Essential Social Platforms for College Seniors

I like to survey my incoming social media marketing class about their social networks. It is often a learning experience for me: a couple of years ago I learned about two new platforms, Instagram and Pinterest, before they hit a “tipping point” and were in the news. Last January I learned about the popularity of Snapchat and some upcoming sites including Tinder, Whisper and Yik Yak.

Yesterday I surveyed the sixty students, generally seniors majoring in marketing or communications, about which social media sites were important to them. I asked two questions:

  • What are your three most used social media platforms in order, and
  • What ONE social media platform is most important – the one you would keep if you had to have only one?

The weighted scores of the seven social media platforms that drew more than 2 mentions from the 60 participants is shown in the following table. The weighted score was created by giving  a platform three points for every student that ranked them first in “most used”, 2 points for second and one for third. As you can see Instagram edged out Twitter, followed by Facebook and Snapchat.

Platforms Weighted Score


Twitter 83
Facebook 64
Snapchat 32
YouTube 17
Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn < 10


I was surprised that Snapchat wasn’t closer to Facebook and that YouTube was not more competitive in the weighted score.

When I looked at the platforms rated essential, Twitter edged out Instagram as shown in the following table. Facebook and Snapchat were fairly close:

Platforms #Essential
Twitter 19
Instagram 16
Facebook 8
Snapchat 5
YouTube 2
Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr 1


These results are consistent with my sense that Facebook is not the 800 million pound gorilla among young social media users, but it is still important. Instagram and Twitter seem to be the ways to reach this group. The FB purchase of Instagram looks brilliant, even if just as a defensive move.

Of course it should be noted that the sample is only 60 and could be skewed by the fact that they were willing to subject themselves to my social media marketing class. (But they have not yet been exposed to my pro-Twitter bias…)

Do you think young social users are simply a distinct demographic group… or do they provide signals for trends?

This entry was posted in Blogging, Content, Facebook, Higher education, LinkedIn, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Teaching SMM, twitter and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Essential Social Platforms for College Seniors

  1. jim moritz says:

    Thank you very much for very nice and interesting blog post.

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