Introduction to Common Social Media Platforms

What you’ll learn to do:¬†Identify common social media platforms used by businesses

Facebook alone now has over two billion users. YouTube follows with 1.5 billion users, and Instagram has over 800 million. Figure 1 shows the relative size of these and other popular platforms.[1]

A pie chart depicting the Most Popular Social Networking Sites. The chart is broken into 9 categories. Facebook has 29.3 percent of the chart. YouTube has 25.3 percent of the chart. Instagram has 10.6 percent of the chart. Qzone has 7.5 percent of the chart. Weibo has 5 percent of the chart. Twitter has 4.5 percent of the chart. Reddit has 4.4 percent of the chart. Pinterest has 2.7 percent of the chart. Other accounts for 10.7 percent of the chart.

Figure 1. Monthly Active Users on Common Social Media Sites

Note the size of Chinese Weibo and Russian Qzone sites. Both are widely popular outside the US. If your business interests are global and focus on these countries, some attention should clearly be given to these as well.

In 2018, Twitter lagged in size at around 330 million global users. This may seem surprising, since it gets a lot of attention in the media, probably because of many popular media feuds and tit-for-tat battles. Also interesting, Twitter use is actually decreasing in the United States. Seth Fiegerman for CNN describes the decline:[2]

Despite having the most powerful person in the world as a loyal user, Twitter (TWTR) failed to add any new monthly active users globally during the June [2017] quarter. Even worse, it’s now losing users in the U.S.

Twitter reported Thursday that its monthly user base in the U.S. declined to 68 million in the most recent quarter from 70 million in the previous quarter.

Its global user base was 328 million, unchanged from the prior quarter. Analysts had been expecting Twitter to add at least a few million users.

Despite any decline or controversy, Twitter clearly remains a global social media player, and certainly has business communication application. In the following pages, we will look at the most common or major social media platforms in some detail, and work through their respective pros and cons.


  1. Kallas, Priit. "Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites and Apps [July 2018]." Dreamgrow. July 3 2018. Web. July 10 2018.
  2. Fiegerman, Seth. "Twitter is now losing users in the U.S." CNN Tech. July 27 2017. Web. July 10 2018.