Understanding the most popular social media platforms around is beneficial for social media marketers and business owners alike as it will help leverage your brand as well as your products and services. The size, popularity and number of monthly active users are not the only things to take into account when choosing social media platforms to use. You should also consider what the best fit for your business will be so you can engage with the right people and maximise reach. Remember you don’t have to be on every single social media platform, be mindful of how much capacity you have and concentrate your efforts on what you can manage.


Monthly active users – approximately 2.74 billion globally and 23.77 million in South Africa. This is the largest social media platform, with over a third of the world’s population actively using it every month. This is why it is the most popular for businesses and is a great option if you want to have a presence on social media. It supports all content (text, images, videos) and also includes options to have live videos as well as stories.


Monthly active users – approximately 2 billion globally and 25.7 million in South Africa. YouTube is owned by Google and is a video sharing platform. Because of its affiliation with Google, it is also a great search engine. Users watch 1 billion hours of video every day, making it another popular choice for social media, but remember content is limited to videos.


Monthly active users – approximately 2 billion globally and 8.8 million in South Africa. It may not seem like an obvious choice when considering social media options, but when considering its popularity and integration of stories and WhatsApp for business – it becomes a contender. WhatsApp started as a messaging app, but now has stories that can be text, images, videos and links. It can be used to leverage off your current network or as a customer service portal. For small businesses, there is the WhatsApp Business App and medium to large businesses have a WhatsApp Business API.


Monthly active users – approximately 1 billion globally and 5.43 million in South Africa.

Instagram is another popular option, which supports images and videos – therefore, it is a very visual platform. Along with this, users can also share stories, have live videos and use IGTV (which is for longer-form videos). The platform also provides analytics that can be used to monitor the effectiveness of your content in terms of reach, engagement and so on.


Monthly active users – approximately 1.1 billion globally and 0.6 million in South Africa.

TikTok is a video sharing social media platform where users can record 60-second videos, edit them and add music and special effects. It has been rising in popularity since its release a few years ago, making it one of the newer social media platforms.


Monthly active users – approximately 429 million globally and 3.4 million in South Africa.

This social media platform has an emphasis on text; however, it does support images and videos. It is different from other social media platforms as there is a 280-character limit. It also has a strong emphasis on real-time information, ie, things happening right now.

According to Twitter, more than 80% of social customer service requests happen on the platform, making it a great platform to engage with customers who have queries, complaints and anything customer service related.


Monthly active users – approximately 774.6 million globally and 11.4 million in South Africa.