This Post About the Top Social Media Platforms for 2021 Has Recently Been Updated
What are the top social media platforms for 2021? Here’s a list of the top social media platforms you can use to grow your business in 2021 and beyond. You’ll find my strengths and weaknesses rating for each platform at the end of the description. It’s a totally subjective rating based on my own experiences with the platforms.
A few other things — there are a lot of social media platforms here that you already know about: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok and others. But we’ve updated this post with new social media platforms including Clubhouse, Steemit, Instagram Reels, Houseparty, and Caffeine.
Plus, we include a bunch of additional tools you should know about. Tools like Agorapulse, Nimble, and GetResponse are not necessarily social media platforms, but they are tools that you can use to improve the results of your marketing campaigns.
Ready to get started? Let’s dive in. But before we do, check out the graphic below based on research by the 60 Second Marketer. It’ll help you understand the impact platforms like TikTok are having on social media today.
Social Media Platforms That Help You Network with Others:
WhatsApp: This is a messaging app used by over 1.5 billion people in over 180 countries. WhatsApp has been working hard to build out its business platform to allow people to use it for work purposes. When it first started out, WhatsApp was only used by people to communicate with their family and friends. Since then, it has evolved into a fully-functioning social media platform. Strengths: Widely used around the globe. Weaknesses: Primarily a consumer-based platform.
Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook out of his dorm room for his fellow students at Harvard. Today, toddlers to grandmothers can be found on Facebook. Strengths: Widely-adopted by large segments of the population. Weaknesses: Will the younger generation stay on Facebook once Grandma has “friended” them?
Clubhouse: Clubhouse labels itself as a “drop-in audio chat” that is based off of the early internet chat rooms of the 2000’s, except instead of messaging, it’s…well, solely audio. Users on the app can either create, participate in, or simply listen to discussions and interviews on a variety of topics like venture capital, real estate, tech, philosophy, politics, self-improvement, music, makeup, languages etc. Virtually any topic you can think of will have an audience and group of experts willing to discuss, and if there isn’t yet, there soon will be given the app’s exponential growth in popularity.
CaringBridge: If most social media platforms are filled with snark, pessimism, and trash, then CaringBridge is on the other side of the spectrum. This is a wonderful site, fueled by donations, that lets people share their health journey as they struggle with challenging health issues. In a health crisis, there are a ton of decisions, choices, and practical needs that come up. As the site says, “Family and friends want to help, but even well-meaning offers can become overwhelming.” CaringBridge helps people manage those kinds of requests. We need more sites like CaringBridge. Great job, team. Strengths: This is an organization with purpose. Weaknesses: Not many. I wish them the best of luck.
Facebook Live: I’m identifying this as a separate platform from Facebook, even though it’s not (hey, it’s my blog and I can do that if I want to). Facebook Live was created to compete against Meerkat (dead), Periscope, Houseparty, and Instagram stories (sort of). It’s taken the world by storm. Strengths: Wide adoption and ease of use. Weaknesses: Once you start squashing your competitors the way Facebook has, the general population is likely to root against you. It’s the way the world works.
Houseparty: This is a social networking app that allows up to eight people to video chat at once in a “room.” Users can have infinite rooms and easily float between rooms. Users receive a notification when friends open the app and can join chats with friends (and friends of friends). If you want to add friends from your Address Book, you can tap Add from Contacts. Houseparty will double check that you want to upload your Contacts to find your friends. You can also connect to Facebook to add your Facebook friends if you want to. If you want to add friends from Snapchat, you can tap Add from Snapchat to share your Profile Link to your Snap Story. Strengths: An up-and-coming platform. Weaknesses: It is in a crowded space and might not gain enough of a user-base to dominate.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is one of the original social media platforms. It allows members (both workers and employers) to create profiles and connections to each other in an online social network which may represent real-world professional relationships. Members can invite anyone (whether an existing member or not) to become a connection. If you’d like to connect with Jamie Turner (CEO of 60SecondMarketer.com), feel free to do so by clicking on Jamie’s LinkedIn profile. Strengths: Dominance in the business social media networking space. Weaknesses: Average monthly minutes used is low (see chart at the top of the post).
hi5: This is a social networking platform that skews a little younger than LinkedIn. Members can play games, watch videos, flirt, give gifts or just hang out. Strengths: It’s a great alternative to MySpace and/or Facebook for the younger crowd. Weaknesses: It may not be the best social networking platform for business.
QQ: This is an instant messaging platform that is used in 80 countries around the globe, but is primarily used by young people in China. In addition to its instant messaging features, it also enables users to decorate their avatars, watch movies, play online games, shop online, blog, and make payments. Strengths: Wide adoption in China. Weaknesses: It’s used primarily in China.
Messenger: Facebook made Messenger into a stand-alone app in 2011 (previously, Messenger had been a feature built-in to Facebook). Businesses can now advertise, create chatbots, send newsletters, and communicate in other ways using Messenger. Strengths: It’s backed by Facebook. Weaknesses: It’s backed by Facebook.
WeChat: This is a social media platform that’s used around the globe. Users can use WeChat to shop online, make payments offline, transfer money, make reservations, book taxis, and much more.
QZone: This is a social media platform based out of China that allows users to upload multimedia, write blogs, play games, and decorate their own virtual spaces.
Nextdoor: Want to stay connected with people in your neighborhood? If so, then you’ll want to check out Nextdoor which allows you to plug in your zip code or neighborhood and to connect with other people living nearby. Have something to sell? Great, Nextdoor is for you. Want to alert people about a pothole on your street? Ditto. What about letting people nearby know about a charitable event? Again, Nextdoor is the place.
Quora: When Quora first came out, I thought it was going to be as big as Facebook or Pinterest. I was wrong, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a terrific site. If you have a question about anything — photography, fashion, business, culture, society — you can ask people on Quora for advice. I don’t use this frequently, but when I do, I’m happy I stopped by.
Meetup: Interested in meeting other people who share your interests? If so, then Meetup is for you. Yes, in the era of COVID it might be tough to meet people face-to-face, but don’t let that stop you from exploring this social media platform. It’s packed with good events.
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Social Media Platforms That Help You Share Your Content
YouTube: YouTube allows users to upload, view, rate, share, add to playlists, report, comment on videos, and subscribe to other users. It offers a wide variety of user-generated and corporate media videos. Available content includes video clips, TV show clips, music videos, short and documentary films, audio recordings, movie trailers, live streams, and other content such as video blogging, short original videos, and educational videos. If you’d like to check out Jamie Turner’s YouTube channel, click here where you’ll find videos on how to be a better communicator, how to accomplish your goals and how to lead teams.
Caffeine: This is a social broadcasting platform that delivers live, interactive content at the intersection of gaming, sports, and entertainment. Caffeine was founded in April 2016 by former Apple TV designers Ben Keighran and Sam Roberts. The app wants to differentiate itself from other live-streaming services like YouTube and Twitch by offering users ad-free live streams and broadcasters a way to make money through micro-transactions. The company also aims to put a bigger emphasis on personal conversation between broadcasters and their friends slash fans to avoid some of the hate and harassment that have occurred on other platforms.
Instagram: After its launch in 2010, Instagram exploded with one million registered users in two months, 10 million in a year, and 1 billion as of May 2019. In April 2012, Facebook acquired the service for approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock. As of October 2015, over 40 billion photos had been uploaded. Although praised for its influence, Instagram has been the subject of criticism, most notably for policy and interface changes, allegations of censorship, and illegal or improper content uploaded by users. According to Wikipedia, the most followed person is footballer Cristiano Ronaldo with over 233 million followers. As of January 14, 2019, the most-liked photo on Instagram is a picture of an egg, posted by the account @world_record_egg, created with the sole purpose of surpassing the previous record of 18 million likes on a Kylie Jenner post. The picture currently has over 54 million likes.
Steemit: Steemit is a blockchain-based blogging and social media website, which rewards its users with the cryptocurrency STEEM for publishing and curating content, and is owned by Steemit Inc., a privately held company based in New York City and a headquarters in Virginia.
Instagram Reels: Reels invites you to create fun videos to share with your friends or anyone on Instagram. Record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools. You can share reels with your followers on Feed, and, if you have a public account, make them available to the wider Instagram community through a new space in Explore. Reels in Explore offers anyone the chance to become a creator on Instagram and reach new audiences on a global stage. It’s the latest offering from our friends at Instagram and might be worth checking out.
Tumblr: This is a microblogging site that allows users to share stories, photos, GIFs, TV shows, links, quips, dumb jokes, smart jokes, Spotify tracks, mp3s, videos, fashion, art, deep stuff. Tumblr is 507 million different blogs, filled with literally whatever. According to the Tumblr website, “Once you follow a blog, all of its posts show up in your dashboard, just like you’d expect. See something great? Reblog it to your own blog. Add commentary if you like. Make it your own. Other people will do the same to your posts. That’s how you meet people here.”
TikTok: TikTok is the world’s fastest-growing social media platform and has been downloaded more than 1.2 billion times. It has been in the news lately because of U.S. efforts to encourage the sale of TikTok assets (a company based in China) to a U.S. company as a way to prevent the Chinese from allegedly tracking U.S. consumers. The platform allows users to edit, share, and comment on short videos ranging from 3 to 15 seconds. It is available in over 150 countries and in 75 different languages. To learn more about TikTok, read this post on the 60 Second Marketer.
Twitter: This is a social media site for sharing news and information about entertainment, sports, politics, and more. Twitter has a strong emphasis on real-time information and is generally used to share content with friends and followers you’ve connected with previously.
SnapChat: If you read the SnapChat website, it says it’s still a camera company. That’s not entirely accurate, guys. You’re, in fact, just a social media platform. Let’s update your website already, which says this “Snap Inc. is a camera company. We believe that reinventing the camera represents our greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate. We contribute to human progress by empowering people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together.” <– This is a sad case of the mission statement not being updated quickly enough.
Pinterest: This is a social media platform that is designed to help members share their designs, photos, images, and other “artsy” stuff with others. Think of Pinterest as a cork board where you pin stuff to your wall in order to 1) be inspired, 2) remember things, or 3) whatever else you can come up with.
Reddit: This social media platform is a lot like Tik Tok. What I mean by that is that it can be addictive — and a time suck. All that said, Reddit has a very loyal following — 1.3 billion users so far. So, if you want to stay up-to-date on where culture and society is going, Reddit is a good tool for that.
Mix: Awrighty, then. What used to be StumbleUpon is now called Mix. It’s a new personalized discovery platform that “unlocks more of the internet you care about.” What does that mean? Well, it means that you can curate your own mix of social media content and eliminate the noise. I’ve taken a spin through Mix and I have to say — it’s pretty impressive. It has a clean interface and lets you curate your own stuff.
Twitch: This is a live-streaming platform that’s used by gamers to stream their game play or watch other gamers do their thing. Twitch apparently has about 5 million monthly broadcasters so if you’re into this kind of thing, it’s definitely the place to be.
Online Tools to Help You Run and Manage Your Marketing Campaigns
Agorapulse: Are you looking for a way to engage your fans and measure your performance across multiple social media platforms? AgoraPulse is used by Virgin, PlayStation, McDonald’s and others to attract fans and engage them with quizzes, photos, contests, sweepstakes and more. This tool was founded by another friend of mine named Emeric Ernoult. I’m always amazed at how Emeric and his team continue to keep Agorapulse on the cutting edge of social media tools.
Nimble: Were you as un-impressed with Salesforce as I was? I mean, really. Unless you’re a huge mega-corporation, Salesforce is a mess. Fortunately, there’s Nimble, which has an easy-to-use interface and makes staying in touch with customers and prospects easy.
Oktopost: This is a B2B social media management platform architected for enterprise companies. With Oktopost, B2B marketers can schedule large volumes of social content across multiple networks, track valuable business performance metrics, and integrate social data with their entire marketing ecosystem. They have a great post on their site titled Top 10 Social Media Reporting Tools which is terrific. Be sure to check it out!
GetResponse: This is the marketing automation platform I use for the 60 Second Marketer. It has a great team behind it and includes tools for webinars, landing pages, paid ads, and more.
Sprout Social: Sprout Social manages multiple social networks from one dashboard, allowing you to optimize your outreach in each channel, identify people interested in your brand and convert them to loyal consumers. I’ve found it to be a good tool for people who like to process data visually.
TweetDeck: Like HootSuite, TweetDeck provides a way to track many of your social media channels on one dashboard. It can be a time-saver and a productivity-enhancer, assuming you’re not easily distracted.
Marketing Cloud: Marketing Cloud’s social media management platform is perfect for companies who have multiple people contributing to their social media campaigns. In addition to organizing and monitoring your Twitter and Facebook pages, it allows you to assign updates and social streams to members of your team based either on their expertise or who is “on duty” at a certain time.
SproutLoud: This platform helps manage brands and promote marketing messages at the local level with a web-based Marketing Resource Management solution. Their solutions are easily adaptable for any type of local network –– sales channels, franchises, retailers, dealer networks, VAR Programs, distributed employees/offices, affiliates and more.
Socialbakers: Socialbakers is a user-friendly social media analytics platform which provides a leading global solution that allows brands to measure, compare, and contrast the success of their social media campaigns with competitive intelligence.
Oktopost.com: This B2B platform allows for total content management, allowing for easy distribution and marketing of your campaign across social media. It has gained in popularity over the past few years in part because of its ease-of-use and the new features they continue to introduce.
Hootsuite: Hootsuite is one of the better known social media platforms available. They have a simple, easy-to-use dashboard that makes posting on social media a piece of cake.
That’s all for now, folks. I’m tired. But I’ll be updating this post again in the future.
About the Author: Jamie Turner is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and management consultant who was recognized as a top 10 speaker by CarreerAddict (along with Ariana Huffington, Daymond John, and Gary Vaynerchuk). His client list includes The Coca-Cola Company, AT&T, Microsoft, Verizon, SAP, T-Mobile, and Holiday Inn. You may have seen Jamie in Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, Business Insider or the Wall Street Journal. He’s also a regular guest on CNN and HLN where he contributes segments on marketing, persuasion, and leadership. He is the founder of 60SecondMarketer.com and has a new YouTube series called IN:60 which is available on YouTube and was designated as one of 8 “Top Business YouTube Channels” in the nation by Wishpond.com.
Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which allows me to earn a small commission if you purchase the product.