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A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about the skills you should master before you apply for a social media manager role.

To apply those skills, however, you have to be familiar with multiple social media platforms and know how to target them toward your particular audience. At ShortStack, for example, we mainly use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, because those are the platforms our audience uses most (and audience is key).

To help understand (and increase) your company’s online impact, here’s a look at the top social media platforms that you should be familiar with.

1. YouTube


By the Numbers

One billion users; four billion video views a day (YouTube is the second largest search engine, just after Google, its parent company)

The Basics

Companies that have video content are 53 times more likely to show up on Google’s front search page—but surprisingly, only 9% of businesses have a YouTube presence.

Like with any social media platform, if you want to be successful, you have to think about what kinds of content will be most useful for your audience. For example, ShortStack’s main YouTube channel (we have a few) features short demo videos that offer users short step-by-step tutorials on how to get started with our software and use specific features. We’re also in the process of creating a video case study to feature, as well as a video press release, inspired by Audi’s.

For Inspiration

For B2B inspiration, check out HubSpot’s channel—they publish everything from how-tos to case studies. If you’re a B2C operation, check out GoPro (they do everything right—because they know exactly what their audience likes!) or Rainbow Loom.

2. Instagram


By the Numbers

300+ million users

The Basics

You’ve heard the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In a nutshell, that’s why Instagram is so popular. While many people are familiar with Instagram on a personal level, it’s also become a powerful marketing tool for companies. In a world where we have information coming at us all day, every day, offering up an eye-catching image is an easy way to catch followers’ attention.

People who follow brands on Instagram are looking for behind-the-scenes views and other spontaneous images that aren’t typically featured in advertisements.

For Inspiration

Check out Intel and General Electric for great examples of behind-the-scenes shots, and American Express for ideas on how you can offer deals and special offers via Instagram. To help you gain more followers, check out this post from Neil Patel, founder of QuickSprout, which includes a few of his time-tested strategies.

3. Snapchat


By the Numbers

100 million daily users; 71% are younger than 25

The Basics

Snapchat has evolved from a photo- and video-sharing app favored by teenagers to a useful marketing tool, especially for publishers, travel companies, and retailers. These kinds of businesses are taking advantage of Snapchat’s potential to tell stories about people, places, and things. For example, Food Network features recipes with instructions via quick clips. ESPN publishes sports highlights, plus teasers for bigger stories that (presumably) will appear on television or on ESPN.com.

Initially, snaps were limited to a few seconds in length, and once a person viewed a snap, it was gone. Now, Snapchat has introduced a “stories” feature that allows you to create narratives by stringing short clips together to tell a longer story—sometimes four minutes or more. Once posted, Snapchat stories are viewable for just 24 hours, so you have to give people a reason to check in on you frequently.

For Inspiration

Check out the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (@LACMA_Museum), The Hundreds (@Bobbyhundreds), Acura (@Acura), GrubHub (@GrubHub), General Electric (@GeneralElectric), and Heinekin (@Heinekin).

4 and 5. Meerkat and Periscope


By the Numbers

Meerkat has two million users; Periscope has 10 million

The Basics

These two (very similar) apps allow you to broadcast live video to the world. All you have to do is point your smartphone camera at whatever you want viewers to see. Live streaming from a smartphone is still new, but it’s a great way to share live events with your fans and followers, to host live interviews with your CEO, or to show how your product is made. Basically, it allows you to show your fans and followers all sorts of behind-the-scenes action that happens at your company.

There are a handful of differences between the two platforms, mainly regarding saving your broadcasts. Periscope saves your broadcasts for 24 hours, while with Meerkat, you have to opt to save a stream by including the hashtag #Katch after the video you want to save (you’ll receive a tweet with a YouTube link where your video has been archived).

For Inspiration

British chef Jamie Oliver, tennis pro Roger Federer, actor Edward Norton, and journalist Sarah Haines (who often streams from the set of Good Morning America Weekend) are frequent Periscopers.

6. Product Hunt


By the Numbers

150,000 users

The Basics

Product Hunt appeals to “product-loving enthusiasts to share and geek out about the latest mobile apps, websites, hardware, and other creations.” It’s basically an online showroom for new tech products, and you can assume the people who spend time on Product Hunt are looking for the next must-have app, game or book.

Hundreds of products are submitted every day, so getting featured can be tough (it’s based on upvotes you receive from members), but this extensive list of dos and don’ts and pro tips can help you successfully showcase your products.

The next time ShortStack is ready to launch a new product, we’ll definitely be trying to get it featured on Product Hunt. If you’re working for a company that has an upcoming product launch, I recommend you check it out.

For Inspiration

This week, The New York Times has a new cooking app that’s at the top of the most-recommended tech list. Duet Display is an app that lets you turn your iPad into a second display for your Mac, and it seems to have been popular for the last year. Finally, Layout by Instagram lets you combine multiple images into one. It’s also a perennial favorite on Product Hunt.