What are the Most Popular Social Media Platforms Today?

by Melissa Venable

Melissa Venable Headshot

Today social media options range from tried and true platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to emerging platforms like Snapchat. Part of the process of using social media effectively is deciding which tools make the most sense for you and your students and clients. Building presence and meaningful interaction in all, or even several, platforms in your career office is unrealistic. But, which ones should be your priority?



Fortunately, multiple research groups are regularly measuring social media use, and reporting it using a wide variety of metrics. Debra Osborn and I presented a session on “Best Practices in Social Media” at the Georgia Career Development As- sociation’s (GCDA) Annual Mini-Conference last month, and we shared a few of these leading research resources with attendees.



Start developing your own best practices by identifying the sites with which your audience may be most active.

Most Popular Social Media Platforms in the U.S. (Number of Users) – Pew Research Center, 2016: 1. Facebook, 2. Instagram, 3. Pinterest, 4. LinkedIn, 5. Twitter

Twitter: @Melessa_Venable and @TechnologyTwins

Most Popular Platforms in the U.S. (Number of Visits) – Statista (1), 2016:

  1. Facebook
  2. YouTube
  3. Twitter
  4. Reddit
  5. Pinterest

Leading Social Networks Worldwide (Number of Users) – SmartInsights, 2016:

  1. Facebook
  2. WhatsApp
  3. Facebook Messenger
  4. QQ
  5. WeChat

Fastest Growing Social Networks Worldwide (Number of Monthly Active Users) – Statista (2), 2016:

  1. Facebook
  2. WhatsApp
  3. WeCha
  4. Instagram



While there are similarities across all of these sources - Facebook tops all of the charts - there are also differences based on how the data was collected (e.g., phone, self-report, quantitative track- ing), whom it was collected from (e.g., age groups, U.S. vs. International), how it is reported (e.g., number of users, number of visits), and how often it is collected (e.g., annually, quarterly, monthly).

Find resources that match your needs and use the available research to inform your social media practices. You may not only confirm your current use, but also discover the latest trends and tools to guide your social media efforts in the future.



For more information about best practices in social media, you can find the full GCDA presentation here: http://bit.ly/2nzqxFQ.

Pew Research Center: http://pewrsr.ch/2fIeTTY
SmartInsights: http://bit.ly/1WZLsjv

Statista (1): http://bit.ly/2olaawC Statista (2): http://bit.ly/OeHf9K