Archive | October 2016

A Long List of Facebook Statistics—And What They Mean For Your Business

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Everyone’s got an opinion about Facebook. Some people think it’s a fun way to keep up with friends and family. Others believe so deeply in its lasting cultural relevance they permanently ink their bodies in honor of it. Some businesses continue to invest more time and money into Facebook, while some choose to focus on other social networks.

Opinions are one thing, but when you’re evaluating the usefulness of Facebook for your business what you really need is data. We’re talking cold, hard stats—and there’s A LOT out there. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you. This list covers everything from Facebook user statistics to demographics, usage trends, and advertising insights. Enjoy!

Facebook user statistics

Facebook has more than a billion active users:

But it’s a small world after all:

Average friends per user:

What these stats mean for your business

I’m accustomed to only using the word “billion” to convey a type of kidding-not-kidding hyperbole (i.e. “I want to eat a billion pizzas for lunch”) but in Facebook’s case, there is no exaggeration. They have over a billion daily active users. If Facebook was a country, it would be the most populated country on earth. So even though the way in which businesses (and customers) use Facebook will continue to evolve, it’s safe to say that the platform as a whole isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Investing in building and sustaining a presence on Facebook should (still) be a top priority for your business.

Facebook demographics

People of every age use Facebook:

The gender split is fairly even:

A Long List of Facebook Statistics—And What They Mean For Your Business | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Facebook.

The split between single and married users is pretty even too:

A Long List of Facebook Statistics—And What They Mean For Your Business | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Facebook.

Education levels:

  • According to self-reported data, 62 percent of Facebook users have some form of university education, while 30 percent reported high school as being the highest level of education reached.
A Long List of Facebook Statistics—And What They Mean For Your Business | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Facebook.

Facebook is massive outside North America:

A Long List of Facebook Statistics—And What They Mean For Your Business | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Facebook.

What these stats mean for your business

The phrase “know your audience” is integral to many things, including successful public speaking, non-catastrophic stand-up comedy, persuasive sales pitches, and effective social media marketing.

It’s important to continually analyze the demographics of Facebook users overall in comparison to your target audience. If you’ve built a community on the platform already, start digging into your Page Insights on a regular basis to get a better idea of who your Facebook audience is and what motivates them to engage with you.

Facebook usage statistics

Facebook is still dominating:

Video is a big, big deal:

Facebook Live is continuing to grow:

Facebook is a news source:

  • 66 percent of Facebook users consume news on the platform.
  • 88 percent of millennials get news from Facebook.

New parents are power users:

The lifespan of a Facebook post:

The best time to post on Facebook:

What these stats mean for your business

While there’s no magic formula for guaranteed success on Facebook (bummer), paying attention to the ever-changing trends in how people are using it can ensure your business is taking full advantage of it.

Always stay focused on what your audience uses Facebook for—whether it’s getting news updates or posting photos of their newborn—because it may not align with what you assume it should be used for. Staying in tune with these behaviors will help you create social marketing campaigns that are more effective and widely embraced by your audience on Facebook.

Brands and business on Facebook

What these stats mean for your business

Facebook presents a huge opportunity to provide fast, direct, and personal customer service. People will continue to expect faster and faster responses to their comments, which means any unanswered questions or complaints left on your Facebook Page can turn into ticking time bombs for your brand.

Facebook Ads statistics

Effectiveness of Facebook Ads:

What these stats mean for your business

Choose your visuals wisely. They play a huge role in the success of Facebook Ads, so don’t skimp out on your photography or design budget. It’s also important to tailor your ads (and your posts in general) to user behavior on Facebook. If most users watch content on Facebook without the sound on, don’t use voiceovers to convey the most important messages in your video ads.

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Who Will Buy Twitter? A Rundown of the Possibilities

Bloomberg reports Twitter buyout.

With several different options potentially on the table, here’s a rundown on what we should look to expect, along with some commentary from a few Twitter users.

How Did It End up This Way?

Before getting started, it’s important to establish how we got here. After all, Twitter currently has over 300 million active users so, for many, the idea that the company is in trouble may be a surprise. However, after struggling to effectively monetize the site, especially compared to rival Facebook, many venture capitalists are now reluctant to offer any more backing. The platform has also come under considerable attention lately due to its laissez faire attitude towards the abuse that is prevalent on the network. All of which recently culminated in Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos being permanently banned from the service after Twitter deemed that the writer had been inciting abuse towards actress Leslie Jones.

This may leave many wondering why the company doesn’t simply invest in its staff so that there are enough people to moderate this kind of behaviour. In reality, one of the biggest criticisms of the company is that they have too many employees already and any potential buyer would benefit from a clearing house. According to recent figures, Twitter earns around $460,000 of revenue per employee, far behind other tech companies like Apple ($2.1m), Facebook ($1.4m), and Google ($1.2m). In fact, the closest comparison is Yahoo ($450,000), who were recently purchased by Verizon for $4.83m after years of struggling to compete.

Who Are the Potential Buyers?

Google

Google has long been seen as the ideal partner for Twitter. The company’s Google+ initiative failed miserably and its recent efforts into the messaging world with the just launched Allo app show that Mountain View hasn’t given up on being a part of the social game. However, just last year the two companies reached a deal that would see Twitter relinquish access to the “firehose” of half a billion tweets or so a day to the search expert. In exchange, tweets would start showing up in mobile search results which would hopefully attract more traffic to the site.

So while Google still may see the long-term potential of an acquisition, at the moment they’re already getting what they want from the company. Likewise, another traditional tech giant that you might have suspected to see mentioned is Microsoft. The Seattle-based company has also been looking to expand its portfolio into the social sphere, but after its $26bn acquisition of LinkedIn in the summer another big buy is unlikely.

UpdateSources: Google will not make Twitter bid.

Salesforce

Salesforce is another leading candidate in the potential acquisition. For anyone unfamiliar with the company, Salesforce is one of the world’s leading customer relationship management platforms (CRM) that help businesses better analyse their data in order to improve retention and further drive sales. While their pockets may not be as deep as their rivals, the company has been particularly aggressive this year, acquiring ten different companies for a combined fee of around $4bn.

Across the globe, Twitter has become a huge part of businesses’ social media marketing strategies. Not only as a means to promote new products but also as a customer-service platform, and it’s this kind of data that Salesforce could really benefit from. In a recent interview cited by the Wall Street Journal, CEO Marc Benioff even admitted that they were actively looking to purchase companies that were “data-rich” and didn’t rule out a potential purchase of Twitter in particular.

UpdateSalesforce walks away from Twitter buyout as CEO says social network ‘wasn’t the right fit’

Disney

Perhaps the most surprising name in the run-in. It’s important to distinguish Disney from the company behind Mickey Mouse from Disney the company that owns television network ABC and sport channel ESPN though. If this acquisition was to go through, it would likely be a part of a greater media publishing strategy. After all, for many Twitter has become the go-to destination for the latest news and to follow live events, while platforms like Facebook remain a place to connect with your friends and family.

However, Brian Weiser of Pivotal Research Group has advised against the move, noting that while Disney may benefit from the additional reach it could cause friction between rival companies unless the situation was managed very carefully: “The risk to Twitter is that ownership by one news-gathering organization might cause competitors (i.e. Fox News, CNN, NBC, CBS) to refrain from using the platform or favor a competitor such as Facebook, potentially leading to fewer users of the platform.”

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6 Essential Skills You Need in a Social Media Manager Job Description

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The last decade has seen the creation of jobs that simply did not exist ten years ago. SEO specialists, app developers, and wall scouters (those in the fashion world who hunt for photo and Instagram backdrops, of course) did not exist prior to the opportunities created thanks to the accelerated enhancements in technology taking place. One of the most popular and necessary jobs that has become almost a basic requirement amongst large and small companies alike, is that of the social media manager.

While many small brands think they either don’t need a social media presence and, therefore, a social media manager, or that they can handle the tasks one would perform, the truth is that there are numerous reasons why a social media manager is crucial to your small business. We’ve put together the following post to help highlight some of these reasons and make your decision a no-brainer.

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence with Hootsuite.

Social media manager job description

Occasionally you hear someone’s job title but can’t imagine what this person actually does every day when seated at their desk (Honestly, what would their browser history show?). For many small business owners, the title “social media manager” conjures up such confusion. To clarify the general job description of a social media manager, we turned to Monster.com as a leader in career advice and resources. According to Monster.com, “social media managers are responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies for a business’s social media sites. This might include blogging, creating social media profiles, managing regular posts and responding to followers.”

Not only that, but “social media managers must stay at the leading edge of industry trends, so they can create a marketing strategy that generates inbound leads, gains followers, and creates a positive image for the company. They are also responsible for regularly evaluating the success of their marketing efforts and tweaking their marketing strategy as needed.” While just recognizing this list of responsibilities and tasks as quite comprehensive should make the necessity of a social media manager clear, the following list of reasons should emphasize this.

Technical skills

1. SEO knowledge

While often believed to be a divided area, SEO has great impact on your social media strategy. A social media manager knows this, and knows how to optimize SEO by aligning it with the overall social media plan. As marketing approaches with inbound focuses, both SEO and social media have the ability to bring your customers and audience members to you with the potential to build actual relationships and communicating with them, rather than at them. SEO and social media are both directed by content, and as Forbes explains “content is the cornerstone of your SEO strategy, and your social media manager is the gatekeeper and promoter of much of this content.” When thinking about your social media manager’s approach to SEO, Forbes suggests asking yourself the following questions:

  • How will they promote your blog content on social media?
  • Do they understand the connection between exposure on social media and increased search rankings?
  • Do they know how driving traffic to the company’s website impacts the bottom line?

2. Social media expertise

It seems obvious but your social media manager must have social media skills. This includes knowing what type of content works best on what platform, optimizing content accordingly, as well as understanding the different nuances of each platform.

They should know how to engage an audience through social media posts and interactions, and should hopefully find some joy in doing just that. Social media is one of those skills that is not as easy as it may seem to the untrained professional, so you need an expert who can truly take your brand’s online presence to the next level.

3. Customer service specialist

With our recent blog post highlighting the importance of social media as a customer service tool, a social media manager will know how to best communicate with your customers and audience members. If your customers see your branded account posting inspirational quotes and product images on a regular basis, but ignoring their direct inquiries and social media comments, this will have obvious negative implications for your company.

A social media manager will know how to best handle all customer interactions, and as Forbes explains, “A successful social media manager knows that your social media presence is your brand’s face online; that everything they say or do on social media is a representation of the brand – for good or for bad.”

4. Social media management tool masters

Just as a carpenter is only as good as his saw skills, a social media manager is a master of the tools they use. If you still think your small business doesn’t need a social media manager, think of how long it took you to simply figure out how to use any of the new programs on your computer when you first got started. A social media manager comes with a deep knowledge and comprehensive understanding of the tools in their digital tool belt, and will know how to use these tools to direct the marketing strategy at hand.

They have most likely undergone training, like Hootsuite University, for example, related to how to best use their preferred social media management tools, and can therefore seamlessly apply their knowledge to your content marketing strategy without any additional time dedicated to learning and training.

Creativity

5. Copywriting skills

As you have come to recognize by now, a social media manager is a skilled jack-of-all-trades. Along with being an expert in everything social media, customer service, and SEO, a social media manager has copywriting skills that will be invaluable to your small business. The ability to convey ideas in a clear and precise way can mean the difference between a sale and a business fail.

When your customers and audience members can easily understand the messages being conveyed on your social media channels, there is an obviously higher chance that they will leave with a positive sentiment towards your brand. As Forbes explains, your social media manager “will be communicating with customers on a daily basis – and 99 percent of this communication will be in writing.”

6. Visual intelligence

While much of your social media managers output will be in writing, visual content to accompany posts is crucial. The right photo can mean a post gets shared a hundred times rather than ten times, and having someone who knows what images will work, and when, is invaluable to your organization.

A social media manager will also have general knowledge of design in order to create visually appealing graphics to coordinate with appropriate posts–a skill that is incredibly valuable in today’s media landscape. With video an ever-increasing component of social media strategies, we explain in our post outlining skills social media managers will need in 2016 that a social media manager will “know great video when they see it, and most importantly have a firm grasp of social video trends and how they fit into each major network. Certain networks, like Vine and live-streaming tools Meerkat and Periscope, also have a far lower expectation of quality, so the average smartphone user can become a video content creator for your brand.”

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The Complete Instagram Hashtag Guide for Business

 

If Instagram marketing is a medieval battlefield, you, the social media pro, are the gallant knight and the hashtag is your trusted sword. Wield it well and you will bring honor (brand awareness) to your noble kingdom (company).

This guide will teach you how to be as prolific with the Instagram hashtag as Sir Lancelot was said to be with his sword. Learn why you need to be using hashtags, how to use them, and which ones to use to conquer your social media goals.

If you need help with the photo- and video-sharing platform beyond the hashtag, discover all our Instagram marketing blog posts, guides, and resources here.

Ready to get started? Read through the guide from start to finish or click on a specific section in the table of contents to jump right to it.

Table of contents

What is an Instagram hashtag?

Why you should use Instagram hashtags

How to add a hashtag to an Instagram post

How to choose the right Instagram hashtags

How many Instagram hashtags should you use

Using brand hashtags on Instagram

Instagram hashtag tips and best practices

Popular Instagram hashtags your brand should be using

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps an adventure photographer used to grow from 0 to 110,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear. And then learn how you can use Hootsuite to achieve similar results.

What is an Instagram hashtag?

An Instagram hashtag is a word or phrase comprised of letters, numbers, and/or emoji preceded by what was once referred to as the pound symbol (#).

Instagram hashtags categorize content. Click on a hashtag and you’ll be able to browse posts that have been tagged with it. Attach one to your own photo or video and it will be discoverable to anyone searching the hashtag. How likely it is to be seen by other users depends on how often the hashtag is used, how popular your post is (does it already have a lot of likes and comments?), and how strong your following is.

Why you should use Instagram hashtags

Hashtags help Instagram users discover content and accounts to follow. The right hashtag, or combination of hashtags, will expose your brand to large and targeted audiences. By making yourself more discoverable on Instagram, you have a better chance of attracting new followers, getting more likes, and increasing engagement. Indeed, posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6 percent more engagement than those without, according to a study by Simply Measured.

How to add a hashtag to an Instagram post

Hashtags can be added to your posts as captions or comments. Assuming your Instagram account is public, a hashtag will make your post discoverable on the corresponding hashtag page. To tag a post with a hashtag in the caption:

  1. Take or upload a photo or video
  2. Choose whether or not to add a filter (and/or use Instagram’s other editing options), then type # followed by text or emoji in the caption field
  3. Tap OK at the top of the screen
  4. Select SHARE

If you want to add hashtags to a post you’ve already uploaded, tap the three dots in the top right corner of your screen and select Edit. You can also add hashtags post-publishing by tapping the speech bubble under the photo and typing the hashtags in as a comment.

As mentioned, numbers and emojis are allowed in hashtags, but spaces and special characters, such as & or $, won’t work. Two other important things to remember:

  • You can only tag your own posts, not other users’ photos or videos
  • You can use up to 30 hashtags on a single post. If you try to use more, your comment won’t show up

How to choose the right Instagram hashtags for your brand

The hashtags you want to use will depend on what space your business operates in.

Let’s say you’re a social media manager for a travel agency. There are a ton of Instagram hashtags that are popular with jet-setters: #welltravelled, #justbackfrom, #whatsinmybag, and #passportexpress—to name a few. Tag your posts with any number of those and you will likely get a few extra likes. But if you really want to increase engagement and gain quality followers, include more specific hashtags. If you post a photo of a travel destination, tag it with relevant location hashtags and the resort’s branded hashtag, if there is one.

How do you discover hashtags that your target audience is searching? Try the following tactics.

4 tips to help you find the right hashtags

  1. Check out what hashtags your competitors are using. Maybe you’ll discover new hashtags to add to your repertoire. Or you could decide you don’t want to compete for the same eyeballs, in which case you can search for alternative hashtags to use.
  2. Use hashtags that influential people in your industry are using. These people are already well-established with your target audience, so why not learn from the best?
  3. Consider related hashtags. Browse through posts containing a hashtag you’re already having success with. Do you see a trend of any other common hashtags that could be included in future posts?
  4. Use Instagram’s search function. Type in a keyword that’s relevant to your brand into Instagram’s search bar then select the Tags tab. Instagram will give you a list of all the hashtags with that keyword as well as a number of posts that are tagged with it. Remember: a large number may mean a large number of people following that hashtag, but it also means there’s a ton of content your post could get buried in. Experiment with a combination of popular and niche hashtags.

When it comes to choosing Instagram hashtags, the golden rule is: use only hashtags that are relevant to your brand, industry, and target audience. #Love is one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram, tagged in over 893 million posts. But your company is not going to attract that hashtag audience if you put it on a photo of your boring boardroom. Continually tag your photos with popular but unrelated hashtags, and someone might flag you as a spammer.

How many Instagram hashtags should you use

Instagrammers aren’t as susceptible to hashtag fatigue as Facebook and Twitter users are. According to a TrackMaven study of Instagram accounts with 1,000 followers or fewer, posts containing four or five hashtags received an average of 22 interactions compared to 14 interactions on posts with zero hashtags. Even with posts containing 11 or more hashtags, engagement was still well-above what it was on posts without hashtags.

Instagram Hashtag

Still, that doesn’t mean you should tag every post with 30 hashtags (the maximum Instagram allows per post). Tagging your photos and videos with the most popular hashtags will probably gain you new followers, but they’ll likely be the wrong kind of followers—spammers or people only interested in being followed back. And using too many hashtags might dilute your message and make you seem desperate.

Let the content of the post decide how many and which hashtags to use.

Using brand hashtags on Instagram

What is a brand hashtag?

A brand or branded hashtag is a hashtag that’s unique to your business or campaign. It could be as simple as your company name, tagline, or the name of one of your products. Or it could be the name of an Instagram contest you’re running.

Herschel Supply Co. uses a few branded hashtags, including #herschelsupply and #welltravelled. The latter was created for a campaign to encourage customers to share travel photos featuring Herschel products. Now tagged in more than 1.15 million posts, it is often cited as one of the most popular travel hashtags on Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BISou_GgTob/embed/captioned/?v=7 

How to use brand hashtags

Like Herschel, you can create a brand hashtag for a specific campaign or to simply showcase your company culture, products, or services.

If you’re running an Instagram campaign, having a brand hashtag will help drive participation and engagement. It will also organize all the posts that are tagged with it on a  hashtag page. This is helpful if you’re using the hashtag to collect entries for a promotion or contest submissions.

Hootsuite did this for our #IWorkFromHere contest in which we asked participants to upload a photo of their workspace to Instagram (or Twitter) using the Hootsuite mobile app.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BHE-qYQhqdf/embed/captioned/?v=7
Because all submissions had to be tagged with #IWorkFromHere, they were automatically categorized and collected on a hashtag page. Beyond specific campaigns, Hootsuite also uses #HootsuiteLife to showcase our company culture.

https://www.instagram.com/p/_VKvrICxg3/embed/captioned/?v=7

Instagram hashtag tips and best practices

A review of what we’ve learned so far, plus a few more strategies to help you achieve your Instagram goals.

Don’t use too many or irrelevant hashtags. Instagram lets you work with up to 30 hashtags per post. But if your try to sneak a popular hashtag into your post that isn’t relevant to the content you will muddle your message—or worse, be exposed as a spammer. Tagging your post with a dozen hashtags is acceptable and may help drive engagement, but only if all 12 hashtags align with the content you’re sharing.

Use specific or niche hashtags. The more specific the hashtag, the more targeted your audience will be. And a targeted audience means a higher chance of quality engagement. As we explained in our previous post, The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Use Hashtags, if you’re after Volkswagen lovers the hashtag #vwvan will earn you a lot more of your desired followers than a broad hashtag like #van will.

Don’t forget about popular hashtags. As long as they’re relevant to the post and used sparingly, popular hashtags can help expand your reach without making your efforts look desperate.

Double check to make sure that hashtag means what you think it means. You could inadvertently associate your brand with a raunchy or nefarious campaign. When you combine two or three words together, that can spell out words you didn’t mean to. Before using any hashtag, be sure to browse through the hashtag page to ensure the associated content is what you think it would be.

Keep your brand hashtags short, simple, and easy to spell. That way your fans and customers can easily remember it. You want to be specific, but something like #SanFranciscoLuxuryCarEnthusiasts for a high-end auto show won’t catch on because it has too many characters. “#SFCarLovers” makes more sense in this case.

Hide your Instagram hashtags. If you don’t want to clutter your captions, there are two ways you can “hide” your hashtags.

  1. Include them in the comment section below your post. Once other people leave a few comments, the hashtags won’t be viewable unless the option to See all is selected.
  2. Alternatively you can separate your hashtags from the caption by burying them beneath dots and line breaks. In the caption or comment box tap the 123 key. Select return and then enter a period. Repeat those steps at least five times. Instagram caps off captions after three lines so the hashtags won’t be viewable to users unless they tap the more option.

Instagram Hashtags

Popular Instagram hashtags your brand should be using

No matter how popular they may be, you should avoid hashtags that desperately solicit Likes and followers—#followme, #like4like, #follow4follow, #tagsforlikes, etc. Using these will attract only bots, spammers, and others users who have no intention of engaging with your brand in any meaningful way.

But again, that doesn’t mean you should ignore every popular Instagram hashtag trend.

Tagged in over 330 million posts, #TBT (Throwback Thursday) is one of the most used hashtags on Instagram and a perfect nostalgia marketing opportunity. If your brand has a past, use #TBT to share it. If your brand is brand new, you can use the hashtag to dig into the history of your products or industry.

Here are a few more universal and universally popular hashtags your brand might want to consider using—again, sparingly:

#instagood: Use this on photos you’re particularly proud of.

#photooftheday: Also reserved for your best work. There’s an associated @photooftheday Instagram account that selects one “winning” photo with the hashtag each day and shares it with their more than 283,000 followers.

#picoftheday: Same concept as above.

#instagrammers: Proclaim yourself an instagrammer on Instagram! A self-evident, but popular hashtag.

#igers: Short form of #instagrammers.

#instamood: Intended to be used in photos that reflect the publisher’s mood. Typically #instamood posts are not of people, but scenery. So if your brand is celebrating a big win, then you could post a photo of a fireworks display. Like #photooftheday, this hashtag also has an associated Instagram account (@instamood) that shares photos tagged with the hashtag out to their more than 27,000 followers.

#tbt and #ThrowbackThursday: Explained above. #ThrowbackThursday is the longer and less common version of #tbt. More on how to make this trend work for you in our guide The Power of Nostalgia: Using #TBT for Marketing.

#fbf or #FlashbackFriday – Because one day a week dedicated to nostalgia isn’t enough. The concept is the same as #tbt, although the Friday tag isn’t as popular.

#ManicMonday: Use on posts that illustrate your busy week ahead or wacky company culture.

#WisdomWednesday: Post a quote or piece advice that your target audience will find helpful.

#FridayFunday: A chance to humanize your brand and entertain your audience with some lighter content.

#NoFilter: For photography purists. Use on posts that you haven’t applied a filter to.

#selfie: Self explanatory. As a social media marketer, you can use this hashtag when you’re representing your brand at an industry event.

#regram: Use this when reposting a photo from someone else’s account to your own. Make it a part of your user-generated content strategy with our guide How to Regram: Best Practices for Reposting Instagram Content.

There are of course popular Instagram hashtags specific to each industry. Real estate, for example, has: #realestate, #architecture, #realestateforsale, and #realestatephotograhpy. To surface the ones that are relevant to your business, refer back to our tips on how to find the right hashtags.

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How Pinterest is cracking the social commerce code

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Quote of the Day

“One must be a God to be able to tell successes from failures without making a mistake”

ANTON CHEKHOV

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The Top Social Media Sites That Matter to Marketers

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By Dara Fontein

While preparing for a recent dinner party, I visited my local overly-priced grocer with the intention of purchasing a few items for a cheese board. Getting cheese from “the nice part of the store” was novel enough for this gal, until I got there and realized the overwhelming amount of dairy at my disposal. I started haphazardly picking up chunks of cranberry goat cheese and funky looking blue cheese, throwing anything I saw into my basket.

Many social media marketers approach signing up for social networks the same way. With my dinner party, I felt as if I had to please everybody and therefore have the most varieties of cheese possible, when eventually my successful cheese plate consisted of the most popular, crowd-pleasing classics (shout-out to brie). You may feel like if you don’t have a presence on each and every network you’re missing out on audience members there, but the time and money required for keeping up with this mass platform strategy is unrealistic and exhausting for any social media marketer.

Best social media sites and platforms

While it may seem like there’s a hot new social media network being launched every day, the truth is that there are currently a core group of platforms that are key to consider for your social media strategy. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve outlined key demographics of the top social media sites and platforms that matter to social media marketers.

YouTube

Demographics and stats

General

Age

Gender

  • Female-identified users: 46 percent of total users
  • Male-identified users: 54 percent of total users

Income

  • 46 percent of YouTube users have incomes of over $75,000

Education

Why YouTube is a top social media site

With video a key component of content marketing in 2016, the number of brands using the channel is steadily on the rise. If you’re wondering why YouTube is a good option for your marketing efforts, our post, “How to Fuel Your YouTube Video Marketing,” explains that YouTube works through “taking a very core marketing concept—solving problems your target customer is facing—but presenting it in a way that is unique to your brand and channel.”

Besides being the second largest online search engine, YouTube is also heavily used as a resource for how-to content. YouTube explains this best:“As YouTube “Millennials and today’s independent buyer turn to YouTube to get quick answers, and you can easily become their go-to expert with incredible ‘how-to’ video content.” The key here is to think about the type of questions your customers and audience members are asking, or could be asking in the future, and provide unique, personality-filled answers to these questions and problems.”

Some brands who are cleverly using YouTube as a core component of their strategies include:

Facebook

Demographics and stats

General

Age

  • 82 percent of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Facebook
  • 56 percent of online users ages 65 and up use Facebook
  • 79 percent of those ages 30 to 49 use Facebook

Gender

  • Female-identified users: 76 percent of all female-identified U.S internet users use Facebook
  • Male-identified users: 66 percent of all male-identified U.S internet users use Facebook

Income

  • 72 percent of Facebook users have incomes of over $75,000

Education

  • 74 percent of Facebook users have some form of higher education

Why Facebook is a top social media site

Since its birth in 2004, Facebook has been a staple in social media marketing plans around the world. There are countless reasons for this, but as our post “Our Best Facebook Posts, and What We Learned From Them” explains, “Facebook is probably a more powerful business tool than it has ever been. The company is pushing e-commerce features like a brand new buy button; it ramped up its video strategy, making it a serious competitor for YouTube; and Facebook ads are becoming more accessible to all businesses.”

While countless reasons for using Facebook in your marketing strategies, the company cites these key areas it can help with:

  • Driving online sales
  • Increasing local sales
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Promoting your app
  • Finding leads
  • Social customer service

Some brands who have found incredible success, and act as solid examples of what Facebook can do for your business, include:

  • The New York Times—who saw a 2.3 times increase in volume of subscription conversions
  • The Skimm—who saw a 22 percent increase in lead quality, with a $1 to $2 cost per acquisition
  • Absolut—who saw a four point lift in favorability via Facebook
  • Eggo—who saw a 4.2 times return on ad spending and 3.2 percent in household reach

Twitter

Demographics and stats

General

  • Monthly Users : 80,173,808 (as of March 2016)
  • 23 percent of all internet users and 20 percent of the entire U.S adult population use Twitter
  • 50 percent of users visit or shop at the website of an small or medium business they follow
  • 60 percent of users bought something because of something they saw on Twitter

Age

Gender

  • Female-identified users: 15 percent of all female-identified U.S. internet users use Twitter
  • Male-identified users: 22 percent of all male-identified U.S. internet users use Twitter

Income

  • 54 percent of Twitter users have incomes of over $50,000

Education

  • 30 percent of users have some form of higher education

Why Twitter is a top social media site

As most brands know, 140 characters can be a powerful thing. While there were rumors in 2015 and 2016 that Twitter was increasing its signature character limit, CEO Jack Dorsey touched on one key benefit of Twitter when he dismissed these claims, stating: “It’s staying. It’s a good constraint for us. It allows for of-the-moment brevity.”

It’s this brevity that forces brands to get their messages out in the clearest, most concise manner possible. Besides this, there are countless reasons why businesses such as yours love Twitter, including:

While there are tons of brands on Twitter, some of the best examples of using the network for your business needs are the following:

Pinterest

Demographics and stats

General

Age

Gender

  • Female-identified users: 42 percent of all female-identified U.S. internet users use Pinterest
  • Male-identified users: 13 percent of all male-identified U.S. internet users use Pinterest (the most rapidly growing demographic for the site)

Income

  • 34 percent of Pinterest users have incomes of over $75,000
  • 64 percent of Pinterest users have incomes of over $50,000

Education

  • 32 percent of users have some form of higher education

Why Pinterest is a top social media site

The business value of Pinterest is undeniable. In addition to the statistics outlined above, our recent post, “Using Pinterest for Business,” highlights the fact that Pinterest can be a huge driver of traffic for professional sites. Numerous bloggers we spoke to declared Pinterest to be the biggest driver of traffic to their sites, information that emphasizes the network’s position as a serious component for any social media strategy.

Whether using Pinterest to Pin your products, uses and demos for your products, or lifestyle and industry-relevant content, the platform is one that your brand should seriously consider including in your plan. The following brands saw the power of Pinterest, and experienced great success using it for their business:

  • Homepolish—who saw at least 10 percent of their site traffic come from Pinterest, with 75 percent of those unique visitors new to the brand
  • Topshop—who saw a 260 percent increase in impressions thanks to Pinterest
  • Hearst—who saw a 715 percent increase year over year in traffic to their sites thanks to Pinterest

Instagram

Demographics and stats

General

Age

Gender

  • Female-identified users: 49 percent of Instagram users identify as female
  • Male-identified users: 51 percent of Instagram users identify as male

Income

  • 26 percent of Instagram users have incomes of over $75,000
  • 52 percent of Instagram users have incomes of over $50,000

Education

  • 24 percent of users have some form of higher education

Why Instagram is a top social media site

It’s no secret that visuals add a certain dimension to your content that words alone sometimes can’t quite grasp (a painful sentence for this writer to put down). In just five short years, Instagram has skyrocketed by being a place for marketers to easily and effectively showcase their brand through images, short videos clips, and the overall cohesion of visual content.

As not only a platform with extremely attractive demographics, as outlined above, Instagram highlights the following three key reasons content succeeds on the platform.

  • Passionate Community—with Instagram’s 400 million users globally, those on the platform are engaged and active.
  • Creative Context—users go to Instagram to view beautiful or interesting images, so placing your business’ content here means you are presenting to a creative, image-driven audience.
  • Visual language—with the focus on images, Instagram offers an easy-to-digest and aesthetically pleasing arena for your brand’s visual content to take center stage.

Brands and businesses quickly caught on to Instagram’s marketing potential, and have seen huge success with the platform. Some of the best success stories are the following:

  • Mercedes Benz—who saw a 27 point lift in ad recall thanks to their Instagram campaign
  • Coca-Cola—who saw a seven-point lift in message association between Coca-Cola, happiness, and friendship
  • Fido—who saw 2 million people reached in eight weeks, a 19 point lift in ad recall amongst Millennials, and a four point lift in brand recommendation

LinkedIn

Demographics and stats

General

Age

Gender

  • Female-identified users: 44 percent of LinkedIn users identify as female
  • Male-identified users: 56 percent of LinkedIn users identify as male

Income

  • 44 percent of LinkedIn users have incomes of over $75,000
  • 75 percent of LinkedIn users have incomes of over $50,000

Education

  • 50 percent of users have some form of higher education

Why LinkedIn is a top social media site

While many think of LinkedIn as solely a professional networking site, it has become much more for many brands. As a knowledge and information-sharing hub, LinkedIn allows like-minded people to find each other, form communities, and, yes, network professionally. For brands, this means that it has the potential to create thought-leaders out of their CEOs, share updates from their businesses to an interested audience, and provide valuable and relevant information on a regular basis.

LinkedIn shares that the most successful brands on the site do the following three things:

  • They continually update users on industry news.
  • They release new and engaging content tailored to specific audiences.
  • They add their voice to relevant conversations that their audiences care about.

Some great examples of brands who successfully use LinkedIn for business purposes include:

  • KLM—who created a 24/7 customer service group on LinkedIn in order to respond to customers’ inquiries
  • EY—who used LinkedIn to position themselves as key thought leaders in the accounting industry
  • HubSpot—who drive high-quality leads in the LinkedIn feed with Sponsored Updates

Snapchat

Demographics and stats

General

Age

Gender

  • Female-identified users: 70 percent of Snapchat users identify as female
  • Male-identified users: 30 percent of Snapchat users identify as male

Income

  • 62 percent of Snapchat users have incomes of over $50,000
  • 38 percent of Snapchat users have incomes of under $50,000

Education

  • 70 percent of post-secondary students use Snapchat

Why Snapchat is a top social media network

While not technically a social media site, Snapchat is a social platform you and your company should definitely care about. When advertising and content marketers first heard of a platform where the content would live for 24 hours, tops, I’m sure there were scoffs heard around open offices and pour-over coffee stations everywhere. However, since its inception in 2011, Snapchat has skyrocketed in prominence, becoming the place to be for many social media marketers. As an extremely popular platform for those under the age of 34, Snapchat is an incredibly valuable network for those trying to target this highly desirable demographic. Including the appealing demographics, there are three key reasons businesses on Snapchat love the app:

  • The Best Mobile Video Platform—with a focus on vertical rather than horizontal video
  • Snapchatters—the “passionate and engaged” audience demographic
  • Curated Content—as explained by AdAge, “[Snapchat] offers something unique in the world of mostly-broadcast, feed-centric social media—intimacy at scale.”

However, if you want to get inside the heads of your targeted demographic, Snapchat found that 13 to 34 year olds love the app because it allows them to:

  • Get perspective—”Snaps provide a personal window into the way you and your friends see the world.”
  • Be here, now—”Stories are updated in real-time and expire after 24 hours.”
  • Express yourself—”Snaps are a reflection of who you are in the moment—there is no need to curate an everlasting persona.”

If your brand or business is looking to begin using Snapchat, or are having trouble connecting with an audience there, think about these reasons that the core Snapchat demographic are using it. Snapchat users love the personal aspect of the app, so perhaps your brand can offer behind the scenes footage or clips of your CEO offering quick video snippets of advice. The audience also loves the real-time nature and maximum 24 hour lifespan of a Snap Story, making it a great place to share brief, exciting company or industry updates. For more ideas on how to use Snapchat for your business, our post, “Smart ways to use Snapchat for business,” provides a thorough guide. Additionally, looking at some examples from other businesses can prove helpful. To offer inspiration, here are some brands that are doing Snapchat right.

  • CNN—quoted in Snapchat’s advertising info page, CNN is communicating through Snapchat in a less formal way than on their other media channels, and in doing so, reaching a completely new audience.
  • Mashable—Mashable uses Snapchat to share industry news, provide behind the scenes access to their offices and employees, and provide Snapchat videos of live events (such as new Apple product launches).
  • Refinery29—who consistently provide short, easily digestible content featuring beauty, fashion, and lifestyle advice.

With these top social media sites in mind, you can see why—just like I didn’t need every single type of cheese to have happy dinner party guests—you don’t need to be on each and every social media platform to reach your social media goals. Instead, concentrate on building and maintaining a high-quality presence with a core set of social media platforms.

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