Marketing

The Best Social Media Platforms for Business According to 30+ Experts

Which social media platform drives the highest quality traffic? 30+ marketers give their expert advice on which social media platform works best for them.

Maham S. Chappal Maham S. Chappal on July 27, 2020 (last modified on July 29, 2020) • 21 minute read

With 3.5 billion people using various social media platforms worldwide, businesses are scrambling to create an irresistible social presence and drive a big chunk of this user base back to their websites. 

And rightly so, as 54% of social browsers use social media to research products

However, with a plethora of social media platforms available and each platform requiring a substantial amount of effort and time, how do you decide which social platforms to focus more on? How do you track which ones are driving the highest quality traffic to your website?

In this article, we’ll answer just that and more as we discuss the following points:

So, let’s dive right into it. 

How to track social media traffic in Google Analytics?

You know social media is a great way for you to engage with your customers, build trust, lead them to your website, and convert them into your customers.

But, how do you find out which social media platform works best for your business? And how much traffic are you getting from each social media platform? 

Once you have your hands on this data, you can tweak various areas of your social media marketing strategy and focus on platforms that give you the highest quality traffic. 

This is where Google Analytics comes in. Since it’s free and has a user-friendly interface, it’s easy for everyone to navigate through it and get the data they want.

With this data, you can understand what impact your social media presence is having on your sales conversion process as you learn:

  • What’s resonating with your audience and what isn’t?
  • What are the demographics of users landing on your website? 
  • When are your users the most active?
  • How long are these users staying on your website?
  • Which social media platform is driving the most traffic?

Editor’s Note: Struggling to track your social media metrics? Use this Google Analytics Social Media dashboard to measure all your important social metrics like % new visitors from social, traffic from social, and more.

Navigating the clear waters of Google Analytics to find social media data

If you’re new to Google Analytics, here’s a step by step tutorial to help you understand how you can gather basic social media data: 

You’ll see a basic overview of your website data here:

As you scroll down, you’ll see your user acquisition channels, user retention, active users, and basic user demographics. 

  • Go to Acquisition, click on Social, and then choose Network Referral from the drop-down menu. 
  • This is the section where Google Analytics gives an overview of your social media marketing data.
  • Do you notice a table at the bottom of the page?

That’s where you learn which social media platform is driving the most traffic to your website. 

For my website, it’s Facebook. However, traffic does not equal conversions, so keep that in mind. Facebook could be driving the most traffic to my website, but Instagram could be converting better. So you’ll need to dive in deeper to figure out which of your platforms is driving most conversions and the highest quality traffic. 

  • When you click on one of the social media platforms mentioned in the table, you’ll see a list of the most popular pages on your website that users visited via that platform. 
  • In the drop-down menu, the next option is Landing Pages. That gives you a list of popular pages (filtered by most visited) that users landed on through your social media. 
  • Then there are Conversions, which shows you how well (or terribly) your social media marketing goals are being met. You need to set up specific goals in Google Analytics to retrieve this data. 
  • The last option is User Flow, which shows how users move within your site after they land on it via social platforms. Are they moving from one page to another or are they bouncing off from Home? 

The more you use Google Analytics, the better you’ll get at tracking your social media data. 

How much traffic (on average) comes from social media? 

According to data from Statista, as of August 2019, “30 percent of U.S. internet users between the ages of 18 to 34 years reported they had purchased something via social media.”

Businesses, in general, see a huge spike in their conversions and traffic when they start using social media platforms for marketing. Fisher Tank saw its web traffic increase by a whopping 119% after adding social media to their marketing mix. 

Buffer, a social media scheduling app, also witnessed great success through social media ads. As Brian Peter shares, “In the past year alone, we’ve used Facebook and Instagram advertising to generate more than 100,000 unique targeted visits to our website for less than $0.25 per click, which has resulted in thousands of leads and hundreds of new customers.”

Editor’s note: Understand which social channel is working the best for your business with this social networks dashboard. It’ll tell you how your Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter are doing on one screen.

How much traffic can you expect to receive via social media?

According to a recent survey we conducted, 25% of respondents said that around 10% to 25% of their website traffic came from social and 22% said social drove 25% to 35% of their website traffic.

As for which social media channel drives the most traffic for them: around 40% of them cited Facebook as the highest traffic yielding social media platform for their business. 

Which social media network drives the highest quality traffic?

Social media networks yield different results for different businesses.

As Melissa Hughes, of Foundation Marketing, put its, “It’s not about one social channel being the best for conversion. It’s about understanding who your target audience is and where they go to collect information, gain perspective, and inform themselves on decision making. If you discover this you will discover the social media channel that drives the highest quality traffic.”

E-commerce businesses might see a huge spike in traffic from Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, while digital marketing companies and B2B businesses get a lot of their website traffic through LinkedIn and Quora. 

Anthony Gaenzle, of Anthony Gaenzle Marketing, very aptly says, “Target the channels where your audience is most active and engaged in order to drive the most qualified traffic to your site. There is no one-size-fits-all for social media marketing, so do your research and develop a strategy that is customized specifically for your business.”

So let’s dissect each social media platform to see what works for which industry.

Facebook

We asked several different business owners in different niches and industries which social media platforms get them the highest quality traffic. The most common answer was Facebook. 

Michael Zook, of the Backyard Showcase, explains, “Facebook drives the highest quality traffic to our website, accounting for over 90% of users that come to our website from a referral source.”

E-commerce businesses, digital marketing agencies, bloggers, and even insurance companies cited Facebook as their highest traffic-driving social media source. 

Highest amount of users

One of the reasons why Facebook drives such high-quality traffic to these businesses is its broad audience base. As Klaris Chua-Pineda, of CrewCut, says “everyone in our target audience is probably there.”

Ben Arndt, at Dunk Basketball, believes the same. “Facebook by far drives the most traffic to our website (82% of all social referrals), and largely due to this sheer volume, Facebook is a conduit for our highest quality leads,” says Arndt. 

Vickie Pierre, of Buy Auto Insurance, saw a massive spike in high-quality traffic via Facebook. According to Pierre, “The most obvious advantage Facebook has over every other social media platform is in its massive popularity. With nearly 2.5 billion active users worldwide, no other social media platform holds a candle to Facebook’s reach.

That’s why if you’re looking to drive users to your site, you can never go wrong by incorporating Facebook into your social media strategy. Numbers alone will tell you that you are highly likely to connect with someone in your target demographic.”  

High level of trust

Unlike other social media platforms, Facebook gives businesses the opportunity to build a high level of trust with their customers. It has a section dedicated to reviews, operating hours, contact information and creates a seamless process for customers to converse with businesses. 

Casey Dawson, of Online Optimism, explains, “Through direct links and promotional posts, users on Facebook can be directly routed to relevant pages on our site, unlike other social media platforms where additional clicks and detours are needed to find our website.”

This has proved vital for businesses in driving high-quality warm leads to their website. 

As Arndt says, “Facebook provides the strongest platform for trust signals.

Of most importance, leads who are in the early stage of their purchase journey can appraise themselves with reviews of the business left by others, giving them confidence in any purchasing choice they may make. It’s an extra bonus if a connection of the lead has submitted a review, this will be made very apparent to the lead. Positive reviews are highly beneficial to businesses and their power to encourage sales should never be underestimated.

Secondly, Facebook is capable of holding and displaying extended information about a business, which is not the case for other popular platforms like Instagram. Contact options, operating hours, and an expanded business synopsis are a few of the important details leads want to know when they are considering trusting your business with their purchase.”

Community driven

Randi White, SJC marketing, has seen the highest engagement via Facebook. 

“We’re based in a very word-of-mouth driven community that gravitates toward Facebook first as their social means of connecting with brands. The fact that Facebook is one of the platforms where the largest portion of our audience feels most comfortable means that’s where we see the most engagement, and thus traffic to our website,” says White.

Facebook groups are an excellent way to nurture cold leads. Quincy Smith, of ESL Authority, is a big believer in harnessing the power of Facebook groups. “Our Facebook Group (not page) consistently delivers high-quality traffic whenever we post to it. Not only are all of our target users on Facebook, but we work hard to curate and moderate the group so that it’s beneficial without being spammy – in turn, users trust what we post and we’ve built up a nice community.” Smith explains.

Janice Wald, of Mostly Blogging, agrees and adds, “There are (Facebook) groups for every imaginable content niche: entertainers, writers, marketers, entrepreneurs, and so forth.”

Paid advertisement

While Facebook’s organic reach is generally low, investing a few dollars in paid campaigns can result in high-quality traffic.

Bella Mello, of Hearst Bay Area, explains how her company was able to leverage the power of paid Facebook advertisements to drive high quality leads back to their website. “We are able to run ads on Facebook with precise targeting and without spending too much money.” Mello shares.

Isaac Lauritsen, of Online Optimism, concurs, “Because Facebook’s algorithms for ads and potential connections are so nuanced, we often receive traffic to our website from companies looking for digital marketing around the Gulf South through Facebook.”

Related: Facebook Ad Formats: Which Are Best for Driving Awareness, Traffic, & Conversions?

Linkedin

With over 1 billion users and 30 million companies, LinkedIn is a powerhouse for B2B businesses. As Shiran Sugerman, of Spitfire Inbound, says, “We find that with most B2B clients, LinkedIn brings in higher quality leads.” Why? “Because it’s a business-focused platform where people go to connect and find solutions.”

Source

As Jasz Joseph, of SyncShows, says, “In the B2B world, we find the most success from LinkedIn. People are there for business needs so when they see an ad or a post that could help them improve their company, they are more likely to engage.”

Helps build thought leadership

Posting business-related content like career openings and business advice tends to boost LinkedIn engagement and drives relevant traffic to websites.

For Danielle Carson, at LakeOne Digital, LinkedIn generates almost 5x the amount of traffic than any other social channel. “We utilize the channel to deepen thought leadership, engage other companies and users, and distribute content,” says Carson.

“Since it’s a business platform and we share business advice, most of the traffic tends to be relevant whereas our traffic from Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms is usually a mixed group. We also regularly share career opportunities for our company and our clients which is a hot topic among LinkedIn users.

We’ve found that posting a couple of times a week on LinkedIn drives more organic impressions and engagements than posting daily,” says Colton De Vos, of Resolute Technology Solutions.

Related: 30 Marketers Share Their Most Effective LinkedIn Marketing Strategies

A hub for B2B audience

To drive relevant and high-quality traffic to your website, you need to have a solid presence where they are. For B2B companies, it’s mostly LinkedIn.

“As a B2B company, we see by far our best traffic from LinkedIn. This isn’t surprising to us because it’s where our business audience spends its time. Nobody looking for a new wellness offering for their employees is searching Instagram,” says Jakub Rudnik, Shortlister

Ney Lins, of Echoworx, is of the same mind. “We are in a highly regulated industry and our target audiences are executives from large corporations. We’ve tried all social channels possible but LinkedIn and Youtube are the main ones. However, LinkedIn brings the highest quality traffic to our website. I believe we’ve got the right tone balance to talk with our audiences and it makes us relevant for them.” Lins says.

At Tripepi Smith & Associates, LinkedIn accounts for the most Pageviews, Time on Site, and Pages per sessions, too. 

“In the first half of 2020, Social Referrals accounted for 7% of our Site Sessions,” states Jon Barilone, at Tripepi Smith & Associates. “We typically try to post multiple times per week from our Tripepi Smith Company Page. We also encourage employees to Like our Page’s posts, expanding the Reach and Engagement.”

Most B2B businesses agree that with Facebook and LinkedIn it’s a quality vs quantity debate. Most of them see a high amount of traffic from Facebook, but a higher quality of traffic through LinkedIn.

“While Facebook drives our highest quantity, LinkedIn wins with quality. There are two sources of traffic we track on LinkedIn: content shared on ‘owned’ brand properties like the Company Page and team profiles, and earned traffic from shares around the LinkedIn network. (You can assess LinkedIn traffic this way using unique UTMs for your owned content.)

From both sources, we see longer average session durations and better post-click metrics. Compared with search, organic social visitors come in smaller numbers and leave quicker.

With LinkedIn, we see signs of an audience that’s genuinely interested in learning and implementing new ideas. And that’s the audience we want to reach,” explains Josh Krakauer, of Sculpt.

User-friendly algorithm

Pete Davies, LinkedIn’s senior director of product management, says that LinkedIn feed is all about “People you know, talking about the things you care about.”

And it’s true. 

“LinkedIn algorithm works quite differently than the Facebook algorithm, for example. It can deliver you a link to the article mentioning that you should check it because you follow this company on LinkedIn. Moreover, LinkedIn’s business model isn’t solely dependent on advertising revenue. It’s more diverse and it adds up four sources of income,” says Marcin Niewęgłowski, of Digital Now

Promotes quality content

According to Jacklyn HeinLein, of Denamico, they credit most of their LinkedIn success to the quality content they create on this platform. 

“As a business-focused social platform, people using LinkedIn are already in the right headspace to find value in the content we’re putting out—content that focuses on helping sales & marketing leaders improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations,” shares HeinLein.

Brandon Amoroso of electrIQ Marketing, also believes that “Quality content we post on LinkedIn demonstrates our knowledge of digital marketing,” which in turn helps them drive high quality leads to their website. 

Warmer leads

Josh Krakauer believes that while LinkedIn doesn’t drive the most traffic to their website, it definitely drives high-quality traffic that’s ready to be converted. 

“There are two sources of traffic we track on LinkedIn: content shared on ‘owned’ brand properties like the Company Page and team profiles, and earned traffic from shares around the LinkedIn network. (You can assess LinkedIn traffic this way using unique UTMs for your owned content.) From both sources, we see longer average session durations and better post-click metrics.

Compared with search, organic social visitors come in smaller numbers and leave quicker. With LinkedIn, we see signs of an audience that’s genuinely interested in learning and implementing new ideas. And that’s the audience we want to reach,” says Krakauer.

Instagram

Instagram has seen a steady rise over the past few years. 

In 2019, the percentage of US adult users rose from 35% to 37%, while active users have been steady at one billion people. B2C businesses have seen substantial success through Instagram and consistent high-quality traffic. 

For CBD Oil Solutions, John Thomas says that Instagram has been their most successful social media platform. “Instagram has long driven not only the highest quality but also the highest amount of traffic. The CBD industry is very difficult to promote with our Facebook being largely hidden from search and the CBD conversation on Twitter very noisy.”

B2C businesses that attract and engage customers via aesthetically pleasing pictures find the best results via Instagram.

John Thomas says, “With Instagram, we have focused on posting aesthetically pleasing lifestyle shots of our products with uplifting quotes. These resonate and do well with the algorithm while also engaging users and driving demand.”  

Hashtags work incredibly well, too. Dai Baker, of Dai Baker Creative Group LLC, says that most of their target audience hangs out at Instagram and uses hashtags frequently to find the content they like. “They tend to find us through browsing hashtags and finding our profile,” shares Baker.

Alistair Dodds of EIC Marketing also mentions, “As a content marketing agency, one of the key means of promoting our client and conceptual work is via Instagram. It’s a visual platform where a lot of our target market hangs out. And with Facebook’s Ads Manager, we’re able to create strategic cold audience targeting via lookalike audiences as well as sequential retargeting campaigns. Ensuring it’s the most important social site for our needs.”

Related: 20 Social Media Marketers Share Their Top Instagram Posts for A B2B Audience

Twitter

“A lot of marketers focus on other social media platforms and forget how powerful Twitter can be and, therefore, forget to leverage this platform,” notes Jonathan Aufray, Growth Hackers Agency.

With around 330 million users, Twitter lags behind the 2 social media giants in terms of total users. However, it makes up for it with a highly engaged user base. As Aufray says, “The benefit of Twitter is that you can drive a lot of traffic organically, meaning without paying for ads.”

Muhammad Farasat Khan, of IsItWP, believes that if your target audience is active on Twitter, you can easily send them to your website. “Businesses like ours get high-quality traffic via Twitter. This is because we have the right audience following us on our Twitter account. Moreover, the type of audience we target is bloggers, small business owners, and startups who are actively networking on Twitter. Hence this helps us in driving converting traffic to our website,” says Khan.

Nikola Roza shares she was pleasantly surprised to see Twitter as one of her highest social referral sources. “I was positively stumped when I checked referral traffic sources in my Google Analytics. The traffic from Twitter is also engaged and of high quality. And because they’re so driven they’re automatically engaged and will stay longer on your website. They’ll read, subscribe, maybe leave a comment, click on an internal link to read something else.”

Ian Wright, of Bequeasts, also believes that Twitter drives high-quality traffic for their business because, “it converts the best.”

Steve Yanor, of Sky Alphabet Social Media, believes that there are several reasons behind Twitter’s stupendous success in driving high-quality traffic to their website.

“The first is that of all the social media sites, Twitter drives the most return visitors. Based on 1 billion users measured over the first 6 months of 2019, 25% of Twitter users had returned to the same website. This compares to 5% of Instagram users. This demonstrates that Twitter is an exceptional way to grow trust and likeability with an audience and still get rewarded with traffic. 

The second reason Twitter is better than other platforms is because Twitter users are used to going to websites from Twitter. Unlike Instagram and to a large extent Facebook, the Twitter interface has built in the ‘explore’ experience. Exploring other websites is part of Twitter which is why it is a leading source of daily news for a lot of people. 

Finally, Twitter has a superior search function. You can actually conduct keyword campaigns within Twitter which are designed to drive traffic to you or your clients’ websites. This is a criminally underrated function of Twitter, but one of our very favourite techniques, especially for local search campaigns,” explains Yanor.

Related: 24 Twitter Marketing Tips for Driving Engagement, Leads, & Sales

Pinterest

Pinterest has great potential to drive high-quality female-focused traffic. With over 335 million people who use Pinterest every month, Pinterest’s quickly becoming a haven for female-focused businesses. 

Kirby Wilkerson, of The Impact Kind, believes precisely that and says that Pinterest offers “tons of free traffic and great quality buyers for a female focused audience.”

When asked what she believes is the highest quality traffic source for her website, Nayan Malpani, of aTrend Hub, says, “For me, it is Pinterest. And the reason behind this is – pin regularly comes up on the user’s timeline. Even a year old pin can appear on the timeline depending on the user’s interest, unlike the other top social media platforms.”

Collecting Cents’ Freya Kuka also sees the best results through Pinterest. “Pinterest gives me the best traffic out of every platform I have tried and the reason I prefer Pinterest is because their traffic is consistent and targeted.” 

Quora and Reddit

Underdogs in the social media world, Quora and Reddit are often credited with generating high-quality traffic, especially for B2B businesses. As Junaid Ahmed of LambdaTest says, “For us, Quora has been driving the highest quality traffic on LambdaTest. In terms of percentage, the traffic number may be less however the quality of leads are very good and has utmost potential to convert into a paid customer.”

And how does it provide high quality, targeted leads?

Hima Pujara of Your Team in India explains, “leads from Quora are exactly looking for the answer we provide them.”

The fact that it’s a highly engaged Q and A platform allows businesses to become knights in shining armor for regular folks, answer their queries, and drive an already interested audience back to their website. 

SmallPDF’s Hung Ngyuen explains, “Our company has a profile where we answer questions about document management problems—especially those we can solve. At the time of writing, we have over 170,000 content views. Quora is a very highly authoritative website, and due to the sheer amount of questions being asked every day, the site ranks for many search terms that our website targets. Answering questions on Quora enables you to redirect traffic from SERPs to Quora to your own platform. As long as you meet users’ search intent, you will draw in the most relevant users to your own platform.”

Reddit works similarly and offers businesses a ton of opportunities to nurture cold leads and send them to their websites. For John Frigo at Best Price Nutrition, Reddit drives the highest quality traffic.

“Reddit is a platform which hates self-promotion and advertising so it needs to be done in a certain way, but if you can figure out the formula to driving traffic from Reddit without being called out by the community you’ll never find another traffic source from social media with a higher volume of traffic or quality of traffic.”

EarnBharat’s Sidhant Kumar agrees, “For me, Reddit drives the highest traffic because on this platform you get specific communities to target on. If you share any stuff related to a similar niche then maximum people will reach out to your site as they have already joined their interest.”

Conclusion

It all boils down to the same thing: each social media platform has something distinct to offer to businesses. As a business owner, you need to understand your audience and find out where they hang out the most. That’s where you’ll get the highest quality leads from.

About the author
Maham S. Chappal
Maham S. Chappal Maham S. Chappal is a content writer for SaaS and marketing brands in B2B. She’s been published in several leading publications including Social Media Examiner. She loves writing in-depth, research-backed content that drives traffic, increases brand awareness, and boosts ROI. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her engrossed in the latest John Grisham novel. You can find her on LinkedIn or on mahamschappal.com
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