• Jamie Domm

2020 Social Media Platform Review for Reaching Young Adults

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

by Jamie Domm



With so many platforms to pick from, it may be difficult to know where to start. In this blog, we’ll provide a brief summary of the most popular platforms in 2020, their demographics and their suitability for the 18−30 age group. Use this information to help you choose one or two platforms that best align with the interests of the young adults you’re trying to reach through your digital strategy.


Facebook Facebook has been around a while and is very popular and commonly used. While its popularity has diminished in some markets and age groups, Facebook has 2.6 billion monthly active users as of July 2020, making it the largest country in the world and is projected to keep growing. Most people come to Facebook for entertainment, news, education and socializing. Facebook is great for two-way communication between your audience and ministry. It allows for very quick feedback through comments, shares, reactions and direct messages. Users can post videos or livestream from their profile page. Facebook also permits very targeted marketing to very specific demographics. Ad campaigns can be run for about $7.19 for 1,000 impressions, making its advertising platform very affordable for small budgets. Another benefit of Facebook is it allows for easy monitoring with provided tools like Facebook Insights. With tools like this, you can gather in-depth insights into how your content is received.

The big disadvantage of Facebook is its diminishing popularity and adoption among younger generations. Nonetheless, organizations still have the potential to reach 113 million teens globally through Facebook advertising. However, Gen Z kids in North America and Europe prefer to engage socially on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube over Facebook. Second, Facebook restricts the organic newsfeed exposure of pages to reserve space for paid promotions. However, it’s important to note a little budget can go a long way if your target audience is active on Facebook.

While we don’t recommend using Facebook predominantly to reach the under-30 demographic, we do advise most ministries who seek to reach a broad age range to have a Facebook presence. It’s also through Facebook ads manager that you can place targeted advertising on Instagram. To be successful, you’ll need to commit to posting a mix of content throughout the week (daily or every other day) and actively engage with people’s comments and messages in a timely manner. Facebook Statistics (June 2020)

Instagram Instagram, like Facebook, is mainly used for entertainment, sharing, education and socializing. Instagram, however, is purely visually based. Pictures or short video clips are what is posted. This is one reason it’s so popular with younger generations who prefer images, icons and symbols over text. On Instagram, it’s expected to have beautiful aesthetics coupled with short, attention-grabbing captions. Instagram is great for discovering or being discovered. Hashtags are used heavily on this platform. When a hashtag is added to a caption, it will share that post to a live updating database of other people who have used that hashtag. Anyone who searches that hashtag can see your post organically.

Instagram is wonderful for being discovered and curating a beautiful archive of content, but once someone finds your profile, it’s not easy to share content. They can, however, comment and “heart” posts. The other challenge with Instagram is that, because it’s so visual, your content and brand are judged almost entirely by their cover. Users on this platform scroll through so many posts without spending even a second on each one, making it even more essential to catch their attention through standout visuals.

A unique feature to take advantage of on Instagram is the “stories” feature. Stories are a way to post quick content that will disappear after 24 hours. Stories are also a fun way to document live events or quick thoughts. Content can be uploaded straight from your phone’s gallery and saved to your highlights if the content has value beyond the moment.

For vloggers, videographers, filmmakers and other personality-centered brands, IGTV enables users to post longer videos than Instagram stories and posts permit. Regular users can upload 10-minute-long videos, while verified users can post up to hour-long videos. There’s also a series feature where creators can release videos on a scheduled basis.

The most successful Instagram accounts post daily and utilize a mix of content types, such as stories and posts. The app also offers built-in insights that enable business profiles to monitor their traffic, audience and engagement. In addition, 73% of U.S. teens say Instagram is the best way for brands to reach them, so we highly recommend using Instagram to reach younger audiences.

Instagram Statistics (June 2020)

Podcasting

Podcasts are digital audio files, frequently episodic, users can subscribe to, download or stream through the internet via their smartphone, tablet or desktop. People listen to podcasts to gain exposure to creative ideas, learn more about topics that interest them, get inspired by thought leaders, stay up to date on current events and gain deep insight into complex issues in an entertaining way while on the go or running errands around the house. Because podcasts can be heard anywhere and anytime convenient to the listener, they’re a great alternative to radio for busy people.

Podcast listeners are more likely to be college educated with advanced degrees and have a love for learning. A listener can search any topic and soon be connected with a choice of relevant series and episodes. Listeners tend to be much more active across all social media platforms and listen to an average of seven different shows a week.

Outside reviews, there isn’t much opportunity for direct engagement with listeners. However, since listeners are highly active on social media, engagement can occur on a variety of social media platforms. The platform(s) you choose depend on where your target audience spends their time. To be successful, it’s essential to be actively engaged on various social media platforms to create community around your content and encourage podcast ambassadors, helping people find your ministry’s podcast. Many podcasts also videorecord episodes and post the video or soundwave video version on YouTube, optimized for search, to increase their listening audience. Video snippets can be repurposed to tease the full podcast on Instagram, IGTV, Facebook and any other platform that supports video. Many podcast listeners listen weekly and even daily, so plan to upload a new episode at least once a week, if not more. Podcasting analytic tools provide basic data analytics like subscribers, listens, time spent listening, percentage listened etc. to help you understand how your audience is growing and engaging with your content. Given that nearly 50% of listeners are under 35, podcasting would be an excellent choice for Bible studies and discussions about spiritual or social topics.

Click here for a step-by-step guide to starting a podcast.

Podcasting Statistics (June 2020)

Snapchat

Snapchat is a video and image messaging app where messages (snaps) disappear after being received, leaving no potentially embarrassing history. Like real life, these brief, 10-second interactions are temporary and not stored. This mimics face-to-face conversations, but with added features like stories, filters and augmented reality through interactive lenses. For many young people, this creates a safe, fun environment to socialize with peers and share their daily experiences. Recipients can take a screenshot of a snap, but the sender is notified. Depending on the nature of the message and relationship, a screenshot of another’s snap may or may not be viewed well. Eighty-two percent of Snapchat users are 34 and younger, making this platform a great choice for reaching this demographic, especially since one-third of users cannot be found on Instagram. The brevity of messages and peer-to-peer culture can make it challenging for brands to connect with youth. Snapchat isn’t right for every ministry, but it can be a powerful way to engage a younger audience if strategically used in combination with other platforms. There is a lot of opportunity for personal ministries and youth leaders to use the application for building relationships with and ministering daily to local youth. Geofilters are a unique feature that can be used with live events to enable youth to share images and video clips about their in-person experience to their peers with a branded filter for your ministry. The cost of a geofilter depends on the length of time and distance it encompasses.

It’s important to post often, since stories disappear after 24 hours. Plan to share stories four to seven times weekly, and be sure to engage directly with your connections daily, if possible. Insights are limited, but you receive an analytics report for geofilters.

Snapchat Statistics (June 2020)

TikTok

Originally called musical.ly, TikTok is a social media platform popular among teens for sharing videos of users lip-synching to popular songs, comedy sketches, singing, dancing, participating in viral challenges or just talking. Users can browse and interact with other users’ content, and videos are grouped by hashtags, often connected to challenges or memes. Its advanced algorithm utilizes artificial intelligence to make highly personalized recommendations to viewers, making videos highly discoverable.

This viral video app allows creators to upload or create videos in-app with stop and start recording, timers and livestreaming. Videos are stored on the user’s profile. Like a bite-sized version of YouTube, videos range from five to 60 seconds, and creators can use filters, time effects, split screens, green screens, transitions, stickers, GIFs, emojis and a music library that can be added and remixed. TikTok includes a unique collaborate feature that allows users to sample another person’s video to create duets, remixes and more.

Like other social media platforms, users can follow accounts, comment, share, and give hearts. Users can curate a “favorites” section with videos, hashtags, sounds and effects. Profiles show how many followers a creator has, how many people they follow and total hearts received. One unique form of engagement for this platform is the ability to give virtual gifts that can be converted to emoji or diamonds, which can be exchanged for cash. To discover new videos and creators, users can search hashtags, keywords, users and more. Many users also share content to other social media platforms, and many themed videos like cringe and react end up as YouTube compilations.

TikTok offers much untapped potential for creative ministry-focused videos and community challenges concerning Christian themes or service. Rich video and engagement analytics are built into the platform for easy access, helping users understand their audience, how people interact with their content and what types of content resonate most with viewers. Video is king, and with the amount of time youths spend on this platform, it’s important to create a regular stream of quality content for them to enjoy. If you choose to use this tool for reaching youths, be sure to empower youth to create content for your account, and stay on top of the latest trends to increase your chances of getting found. The content you create can be repurposed for other platforms to increase awareness.

TikTok Statistics (June 2020)

Twitter

Twitter is a microblogging platform that allows users to share short messages (tweets), contribute to a collective conversation and follow other users. It’s particularly popular among news junkies for its ability to create conversations around trending topics using hashtags. People generally use it to connect with friends, share thoughts to a wide audience, follow celebrities or politicians, discover brands and stay informed about breaking news. Tweets comprise images and text, text alone or short videos. Messages are limited to 280 characters, which makes content highly scannable for the casual scroller. These concise messages often include emojis and gifs that help convey additional meaning. Users can broadcast live on Twitter through Periscope. You can retweet (RT) another person’s Tweet, like it or comment, direct message people and tag other users in Tweets. The platform can be used to share up-to-the-minute, groundbreaking information rapidly to a large audience who quickly disseminates information, sometimes before the media is even aware. This empowers citizen journalists to share experiences and perspectives in real time.

To be successful on Twitter, you must tweet daily—the more, the better—and actively engage the community. It’s important to pay attention to trends related to your ministry and activity contribute to relevant conversations. Information moves fast, so you’ll want to check in multiple times daily as much as possible. Therefore, whoever runs your organization’s Twitter account must be highly communicative and socially sensitive. In-depth analytics are built directly into the platform, for easy access to information on demographics, engagement and reach. This makes it easy to determine which types of content resonate best with the people you’re reaching and helps you determine whether you’re connecting with your target audience. The platform skews male and younger, making it useful for connecting with young adults. If your ministry is cause-based or otherwise highly active concerning issues like social justice, Twitter is an obvious choice for generating awareness and building community.

The big disadvantage of Twitter is that information can often be heavily biased and shared without the full context. As a result, the speed at which information is shared and superficiality can result in a Twitter storm or mob, where the community gangs up on a person through collective bullying, doxing (exposing someone’s name, address and/or employer) and general harassment. Often, users join this frenzy without understanding the full context of what ignited the storm. For this reason, we recommend avoiding controversial topics, staying politically neutral and being careful with your words to avoid being misunderstood out of context. Twitter Statistics (June 2020)

YouTube People visit YouTube for entert access the platform,with obile device,and 93% of video views are on mobile devices. Video traffic accounts for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic. YouTube is the second-largest search engine and the second most-visited website in the world. This is where young people spend most of their time online.

Creating a YouTube account is very cheap. All you need is a camera and device to upload. YouTube is great for communicating ideas quickly and provides a storage place where content never dies. It can be revisited or reposted as many times as you want.

The platform offers in-depth analytics built into its Creator Studio and a convenient mobile app to allow timely responses to comments. To be successful, you’ll need to commit to uploading at least one video per week. YouTube also offers a live video feature that can be utilized for interactive sessions with your audience.

If you have the calling to reach young people, YouTube is a must. Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to start a YouTube ministry. YouTube Statistics (May 2020)

YouTube Demographics (May 2020)

To learn more about how to reach young adults, download the complete guide.


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