I remember five years ago when social media was considered to be something for kids. Business owners would laugh when you told them they should get involved and ignore the (even then) staggering statistics about usage, repeat usage and demographics.
Thankfully all that has changed and most brands understand that social media is imperative to their marketing and branding strategies. While most brands still understand that they should be on social media and are, they still miss out on a lot of business and exposure because they limit themselves to one or two networks.
You Don’t Need to be on All the Social Media Sites
One thing I’d like to say up front is that it is not imperative to be on all the social media networks. While it is very important to be on the big ones (more on that later) big brands should not feel obligated to spend their time on the social media networks that don’t yield any benefits in terms of branding or customer acquisition just because the networks in and of themselves are popular.
Here are some questions every brand can ask itself in order to better construct a strategy for getting involved in additional social media networks that will have an impact:
- Where do my customers hang out?: Understanding where your ideal audience is spending time is imperative to knowing where you should be. For example, Pew Research has indicated that the average age for users of the these networks is as follows:
Pinterest- 18-29 and 30-49
If you were basing your marketing on age demographics alone, this data might be valuable in determining if Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr were good for your brand.
- How active are these users?: Social media statistics can be misleading. For example, understanding there are over 1 billion Google users is not the same as understanding only 35 percent of those users are active at least once a month.
- How are people using different social media networks? The way people use Pinterest could be very different than the way people use Instagram. Although both are visual platforms, Pinterest appeals more to women under 50 with college educations whereas Instagram appeals more to adults aged 18-29 who tend to make less than $30,000 a year.
Not All But Certainly These Four
There have been a lot of success stories about companies who make an impact on Facebook alone. However, Time Magazine posted an article titled Facebook is About to Lose 80% of its Users, Study Says that showcased the diminished user base the company suffers from. Regardless of a study like this Facebook still remains to be a superpower and is closely followed by another three big networks you should definitely be on.
Facebook has 1.31 billion active users and experienced a 22 percent growth in users from 2012 to 2013. The average user spends 18 minutes on the site and nearly half of all users log in on any given day. The site is available in 70 languages, 75 percent of its users are outside the US, and 28 percent of 18-34 year olds check Facebook before they get out of bed.
More importantly for brands, the average user is connected to 80 pages, groups and events meaning you have a place in their hearts.
At 645,750,000 Twitter users, Twitter is no spring chicken (we actually don’t know what kind of bird it is). A large majority of users, 40 percent, don’t actually tweet but watch others tweet. However, the site boasts 2.1 billion internal searches a day meaning those brands who get involved can come up in search and can get mixed up in the 58 million tweets that are flying around every day.
LinkedIn is most commonly regarded as a B2B social media network but smart marketers know that LinkedIn is one of the top 25 most visited sites on the internet and contains more than 270 million users. These people are all professionals but isn’t nice to know that you can market to a group of individuals who have a paycheck?
Google+ is no longer the stepchild of the social media world. Recent search engine correlation studies put Google+ shares at the top of the list and this news has made them big with SEO companies looking to boost the search engine rankings of their clients.
You Should Probably be Here too
It is kind of funny to put YouTube on the “probably” list seeing how it is the second biggest search engine behind parent company Google. However, video is obviously more difficult to pull off and most brands rightfully fear posting videos that are not professionally made to avoid looking unprofessional. However, even a nice iPhone can be used to capture high quality video and there is a wealth of free video editing software out there so that big budgets and special effects are not needed to make a dent on this highly effective social media site.
Most of Pinterest’s users are young, well-educated and female. Overall, 15 percent of internet users get a kick out of the virtual scrapbooking and enjoy using the network to find products and even purchase them. Recent user stats have shown that referrals from Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to buy than those sent from Twitter or Facebook and spend twice as much.
As of September 2013, 17 percent of online adults use Instagram compared to 21 and 22 percent who use Pinterest and LinkedIn respectively. This network is all pictures and videos, two things we know get far more engagement than anything else on social media.
These others Should be on Your Radar
While the aforementioned social media sites are household names, these others ones will soon be too (if they are not already).
There is a reason Yahoo bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion and it’s not because of the cool name. Tumblr has 120,000 daily signups, 168.4 million blogs (it’s a blogging site), about 200 million monthly visitors, 5.1 billion monthly page views, and according to Search Engine Journal, the average user visits about 67 pages per month and stays on the site longer than Facebook and Twitter users.
The web is littered with tons of content, some of it good and some of it bad. StumbleUpon helps users to sort through the garbage and provides them with personalized content based on their likes and interests. If you are a brand with a decent content marketing strategy there is a good chance StumbleUpon can be a great resource for additional traffic referrals.
You may be surprised to learn that Facebook and Twitter aren’t the biggest sources for news consumption in the US; Reddit is. 62 percent of Reddit’s users get news on the site and these users make up for two percent of US adults who use it as their conduit for news.
Where to Spend Your Time
It should be obvious that spending time on the big four (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+), grabbing a network or two from the probably section (Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram) and possibly one from the radar (Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Reddit) could be extremely time consuming. But when you consider a full 73 percent of online adults use social networks sites it is not crazy to think this would be a worthwhile investment.