Facebook used to be the cool place where everybody hung out. Not long ago, Facebook was the most visited website in the world, and the website where Americans spent the most time. Facebook then became the most popular social media platform for business-to-consumer communications among various types of organizations.

In recent years, however, Facebook has faced backlash regarding the platform’s data privacy practices and its CEO. Facebook is experiencing some challenges of maintaining its popularity among internet users, some of whom have participated in a #DeleteFacebook movement. I myself, also noticed a shift in my teenage students’ interest in Facebook, even before the #DeleteFacebook backlash.

So, if Facebook is no longer the place where everyone is, which social media platforms can we use to communicate with our prospective consumers?

The most popular social media platforms among U.S. teens

According to a 2018 Pew Research Center report, Facebook is no longer the most popular social media platform among U.S. teens (aged between 13 and 17). The top five social media platforms among U.S. teens are:

  1. YouTube (85% reported that they used YouTube)
  2. Instagram (72%)
  3. Snapchat (69%)
  4. Facebook (51%)
  5. Twitter (32%)

When the teens were asked which social media platform they used most often, they reported:

  1. Snapchat (35%)
  2. YouTube (32%)
  3. Instagram (15%)
  4. Facebook (10%)
  5. Twitter (3%)

By comparison, it was reported in 2015 that 71% of U.S. teens used Facebook; 52% used Instagram; 41% used Snapchat; and 33% used Twitter. Back then, Facebook was also the most-often-used social media site at 41%, followed by Instagram and Snapchat at 20% and 11%, respectively.

Another interesting finding reported in the 2018 report was that 70% of U.S. teens with an annual household income of less than $30,000 used Facebook. The same percentage drops to 36% for teens with a yearly household income of $75,000 or more.

Similar findings were also found in a 2016 study with a different sample by The Associated Press – NORC Center for Public Affairs Researchat the University of Chicago. It was reported that 76% and 75% of U.S. teens used Instagram and Snapchat, respectively.

Teens living in a family with $50,000 or lower annual income were more likely to use such messaging apps as Kik, Facebook Messenger, Line, and Viber than those with a household income of $50,000 or higher. Additionally, the lower-income group used the above messaging apps more frequently than the higher-income group.

The most popular social media platforms among U.S. adults

According to a 2019 Pew Research Center report, the most popular social media platforms among U.S. adults remained relatively unchanged in recent years, with the following ranking in 2019:

  1. YouTube (73%)
  2. Facebook (69%)
  3. Instagram (37%)
  4. Pinterest (28%)
  5. LinkedIn (27%)
  6. Snapchat (24%)
  7. Twitter (22%)

Instagram and Snapchat are particularly popular among young adults, used by 67% and 62% among those of 18 to 29 years old, respectively. Moreover, as compared to people aged 25 to 29, those aged 18 to 24 are significantly more likely to use Instagram (75% vs. 57%) and Snapchat (73% vs. 47%).

A comparison of social media usage among different demographic groups reveals additional intriguing findings:

  • 78% male vs. 68% female use YouTube.
  • 75% female vs. 63% male use Facebook.
  • 43% female vs. 31% male use Instagram.
  • 42% female vs. 15% male use Pinterest.
  • 51% Hispanic use Instagram, as compared to 40% among African Americans and 33% among Caucasian whites.
  • 51% with a college degree or above use LinkedIn, but only 26% who had some college and 9% with a high school diploma or lower use LinkedIn.
  • 41% with a household income of $75,000 or more use LinkedIn. Only 27% for the group with a household income between $30,000 and $74,999 and 18% for the group with a household income below $30,000 use LinkedIn.

Suggestions on how to reach prospects during the #DeleteFacebook movement

Although it is probably safe to predict that fewer people will use Facebook in the future, Facebook is not going away yet. I encourage businesses to act proactively and prepare for foreseeable changes.

  • Find out where the prospects hang out online according to the demographic profiles of the target customers.
  • Put content visualization as the top priority in a business’ communication strategy, which is critical in such platforms as Instagram and Pinterest. Moreover, an update with pictures is more likely to get more attention among Facebook users than other types of messages.
  • Open a YouTube channel (if you have not done so yet) and share a video periodically.
  • Establish an information hub for communications, ideally hosted on the business website.

Do you also observe the #DeleteFacebook trend? What suggestions do you have for those who want to reach and engage their prospective customers online?