The Pew Research Center (PRC) released a new study on social media use at the beginning of March. Its findings weren’t surprising.
PRC researchers found that Facebook and YouTube dominate the social media landscape.
It’s no surprise that Facebook “remains the primary platform for most Americans.” An estimated 68 percent of U.S. adults report they are Facebook users and three-quarters of them access Facebook on a daily basis. PRC stated:
With the exception of those 65 and older, a majority of Americans across a wide range of demographic groups now use Facebook.
YouTube is even more popular. PRC states:
The video-sharing site YouTube – which contains many social elements, even if it is not a traditional social media platform – is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds.
Are you trying to reach a young demographic? Here is what the Pew Research Center says about them:
Americans ages 18 to 24 are substantially more likely to use platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter even when compared with those in their mid- to late-20s. These differences are especially notable when it comes to Snapchat: 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds are Snapchat users, but that share falls to 54% among those ages 25 to 29.
LinkedIn continues to be popular with college graduates and individuals in high-income households. Nothing has really changed there.
What also became evident in this study is that people use multiple social media sites, not just one.
This overlap is broadly indicative of the fact that many Americans use multiple social platforms. Roughly three-quarters of the public (73%) uses more than one of the eight platforms measured in this survey, and the typical (median) American uses three of these sites. As might be expected, younger adults tend to use a greater variety of social media platforms. The median 18- to 29-year-old uses four of these platforms, but that figure drops to three among 30- to 49-year-olds, to two among 50- to 64-year-olds and to one among those 65 and older.
Facebook May Be Popular But Is It Right for You? Maybe Not
Are you now itching to redouble your efforts on Facebook? Not so fast. While 68 percent of U.S. users are on Facebook, it’s extremely challenging to reach them. Facebook’s latest tweak to its algorithm has made it virtually impossible for your Facebook fans (clients) to see your posts unless you invest in Facebook advertising. Facebook is basically a pay to play system for anyone with a business page.
There’s a lot of buzz about Facebook groups, and more and more people are starting groups either in addition to having pages or instead of pages. Some businesses start courses and create Facebook groups as an added benefit to interact with the business owner.
But does that tactic make sense for a mom-and-pop shop or a lawyer or accountant? Not really.
If you look at your news feed these days, you’ll find that you see fewer posts from businesses, fewer ads, and a lot more posts from friends and family. That’s because of Facebook’s algorithm and Mark Zuckerberg’s belief that Facebook users come to Facebook wanting to interact with friends and family and that you and I don’t want to see posts from business pages. In fact, even though I’ve liked many business pages, I never see their posts in my news feed.
Where does that leave you?
Facebook may seem to be the best place for businesses to be but it isn’t. Well, it isn’t unless you’re willing to spend money on advertising.
If you have an extensive email list, start a Facebook group and encourage people to interact with you there, as well — if that makes sense for your business.
Let’s say that you own a beauty salon or a spa. A Facebook group would be a place to post information about contests, tips, and interact with your clients. You could do that on a Facebook page as well but you’ll get more engagement in a group.
YouTube Is Number 1
In comparison to Facebook (68 percent of U.S. users), YouTube claims 73% of them.
How is a business going to make use of YouTube? Here are a few ideas.
- Create a video that introduces your business.
- Record short videos with tips on a variety of topics.
- Show people do-it-yourself videos. For example, if you own a salon you can demonstrate how a woman how best to blow-dry her hair. Or if you own a spa, share skin tips.
- If you own a garage, show people how to text their tires for wear and tear and how to change their oil.
For YouTube to work, be lively in your videos. Have fun with what you’re doing and above all else, strive to connect with your readers.
“Other” Social Media Networks Still Have Their Place
While no one can compete with YouTube and Facebook in terms of the number of users, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn still have their place for the business world.
Pinterest is terrific at referring traffic to your blog so keep using it. Instagram, which Facebook owns, has been piling on the innovations and its users keep surging.
LinkedIn is a platform I only suggest for nonfiction authors and businesses. If you use LinkedIn, be sure to take advantage of its publishing platform for your blog posts. And join a group to share your expertise.
Now we come to Twitter. Twitter is where I spend most of my time but for businesses I suggest that you use it sparingly. The term we like to use is “outpost.” Share your blog posts there and a few visuals you create but don’t take time to post there frequently. It’s just not the best place for local businesses to spend their time or money.
Just remember to engage, enjoy, and have fun with your marketing. And whichever social media networks you select, make it visually attractive.
Frances Caballo is a social media strategist and manager and the author of six books on social media. Click here to schedule an appointment with her.Interested in marketing a book you wrote? Visit Frances at SocialMediaJustforWriters.com.