As with any business activity, there must be some return on investment in order for it to be worthwhile. The business activity must provide a business with some sort of savings (cost or time) or revenue growth. If it doesn’t provide the company with either of these benefits, then it’s likely not worth pursuing. When determining which social media channels you should have a presence on, you should be making your decision using this same line of thinking.
In this article, we’ll help you make that decision by attempting to address the value of social media and which social channels your business should focus its time building a presence on.
Value of a social media presence
Developing a presence on social media can have significant value for individuals and businesses alike. The benefits a social media presence can bring may vary from strategy to strategy, but a few of the top benefits are:
- Brand awareness: By producing a consistent feed of social media content, you can boost your brand awareness and reach your target audience beyond your current customers.
- Direct line of communication to customers: As a business, or even as an influencer, growing a social media presence gives you a direct line of communication to your customers. While this may be often overlooked, having a direct line of communication with your customers is vital, because it can help your business quickly address complaints or even extract rich insight from your customers or target audience.
- Building website traffic: Sharing links to your website or blog on social media can drive high-value traffic to key web pages or resources on your site. This can be particularly valuable for individuals or businesses looking to collect emails, generate leads, or drive sales online.
- Rich consumer insight: Social media provides insights into your audience’s preferences, opinions, and behaviors. By monitoring comments or engaging with customers via direct messages, you can gather rich consumer insights that can help inform your business strategies.
- Stronger customer relationships: Building a community around your brand can foster a sense of belonging and loyalty among your customers. This is immensely valuable because it helps create brand advocates and champions who can spread the word about your products or services.
While developing a social media presence can bring your business tons of value, it’s important to remember that not all social media channels will deliver the same value. Before you put all your effort into creating content for all social media platforms like Clubhouse (anyone remember that one?), you must consider your overall social media strategy and business goals.
Value of social platforms
So, let’s dive into the specifics of each platform and help you decide which platforms to give your all and which to leave on the back burner.
We’ll be brutally honest here: Instagram is king. Instagram can bring your business so much value that we don’t even need to go into specifics. As of August 2023, there were roughly 2.4 billion monthly active users on Instagram. This is about a third of the world’s population, meaning you have a pretty good chance of reaching any audience you can think of. However, that’s not where the majority of Instagram’s value lies.
Instagram followers are worth ten times as much as TikTok followers. In a tweet by Karat Financial, their data valued a single Instagram follower at $0.77, whereas TikTok followers were valued at $0.07. This is likely the case because it’s said Instagram followers are more likely to engage with your content when compared with other platforms like X (formerly known as Twitter) or Facebook, according to a study completed by Neil Patel. Neil Patel’s study also revealed that Instagram users generate more video views than other social media platforms. Another advantage of Instagram audiences is that they typically drive the most business sales, according to Social Media Examiner’s “Social Media Marketing: Industry Report.”
With TikTok being a relatively new platform, there isn’t much data on a TikTok follower’s actual value. Though, from what information is available, we find that TikTok followers are generally less valuable than other social media platforms.
In a LinkedIn post from 2021, Jim Louderback drew an interesting connection between Karat Financial’s Black Card qualifications and how they value TikTok followers. The credit card, which gives credit to unbankable creators, contains a qualification that requires creators to have a particular follower or subscriber count to be approved. The card requires 100,000 YouTube subs, 125,000 Instagram followers, or 2.5M TikTok followers. From this requirement, we can conclude that a TikTok follower is worth less than 5% of the value of a YouTube subscriber or Instagram follower.
Furthermore, the tweet mentioned above, points to a similar valuation where Karat Financial finds a TikTok follower is worth just $0.07. At the same time, a YouTube subscriber is worth $0.17, and an Instagram follower is worth $0.77.
Why are TikTok followers worth less?
It’s difficult to explain why, but it could be for a few reasons. TikTok’s algorithm is “interest-based,” where users are served content they enjoy. Instagram’s algorithm is “community-based,” meaning users are typically served content from accounts they opt-in to follow. The latter algorithm type could prove to be more valuable when it comes to generating revenue for businesses as customers choose to follow companies and stay up to date with their products.
On TikTok, it’s relatively easier to go viral than on other platforms, as TikTok rewards active users with views. The platform is designed for virality, which means it could be an excellent platform for generating brand awareness and visibility but may not be the best for driving sales.
According to Social Media Examiner’s Industry Report, only 15% of marketers claimed TikTok contributed the most to sales when compared to other platforms. But, couple your TikTok strategy with Instagram, and you may be able to drive brand awareness through TikTok and drive sales on Instagram.
Facebook is another platform with many users; you can reach a variety of audiences there. As of August 2023, Facebook has over 3 billion users. While Facebook is the top platform marketers use, its importance has gradually decreased since 2018 as marketers have indicated they plan to reduce their organic marketing efforts on the platform.
As we mentioned above, Facebook is a top platform for driving sales and leads, according to Social Media Examiner. The platform may not be the best for driving traffic or engagement on your posts. According to Neil Patel’s study, Facebook drove 1-2 organic monthly visitors per 100 followers, falling behind platforms like Pinterest, Linkedin, and YouTube. Furthermore, regarding engagement, Facebook generates anywhere between 2-3 engagements per social post, per 100 followers, falling behind Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.
So, while Facebook may not be the best platform for generating engagement or traffic, it could be a great channel to drive brand awareness and boost your sales or leads.
X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, has gone through its share of ups and downs over the years. In recent times, it could be argued that X’s value for businesses has deteriorated as Elon Musk has made significant changes to the platform. And with a monthly subscription fee potentially on the horizon, this could mean even less value for businesses.
This appears to be the trend. Social Media Examiner highlighted that 16% of marketers claimed they’d be decreasing their organic marketing efforts on X, and 31% claimed they wouldn’t be using the platform at all.
In Neil Patel’s study, X came nearly dead last for every data point he shared. X had the lowest average engagement per social posting, the lowest average number of video views, and the lowest average number of live video views. However, X came second to last when it came to the number of emails collected per 100 followers. Taking these few data points into consideration, it appears that your marketing bandwidth could be more effective on other platforms.
Pinterest is the “mood board” social media platform that allows users to share images and inspiration back and forth. The platform is mainly suited to creatives and designers to group together ideas or seek inspiration. So, the goal of Pinterest’s audience may differ slightly from Instagram or TikTok, where users want to engage with friends, share memes, or discover new products.
While not as big as the other social media platforms, Pinterest still has quite a large user base with 465M monthly active users, according to data from Statista. If your audience consists of creatives, designers, or moms looking for design inspiration, then Pinterest may actually be for you.
But, you shouldn’t completely discount the value Pinterest can provide. Pinterest drives the second-highest engagement per social post, falling just behind LinkedIn’s average of 5. Pinterest generates the second-highest number of emails collected. However, where Pinterest really excels is in generating high monthly organic traffic. So, if your audience is on Pinterest and your goal is to drive traffic, then Pinterest may be a great platform to focus your social media efforts on.
The value of understanding your audience
As you can see, not all platforms may suit your business’s overall strategy and goals. You must consider the platform’s user base, how engaged that user base is, that user base’s behaviors on the platform, and the nuances of each platform. By considering all these points, you can laser-focus your efforts on platforms that will provide your business with the highest ROI. If you need help determining which social channel to pursue or need help piecing together a social media strategy, look no further than the team of social media experts at Redefine.