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January 10

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The Most Popular Social Media Sites And One Thing To Use Them For

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There are a lot of different social media sites for content creators to choose from. Often, creators feel like they need to be everywhere all the time. Believe us, you don't. And you can also minimize some of that work by doing things like crossposting content. 

But if you're wondering which social media apps may be right for you, let's look at the top 10 most-used apps in the Western world and one thing they do better than others.

As you probably know, most of these sites can be used for most of these things. But let's just boil it down to one main reason you might use each of these individual platforms. They are ranked by monthly active users. 

1. Facebook — The Social Media Site That Never Quits

Monthly Active Users: 3,050,000,000

Facebook is still the most popular social media site in the world with a staggering 38 percent of the global population using it. It's even more staggering when you consider Facebook is banned in China and Russia, which accounts for more than 1.5 billion people. 

One Reason To Use: Advertising

So what's one big reason to use Facebook? Advertising. Facebook provides some of the most comprehensive and affordable ways to market your content and your products. Put simply, the thought that "nobody uses Facebook anymore" is a massive myth. While it's true that the youngest users in the world may not be on Facebook yet, the ones with the credit cards and the income to buy what you're selling certainly are. Facebook set the standard for social media ads.

2. YouTube — The Video App That Wants To Be More Like Social Media Every Year

Monthly Active Users: 2,490,000,000

YouTube is a lot of things to a lot of people. It's the second-most used search engine in the world, an education platform, a media hub, a livelihood, and many other things. But it's also pretty clear the powers that be want YouTube to be a go-to social media platform, too. With the advent of Shorts, the addition of handles, and the ever-changing YouTube algorithm, pretty much every type of content creator should have a presence on YouTube.

One Reason To Use: Recurring Monetization

YouTube is among the best platforms for monetizing content. Its ad revenue sharing program is one of the most lucrative for standard uploads (with at least eight minutes being the sweet spot) and its payments for Shorts views is right in the middle of other platforms. On top of that, though, YouTube offers a lot of other ways to monetize, including subscriptions and Super Thanks. But that's just the beginning. You can also do third party sponsorships on content, affiliate links, referral fees, eCommerce store connections, and more. While the requirements for monetizing a channel via ad revenue is a bit steep, YouTube definitely presents well-rounded options to make money from your content. 

3. Instagram — The App That Birthed The Influencer

Monthly Active Users: 2,040,000,000

Instagram remains a steady force for content creators, even as it struggled to find its footing against major competitor TikTok. While the app had a heavy swing towards video, things have kind of leveled off and it remains a compelling place to reach a wide swath of people with both images and reels.  

One Reason To Use: Brand Deals

Instagram really solidified the modern concept of the "influencer." And while we see influencers everywhere now, the platform remains the standard when working with brands to create sponsored content. Sure, other platforms matter too, but even if all you had was a quality Instagram channel with an engaged audience, you'd be able to work with everybody from mom and pop shops to the biggest companies in the world. Influencer deals more or less started on Instagram and the platform is generally the one most companies care about when looking for potential content partners. 

4. TikTok — The Current King Of The Popularity Hill

Monthly Active Users: 1,220,000,000

 Even though it has been growing and expanding like gangbusters, TikTok is still fairly new and still has an outdated reputation as "that app for dancing kids." Anybody who uses it knows it's so much more than that. They also know the app has been experimenting with a ton of new features and functions — as well as different policies that have led to questions and frustrations. But for all its quirks, TikTok is absolutely a culture driver — and several parts of the entertainment industry, like the music industry, are absolutely obsessed with the app.

One Reason To Use: Livestreaming

You might be surprised the "one thing" isn't something like "going viral." And yes, while virality is a key component of TikTok (because the app inherently serves the content, not the creator), it's not really sustainable to try to chase virality. Instead, you should look to the app's TikTok Live feature, which has exploded in popularity. The combination of gamification, monetization potential, ease of use, and growth potential makes livestreaming on TikTok critical for any creator who wants to make "lives" part of their brand. Sure, TikTok taking half of your "gift" earnings isn't awesome, but if you go live for an hour at a time you're practically guaranteed to make new fans and followers, even if all you're doing is hanging out and chatting. A low barrier to entry and a sky-high ceiling make TikTok Live a differentiating feature.

5. Snapchat — The Middle Child Social Media Site

Monthly Active Users: 750,000,000

Snapchat sometimes feels like the forgotten app, even though it continues to chug along with a loyal user base. Part of this may be because it never really embraced the idea of virality and public discoverability. This makes it harder for brands and content creators to use it how they might typically expect — creating content that will reach new people. Instead, Snapchat is all about your circle and your following. That said, the app has still been incredibly influential, especially in developing features that other apps mimic — whether it's disappearing posts (aka "stories" as most people think of them) or the use of creative filters.  

One Reason To Use: Paywalled Content

Snapchat was one of the first places where creators started inviting people in to their Snaps via a paywall. The obvious example is for adult content (which kind of feels like maybe a key impetus for the creation of OnlyFans?). But there are tons of use cases where you can allow people access to your Snaps for a fee. Again, plenty of other apps have tried to make this an official feature and mimic it. But Snapchat is kind of the originator of the concept for social media sites, and plenty of content creators still have success using it for this aspect.

6. X — Maybe More Of A Question Mark?

Monthly Active Users: 666,000,000

Twitter, now X, always out-punched its weight class when it comes to social media sites. The truth is, Twitter never had nearly as many users as other platforms. But it was always hugely important for cultural indicators, breaking news, and hearing directly from the source. As a microblogging site, Twitter developed a reputation for creating access to not just brands and celebrities, but non-famous professionals in niche fields. Yeah, current leadership makes X feel like more of a ?, but for the people who built a community on Twitter, there's just no replacing it.

One Reason To Use: Thought Leadership

X is one of the few places on the Internet where you can cultivate a following and a persona simply on sharing terse, cogent thoughts on a specific niche. Because of this, if you're a content creator with a very specific focus on a certain niche, you can develop a reputation as a thought leader. It's easy to be highly active on X. Journalists, scientists, educators, and entrepreneurs have all found success on X where they almost certainly would not with similar content on other platforms. For all its faults, X is the microblogging king, and microblogging is still a very popular form of communication. 

7. Pinterest — The Social Media Site You Forgot Is Totally A Social Media Site

Monthly Active Users: 465,000,000

Pinterest is probably one of the social media sites that has changed the least since its inception. And that's meant as a compliment. Because a lot of people probably don't even realize Pinterest is social media. (Also a compliment). It just does the whole "visual compilation" medium so well that it has developed its own culture as a wish list, inspiration board, idea cloud, and more, all while maintaining the core features of social media (sharing and commenting). 

One Reason To Use: Aesthetic Influencing

Pinterest is the one social media site where people may never know anything about you specifically, but you can still be an influencer. It's particularly useful for selling products (Pinterest and Etsy go hand-in-hand) and essentially using mood boards to do the work for you. Whether you're posting original content or merely carefully aggregating others, you can develop very useful influence on Pinterest in ways that are much more difficult on other apps. 

8. LinkedIn — The Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

Monthly Active Users: 424,000,000

Don't let the idea of "professional networking" fool you. LinkedIn is 100 percent a social media site. That's why we dubbed it "the wolf in sheep's clothing." It's not necessarily as nefarious as the moniker suggests, though — it's just deceptive how much LinkedIn functions like Facebook while trying to pretend it's all about jobs. But yeah, anything you might post on something like Facebook or X (or even Instagram, depending on what you do) also has a place on LinkedIn.

One Reason To Use: Networking

This one feels obvious, but maybe not in the way you're thinking. While a lot of people use it for connecting and expanding their professional prospects, content creators can use LinkedIn to foster relationships with potential brand partners. They can also develop a more professional following that may help them in the sales process. This is particularly useful for creators focused heavily on education and entrepreneurship. 

9. Twitch — The Hardcore Fan-Building King

Monthly Active Users: 140,000,000

Twitch isn't quite the same as other social media sites on this list. It doesn't have a lot of the typical features you think of when you think of social media — like a scrollable feed of past content and easy sharing and commenting functions. But it does have a lot of similarities in terms of the overall culture of social media, and it might soon have more features that help it directly replicate social media discoverability when a streamer is offline. 

One Reason To Use: Deep Fan Engagement

You might be surprised to see that the No. 1 reason to use Twitch isn't actually livestreaming (that goes to TikTok). While Twitch undoubtedly has more features for live streamers (streaming to Twitch using OBS is essentially endlessly customizable), the reality is, it's hard. It takes a ton of time. Growth can stagnate. Discoverability is Twitch's Achilles' heel. But hands down, Twitch is one of the best places for your most hardcore fan relationships to develop. There is no better place on social media to create a deep level of fan engagement — the kind that leads to lifelong fans who spend thousands of dollars on you — than during a well-crafted livestream on Twitch. 

10. Threads — The New Throwback

Monthly Active Users: 100,000,000

Threads exploded out of the gate to more than a hundred million users, thanks in large part to some clever cross-pollination with its app daddy Instagram. Of all the X competitors, it feels like it has the best shot of really sticking around. And there are some cool new features hitting the platform every so often. That said, it still has a ways to go if it's going to rival X in terms of cultural significance. 

One Reason To Use: Community Interaction (And, At Least For Now, Novelty)

Look, it's pretty fun to be on a social media app that doesn't have much bloat. It's a lot like the early days of social media — no ads, simple formats, easy to see stuff from people you follow. How long will it last? Who knows, but it feels novel and easy to be a part of. Because of its simplicity and its integration with your Instagram following, Threads is a great place to interact with your community in a very simple way. It's microblogging distilled to its most simple form. In the grand scheme of things it may feel a little flippant, but don't underestimate the power of keeping it simple and interacting with your followers.


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