One of my favorite movie lines is, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller’s words have never been more applicable to the world of marketing than they are right now. The social landscape is changing quickly and in order to win, social marketers need to listen and engage where their audience is, rather than expecting audiences to come to them. The challenge is, there are more social channels than ever before.
In this blog, I’ll outline three ways to help you choose the right social networks for your business.
Get to Know Your Audience
I’m always surprised at how little time people take to really get to know their target audience. As you’re jumping into the tactical details of your social media plan, it’s critical that you take the time to understand who your ideal audience is and what they care about.
Here are some great questions to think about:
- Who is your ideal audience following on social media?
- What topics are they discussing/posting about?
- How old are they?
- What is their geographical location?
- What type of content are they regularly interacting with?
Taking the time to thoroughly research your audience helps ensure your social media marketing efforts are as effective as possible. Understanding what channels will most likely reach your audience, the best time to gain their attention, the tone that will most likely resonate, and the types of content they prefer will help put you one step ahead of your competition.
Go Where They Are
One mistake I see marketers make all too often is trying to incorporate too many channels into their strategies. This can be a very time consuming and expensive endeavor that yields less than ideal results. Focus your efforts on the channels that your target audience prefers. For B2B, it can be challenging to determine whether latest and greatest platforms are worth the investment. A great way to get started is by looking at usage and demographics for each of the platforms. Let data inform your decisions, for example, the 2016 Social Media Update, Pew Research took an in depth look at where adults are spending their time online.
It can be easy to think you need to be everywhere in order to build a social community, but the truth is, valuable time and resources are lost when you aren’t thoughtful and strategic about when and where you’ll maintain a social presence. Think about the old adage, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The same goes for your social media presence. If you’re posting to a channel that none of your target audience is utilizing, are you making progress? Here are some stats to consider as you vet social media channels for your organization/brand:
- 79% of internet users (68% of all U.S. adults) use Facebook. Pew Research Center
- Facebook remains the most-used social media site by Americans 12 and up. Edison Research
- Posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images. Buzzsumo
- Facebook users are engaged users — 76% log on daily, including 55% who do so several times a day. Pew Research Center
- Facebook sends 82% of social media traffic to longer stories and 84% of social traffic to shorter news articles. Pew Research Center
- Facebook Messenger has 1.2 billion monthly active users worldwide, making it the second most used mobile chat app in the world. Statista
- Twitter has 313 million monthly active users. Twitter
- 24% of internet users (21% of all U.S. adults) use Twitter. Pew Research Center
- 42% of Twitter users log on daily, including 23% who do so several times a day. Pew Research Center
- There are 500 million Tweets per day or about 6,000 per second. InternetLiveStats
- Video is the fastest-growing media type on Twitter. Twitter
- Videos are six times more likely to be Retweeted than photos and three times more likely than GIFs. Twitter
- LinkedIn has 106 million monthly active users. LinkedIn
- 29% of internet users (25% of all U.S. adults) use LinkedIn LinkedIn
- 18% of LinkedIn users log on daily. Pew Research Center
- 92% of B2B marketers leverage LinkedIn over all other social platforms. Pew Research Center
- LinkedIn posts with images receive 200% more engagement than text-only posts. SocialPilot
- Snapchat has over 100 million daily active users. Snapchat
- 54% of Snapchat users log on daily. Adweek
- Snapchat users watch over 10 billion videos per day. Snapchat
- 400 million Snaps are sent daily. Adweek
- 8,796 photos are shared on Snapchat every second. Adweek
- Vertical videos are watched 9 times more than horizontal videos on Snapchat. Snapchat
- Instagram has 500 million monthly active users. Statista
- 51% of Instagram users log on daily, including 35% who do so several times a day. Pew Research Center
- 32% of internet users (28% of all U.S. adults) use Instagram. Pew Research Center
- 59% of adults ages 18-29 use Instagram. Pew Research Center
- Over 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram every day. Instagram
- Instagram drives the most engagement per post compared to any social network–84 times more than Twitter, 54 times more than Pinterest and 10 times more than Facebook. Sprout
- YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and third most visited site after Google and Facebook. Pulse
- 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Statistic Brain
- There are 3.25 billion hours of video watched each month. Statistic Brain
- The average mobile viewing session lasts more than 40 minutes. YouTube
- The most viewed brand videos are on average 31–60 seconds long. Social Bakers
- Pinterest has 150 million users. Pinterest
- 31% of internet users (26% of all U.S. adults) use Pinterest. Pew Research Center
- 87% of Pinners have purchased something they’ve seen on Pinterest, while 93 percent plan to do so. Pinterest
- 36 percent of Pinterest users falling between the ages of 18 and 29. Pew Research Center
- Two-thirds of Pins currently on the channel highlight a brand or product.Pinterest
- WhatsApp has more than 1.3 billion monthly active users. Statista
- Almost two thirds of Whatsapp users are online more than once daily. GlobalWebIndex
- WhatsApp is most popular in markets outside the United States. Statista
- The WhatsApp audience is projected to grow to 25.6 million users by 2021. Statista
- WeChat has more than 938 million monthly active users. eMarketer
- 50% of users use WeChat for at least 90 minutes a day. WeChat
- On average, each WeChat users is connected with 194 friends. China Internet News
- The average WeChat user sends 74 messages per day. WeChat
- Only 14% of brands are currently sharing ads on the platform. China Channel
A recent study published by Statista outlined the top social networking sites worldwide. I was surprised that I didn’t see the three channels I generally think of—Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn—when developing my social strategy. It was a good reminder that if you’re developing a global strategy, it’s important to research and consider all the social channels global audiences are utilizing. Take a look at Statista’s data below:
Whatever channels you choose to develop and nurture, be sure you are focused where your target audience is. If you’re looking to engage people in C-suite in fin-tech, Snapchat may not be your best bet. However, if you’re looking to connect with a millennial interested in fashion trends, Snapchat and Instagram will probably be the best channels to showcase your brand, grow your audience and drive revenue. Businesses that strive to engage with their audience, in meaningful ways, who go where their ideal audience is will ultimately win.
What social media channels have proved to be successful for you? How have you determined whether to market on a new social channel? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.