 34%

£21-28k 30%

£14-21k 26%

up to £14k 22%

14% said several times a day

30% said few times a week

Source The Last Hurdle Source The Last Hurdle Source Statista Source Statista

Worldwide, according to Statista:

  • 57% of LinkedIn users are male 43% are female,
  • 59.9% of users are aged 25 to 34
  • 40% of internet users aged 46-55 had used the platform.

Used worldwide but mostly in the USA and Europe. 51% have a college degree, 49% earn $75K a year. LinkedIn has the potential to reach 56% of the UK’s adult population.

A business wanting to spread its name to like-minded businesses and business-minded people LinkedIn is the place to go. With a mature, well-educated audience LinkedIn is a great place to find potential new employees. However, LinkedIn is not the place to find customers because the site isn’t made for that, and other social media do it better.

Twitter's audience profile

According to Twitter, they have 353 million registered users globally, 16.5 million of which are in the UK. All of which can be reached by adverts. This is a small decrease of 1.2% since the beginning of 2020. Despite this, the advertising potential is still huge – just under 29% of the UK population (13+).

According to Statista, by May 2021, Twitter's share of social network website visits in the United Kingdom was 23.8%. This is a considerable increase from 4.5% in January 2017. Twitter also emerged as the second leading social media website in the United Kingdom as of May 2021. Again, the income brackets column below shows the percentage of UK people within each income bracket who said they used Twitter.

UK Audience Profile for Twitter

Gender Split Age Range Income brackets Frequency of use
Male 56%

Female 44%

15-24 33%

35+ over 50%

£48k+ 60%

£34-48k 54%

£28-34k 45%

£21-28k 41%

£14-21k 43%

up to £14k 43%

43% several times a day

a few times a week 15%

Source Statista Source Statista Source Statista Source Statista

In the United States, according to Khoros:

  • 67% of B2B businesses are using Twitter as a digital marketing tool
  • 77% of Twitter users have a better impression of a brand when they respond to a tweet
  • Ad engagement on Twitter was up 23% in the third quarter 2019.

This is helpful to businesses as they now know if their target market matches up with Twitter’s audience. Twitter's age range is quite long and so a wide range of maturity levels in content posted is needed to please all audiences on Twitter.


Snapchat is aimed at and used by young people. It's heavily focused on connecting with customers in a more personal and direct way. Snapchat uses direct messages along with stories. Most businesses probably would not use Snapchat a lot unless what it provided was specifically needed. Although young people have lower incomes they have deposable income so we have focused on their spending habits for this one:

UK Audience Profile for Snapchat

Gender Split Age Range Spending Habits Frequency of use
Male 40%

Female 58%

15-25 57%

26-35 20%

36-45 13%

46-55 9%

56+ 4%

Snapchat users are 63% more likely than non-users to have purchased a product online on a mobile device in the past month.

60% of Snapchat users make in-app purchases.

84% of Snapchat users have visited an online retail site on their mobile phone in the past month, compared to 60% of non-users.

Users report 5x higher ad awareness from Snapchat ads than other mobile video ads.

Snapchat users say their friends are 5x more influential on purchasing decisions than celebrities or influencers.

306 million users a day

21 million users in the UK.

4 billion Snaps are created each day on average.

typical user opens the app 30 times a day

users spend 32 minutes a day viewing mobile videos

95% of Snapchat users say it makes them happier than any other app

Source Statista Source Statista Source SEJ Sources Statista, SEJ

Worldwide, Snapchat's users' age range is 15-35 one of the youngest in all of the social media globally (Pew Research Centre).

Income bracket of users is 30K-80K, (Khoros).

20% of users are college graduates (Hootsuite).

According to Hootsuite an average of 238 million people were using Snapchat each day. The UK is Snapchat’s fourth-largest market, with 21 million users.

If a business is wanting to get the biggest audience possible on Snapchat, they will need to direct content towards females who are teenagers and young adults. Users locate themselves around the world but mostly in English-speaking countries. Snapchat is a great site for businesses wanting to get a younger audience.


TikTok is a video-sharing app and an incredibly fast-growing site that only came about recently. In such a short amount of time, it has turned nobodies into incredibly successful influencers. TikTok’s main form of content is short and pact videos, this means more content is watched by viewers causing accounts to get more views.

The short content also appeals more to a younger audience. The statistics below show that TikTok’s audience is very young when compared to other social media sites.

UK Audience Profile for TikTok

Gender Split Age Range Frequency of use
Male 47%

Female 53%

18-24 26%

25-34 9%

35-44 8%

45-54 4.6%

55+ 2.5%

Average UK user spent 41 minutes on TikTok a day in 2020

Nearly half of TikTok users in the United Kingdom (UK) use the app daily

88% at least once a week

96% at least once a month

Source Statista Source CyberCrew Sources Statista, CyberCrew


  • In 2019, in the UK TikTok achieved an enormous growth of 205.3% of its users.
  • In the following year, TikTok’s users’ growth was expected to be 67% in the UK.

47% of TikTok users are women 53 % of users are males. This shows that a business shouldn’t target one gender on the app unless their target market requires it, contentcareer. Household income 100k+ make up 40.2% of tiktok’s user base, contentcareer. There are a reported 3.7 million users in the UK. User numbers are expected to grow to 10mllion before the end of 2021.

TikTok vs social apps: users

If a business wants to connect with young people TikTok is the perfect place for that. TikTok has a very young and impressionable audience that is spread worldwide. It is widely considered as the social media for young people and is easy to gain popularity on. These statistics show that the gender ratio is relatively balanced and users are usually financially stable. In an interview with Miss Vogue Magazine, TikTok said their app aimed to focus less on fast fashion and more on haute-couture, sustainability, shoppability, learning, and diversity:

The company will be cooperating with brands to help monetise their posts, as well as promoting TikTokers who stand for inclusivity, making better purchasing choices and gaining DIY skills. It sounds exciting!

2. Choose the social media platform to suit what your business can show.

Each social media platform has features that differ. Let's compare two very different social media apps:

  • Instagram is built on images and short videos. You can't put a link in an individual post, though you can put one link in the profile.
  • Twitter is built for microblogging which means short messages in text form. It lets you put links in posts. This means you can link to a specific page on your website to share helpful information or a link to an item in your online catalogue. It lets you put images and short videos in the posts but these are a little more transient because they don't easily make a neat display of images like an Instagram profile.

Twitter Features

Twitter is used mainly for open conversation. People make short posts called tweets which usually just contain text about a subject, a question or statement etc., but can also contain images and short videos. You can add hashtags that mean users can search for tweets on topics. There is also the @ option which gives users the option to notify other users of a tweet. Twitter also has a reply feature that gives users the power to reply to anything someone may tweet including companies. These can quote the tweet or just appear below it in a thread.

Use the right-hand scroller of this section of Marketing Derby's Twitter Timeline to see these features demonstrated:

Instagram Features

Instagram is heavily focused on pictures and imagery, there is a post option where a user or business can post a picture with a text caption, there is also a story option which is another way to share and grow connections. Instagram is great and more focused on promoting products and so businesses should use it for that.

You can promote and explain what you do with still photos:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Mair Perkins (@mairperkins)

You can also use video to show you actually making your wares:

3. Make sure you plan well to avoid wasting time and money.

Social media is quicker to set up than other systems and is usually free to create a profile but posts require planning and replying to customer questions requires staff to be available often.

Decide which you need to spend time and staff hours on. You have a better chance of a return on investment if you choose carefully and plan well. A plan will also help you avoid the risks of using social media. At the minimum your plan should include:

  • Agreeing what sort of content you plan to post and in what formats
  • Managing your time over the week and in the run-up to your events and announcements
  • Allocating responsibility to members of the team
  • Writing a policy for using social media positively and safely

Ofcom's 2019 Online Nation report states

Trust in online services to protect user data/use it responsibly varies significantly. Among ten
leading UK sites, trust among users of these services was highest for BBC News (67%) and Amazon
(66%) and lowest for Facebook (31%) and YouTube (34%).

This means you will need to reassure customers that you will protect their data when using social media with them.  This way you will ensure social media has a positive effect on your customers, rather than putting some of them off.

Read our article in preparation for this: What are the risks of digitalising your business?

4. Use social media to serve your business aims

What's your main business aim right now?

If your aim is to expand your knowledge of the market before making big decisions - use social media to:

  • research the competition
  • find people in your target audience
  • use your existing social media profile to ask questions via posts and polls

If your aim is to promote your business to people who regularly use social media - learn How to attract and engage new customers?

If your aim is to speed up customer service - use social media but learn how to balance your time.

According to Khoros:

Twitter makes it possible for users to reach practically any person or business simply by tagging them in a Tweet. That’s why it’s such a popular platform for customer service, allowing users to air complaints in real-time and customer service teams to react quickly.

Read more about how to use social media for customer service on our FAQ section:

How can social media and other modern comms give my customers more access and engagement to me and my business?


Build a strategy for your use of social media

According to ‘Understanding Social Media’ by Taprial & Kanwar,

Most businesses... do not have a clear strategic picture of their social media endeavours or campaigns. They make the mistake of building their strategy around the various social media platforms rather than focusing on their own business objectives and goals.

Check out this 4-step strategy for starters:

See also How to Create a Social Media Strategy in 9 Easy Steps

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