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By Rev. Marty Levesque

We are in the middle of an election as I write this, and all the political parties are reaching out to their voters and potential voters. And each party has a digital game plan in place to reach voters.

The success of each party depends on identifying those voters and then turning out the vote. And yes, social media plays a big role in that effort. The same is true for churches as we use social to reach out to and encourage newcomers to join our communities and engage as disciples.

Thought needs to be put into which group we are looking to reach, and therefore which platform is the best to use to connect with that group. For instance, Facebook has 2.7 billion active users each month and their largest demographic group is 25–34-year-old (26.3%). The notion that millennials have ditched Facebook isn't quite true as the platform remains many peoples home base.

Closely behind Facebook is Instagram with 1 billion monthly users. Its largest demographic group is 25-34 at 33.1% of all users. The introduction of Reels highlights Instagram’s intention to compete directly with TikTok. Facebook and Instagram remain the home for most millennials.

Meanwhile, Twitter is home for elder Millennials and Gen X’ers with its largest group being 30–49-year-old at 44% of its 187 million monthly users. Twitter’s status as a place to discuss events and gather breaking news make it a prime place to share content and drive discussions. Interestingly, 42% of Twitter users are degree holders.

TikTok is relatively new to the social media landscape. It boasts 100 million active users with its largest demographic group being 18–24-year-old. Interestingly, TikTok as a platform has the longest engagement per day than any other platform at 45+ minutes per day per user. This translates to a staggering 21.5 hours a month.

And finally, YouTube boasts 2 billion monthly users with a staggering 41.9-minute per day usage. Its largest age group is 15–25-year-old. YouTube’s popularity among younger users highlights the ongoing, long-term shift toward video content.

Knowing the demographics of each platform helps us to tailor our message on each platform in a way that will resonate with each age demographic. And rather than being all things to all people, you might wish to actively court millennials (who make up all the young families today). If this is your target demographic, then Facebook and Instagram are where you should put your energy. If building your youth group is a priority, then Twitter will help you reach the parents of today's youth. And finally, if connecting with Gen Alpha is where you seek to grow as a parish, then learning the ins and outs of TikTok will be helpful.

Rev. Marty Levesque is the diocesan social media officer and rector of All Saints’ in Waterloo.