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Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn: Which Drives The Most Traffic?

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There are dozens of popular social media platforms out there, each with its own advantages, disadvantages, and unique niche audience. Choosing which platforms to include in your social media strategy can be problematic, especially for business owners new to the world of digital marketing. Most business owners choose to go with at least one of, if not all of the “big three” platforms in the social media world—Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but understanding which one of those drives the most traffic can help you better allocate and manage your time when it comes to posting and engaging your audience.

Clearly, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all have sizable audiences and easy management platforms, but which one is going to be the most effective for your business?

Facebook

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Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world, and it’s usually the go-to choice for business owners just getting started in social media marketing. However, its demographic mix and primary function make it a secondary choice for most businesses.

Total Potential Traffic

Facebook has more than 1.2 billion active monthly users, which is an impressive number, making it any business owner’s first choice in terms of total market potential. However, just because there are 1.2 billion users doesn’t mean you’ll be able to reach that many individuals.

Demographic Mix

Just about everyone uses Facebook, so finding the perfect demographic for your product shouldn’t be a problem. The large pool of users makes it so even niche audiences have decent representation on the platform. It may be hard to track down those specific users (unless you’re using Facebook’s advertising platform, which we’ll touch on later), so don’t necessarily count on those niche demographic opportunities.

Engagement Opportunities

Facebook allows you to broadcast to everyone who likes or follows your page, but getting people to like and follow your page can be difficult. Unless you direct a sizable pool of existing customers to your Facebook profile or use an ad campaign to direct traffic immediately, building up your initial audience can be extremely difficult. Even then, Facebook’s complex news feed algorithm make it so you can’t guarantee the visibility of your posts—unless of course, you resort to “boosting” them with paid advertising.

Advertising Options

Facebook’s ad platform is very effective, and relatively inexpensive. Whether you’re attracting new likes or directing traffic to your main site, the options are all very affordable, and the analytics platform helps you determine exactly how effective your strategy was. You can also filter out exactly the type of people you want to see your ad—down to age, gender, geographic location, and interests.

The Bottom Line

Facebook has a huge potential audience, bigger than any other platform, but it’s hard to get the interest of that potential audience unless you use paid advertising as a boost. If you’re looking for sheer numbers and can afford to complement your strategy with ads, Facebook is a good choice. If you’re looking to build an audience for free, the other two will probably yield more traffic.

Twitter

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Twitter, like Facebook, boosts a large audience, and while the demographic limitations are somewhat restrictive, Twitter has far more options for business owners looking to build an audience organically.

Total Potential Traffic

Twitter has about 284 million monthly active users, which pales in comparison to Facebook’s 1.2 billion, but is still a sizable crowd.

Demographic Mix

Twitter users tend to be younger than Facebook users (though there are exceptions to every rule). However, Twitter users also tend to be more talkative than their Facebook counterparts, making them easier to engage with under some circumstances.

Engagement Opportunities

Engagement potential on Twitter is the platform’s greatest strength. First, Twitter users are all public, so it’s much easier to track down and engage with new potential followers than it is on Facebook. Second, Twitter posts are short and news feeds are constantly updated, so you can get away with posting much more material than you could at Facebook, with virtually no risk of annoying your user base. Finally, open public conversations make it easier to build relationships with individuals while simultaneously improving your reputation to new potential followers.

Because of these reasons, it’s relatively simple—though time-consuming—to build an audience organically and from scratch on Twitter.

Advertising Options

Like Facebook, Twitter has an advertising platform. However, you might find that your advertising dollars don’t go as far on Twitter as they do on Facebook. The total potential audience is narrower, and the analytics platform isn’t quite as insightful.

The Bottom Line

Twitter is an incredibly valuable platform for the business owner who wants to build an audience without resorting to paid advertising. While it doesn’t bolster quite as much total potential traffic as Facebook, the means to getting relevant traffic are simpler due to Twitter’s public and fast-paced interface.

LinkedIn

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LinkedIn is generally geared toward professionals, using resumes instead of personal profiles to showcase candidates. It’s a perfect opportunity for service-based and B2B companies to hunt down the perfect leads, though some business owners might find the total traffic potential lacking.

Total Potential Traffic

LinkedIn bolsters about 300 million monthly active users, slightly more than Twitter, but these users tend to use the platform more sparingly than their Facebook or Twitter counterparts.

Demographic Mix

LinkedIn is almost exclusively used by people trying to advance their careers in one way or another. LinkedIn demographics tend to be older and more professional, and the resume-like nature of profiles tends to limit insights on personal interests. This makes the platform ideal for businesses searching for specific professionals as potential leads, but nearly useless for other businesses.

Engagement Opportunities

LinkedIn has more engagement opportunities than Facebook; it’s hard to get much attention from updating your company page, but if you start or regularly participate in a Group, you should be able to build a reputation for yourself and generate a moderate following. Be prepared for more in-depth one-on-one conversations than the typical broadcast-based communications of the other platforms.

Advertising Options                           

LinkedIn does offer an advertising service, similar to Facebook, though nowhere near as comprehensive. This may be an option for B2B companies looking to rapidly accelerate their growth, but free engagements in LinkedIn Groups are generally a better use of your time.

The Bottom Line

LinkedIn has a respectable total audience, but you’re only going to benefit from that audience if you’re looking for specific individual professionals as potential leads. LinkedIn doesn’t have the broadcast power that Facebook or Twitter does, but you can make great impressions by taking advantage of their Groups pages (either by starting a Group or joining one that already exists).

If you’re looking to dramatically increase your brand visibility online and get the most for your money when it comes to social SEO benefits, your best bet is to claim a presence on all of the “big three” platforms. They’re free to claim and easy to update, so you might as well nab all three as early as possible and update them on a regular basis.

However, the platform you spend the most time on is going to be up to your ultimate goals as well as the composition of your business.

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Nick Wilson

Nick is AudienceBloom's publication wizard. He works his magic to perform outreach for external content marketing campaigns.

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