Social media statistics paint a pretty clear picture: Your business—whether you’re a solopreneur or a Fortune 500 company—need to seize the many opportunities available through social media platforms. Your branding, revenue, and ROI will thank you.
But, beyond that zoomed out lesson, what more can social media statistics tell us?
There are many, many micro-takeaways to learn within the basic notion that social media is important for businesses. And taking a look at the numbers can help you parse out the details on how to effectively harness these marketing channels.
As such, we’ve compiled 13 of the most surprising and helpful social media statistics available to date. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of what social media has to offer your business:
Social media statistics abound, but sometimes it’s difficult to understand why small business owners should care about these numbers in the first place. After all, if you’re already found a marketing routine that works for your business, why should you shake it up?
Well, social media gives you a direct forum to communicate with potential customers, and often allows you to communicate with them in a less formal way than you might otherwise.
The proof is in the numbers, though, so read on to learn more about how to get all you can out of social media marketing:
According to Oberlo social media statistics, there are 3.2 billion social media users total on the planet—and counting. This number is only getting bigger and bigger with time, and it already equates to about 42% of the world’s current population. 
And most of these worldwide users are remarkably active: There are 1.65 billion active social media users on a monthly basis.  That means that over half of the 3.2 billion social media users around the world are actively logging on every month.
And these active users aren’t merely logging on to socialize and doddle—they’re also doing some serious consumer research. According to Target Internet, a third of all internet users research products and brands through social media.  So, your business’s social media profiles will be a valuable resource for consumers deciding where and when to make their next purchases.
A solid number of small businesses realize and act on the above social media statistics.  Forbes reports that a whopping 50 million small businesses use Facebook to connect to consumers whether through direct message, paid ads, or regular posts.
According to a social media statistic from Small Business Trends, a surprising 90% of marketers say that social media has increased their brand exposure . This means that almost all of the polled marketers felt that social media played a part in gaining exposure for their business.
Another social media statistic from Small Business Trends shows that 73% of small businesses invest in social media marketing.  Be it through pay for social media admins, ad spend, or both, almost three-quarters of small businesses are putting their money into this marketing channel.
Social media statistics also indicate that social channels are crucial for small business revenue, too. Beyond just building brand awareness, generating revenue—a more measurable, urgent need for most small businesses—is a crucial function of social media ads for 40% of small businesses. 
If your target customer is in the 18 to 34 age range, then your business must be active on social media—and the numbers prove it. Marketing Sherpa shared a social media statistic that had 95% of 18 to 34 year-olds being more likely to follow a brand after they encounter them on social media platforms. 
Plus, a social media statistic from the Digital Marketing Institute puts almost half of consumers depending on influencer recommendations. That’s 49% of users going to social media and looking to influencers for advice on what to buy and where.  Influencers are a way for brands to reach audiences through non-branded accounts, and the pay-off of this indirect contact is clear.
And beyond merely following your brand, recommending a brand is something consumers who use social media are poised to do—and they’re much more likely to if they’ve had a positive experience with your brand through a social platform. Lyfe Marketing shared a social media statistic that 71% of consumers who’ve had a positive social media experience with a brand are likely to recommend that brand to their friends and family.  That’s almost three quarters of a wide pool of social media users in the world. Be sure to have as many positive interactions with users as possible—be they direct or indirect—and the referrals will come rolling in as a result.
When compared to non-visual content, visual content is a staggering 40 times more likely to be shared says Digital.com.  Lyfe Marketing also shares that, while visual content as a whole are much more likely to be shared, video posts on average gain five times more engagement than posts with just images. 
If you’re looking for the social media platform that will deliver the most bang for your business’s buck, then look no further than Instagram. According to the Social Bakers, Instagram beats out all other platforms for engagement metrics. 
YouTube, followed by Facebook, remains the most commonly used social media platform. 94% of 18-to-24-year-olds use YouTube and 80% use Facebook. 83% of 25-to-29-year-olds use YouTube and 80% use Facebook. 80% of 30-to-49-year-olds use both YouTube and Facebook. 56% of 50+ year olds use YouTube and 55% use Facebook. 
If you’re interested in reaching Americans across the age spectrum, you should have a presence on YouTube and Facebook.
Now that you’ve made it through a detailed explanation of 13 of the most actionable social media statistics available, what’s next? As most business owners can say from experience, basing strategy off of numbers is crucial for success. You don’t want to dive into a project that has no proof of working previously. So, look to these social media statistics as a foundation for your business’s marketing strategy, and you’ll be investing your time and money into a customer acquisition strategy that you know works.
Maddie Shepherd is a former Fundera senior staff writer and current contributing writer for Fundera.
Maddie has an extensive knowledge of business credit cards, accounting tools, and merchant services, but specializes in small business financing advice. She has reviewed and analyzed dozens of financial tools and providers, helping business owners make better financial decisions.