The majority of social media platforms are geared towards personal use; they have to be in order to attract an active and engaged user base. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and even Youtube need an active user base to bring in profit. Brands will, in turn, pay the platform to advertise to those users and utilize the social media platform to engage with their customers and followers, but they have to first have an active base of users on the platform who are there for personal use. A great example of this is Instagram; Instagram is viewed by the public as a social media platform to share personal photos and experiences with their friends and family. That is the primary appeal for many people joining Instagram. However, it is also a key tool for brands to reach a millennial audience and speak their language, since that demographic is highly engaged on Instagram. Reddit is one example of a social media platform who's community heavily rejects brands using it for business. However paid campaigns and advertisements on the platform can still be successful for reaching a college aged, male audience.
The best social media platforms for business all depend on who you are trying to reach, and what action you want them to take. In my experience, Instagram is the best for sales conversion; The hyperlink (swipe up) feature is really unparalleled for driving sales as it gives the user a direct action to take to buy your product. It's also great for engaging with a millennial audience, particularly if your business or product is highly visual (fashion, art, home decor ect.). Facebook is great for brand awareness; the "share" feature makes it easier to reach a wide audience and have a viral campaign. It's also great for reaching moms and older customers. Twitter isn't the best for driving traffic, but can really help turn customers into true fans of the brand and build brand integrity through engagement. Wendy's, Burger King, and even Netflix have done a wonderful job of truly understanding the "culture" of Twitter and utilizing it to become relatable, comedic brands that connect with a younger audience.
The majority of platforms geared towards personal use are also great for business, depending on what brand image your business is trying to present and the action you want the customer to take. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are great examples of platforms that are primarily for personal use, but if utilized properly can transform a business. Each platform has it's own culture, it's own unspoken rules, and it's own customs. It's very clear when a brand enters a social media platform and has not hired a social media manager who understands the platform and it's user base. This is very alienating for a user or potential customer. While a business and a personal user will definitely engage with the social media platform differently, and are on the site for different reasons, it's critical to understand the culture of each unique platform and integrate your brand into that culture to grow your business.