Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter?

Since the mid 2000’s we’ve been periodically told that we are living in ‘the social media age’. Realistically it’s only been in recent years that this has become an accurate statement.

Today it is impossible to avoid the reach of social media. 51% of the global population are active social media users. Thats just under 4 billion people! In Northern Europe and North America it’s over 66% of the population.

Active participation on social media is as crucial to running a successful business as having an attractive and engaging website.

Large companies with in-house marketing departments are increasingly placing as much focus on their social media channels as they do on their websites, SEO and display advertising. Social media is well and truly a fundamental part of the digital marketing mix.

Social media marketing is a core function

The abandoned yet mysteriously open shop...

For companies without multi-million pound marketing budgets and teams of internal marketeers, the big question for all businesses or organisations is “which channels should I be active on?”

The first thing to remember is It’s impossible to be successful on all of them at once.

The key to success is choosing the most appropriate channel and focusing on it. It’s better to not have an account on a given platform than to have one and rarely update it. Think of it like a physical shop; it’s better not to have one at all, than have an open store where all the stock is out of date. Imagine your thoughts as a customer if you went into this hypothetical store and saw nothing current on the shelves, no staff around, and a notice on the wall saying ‘contact us at a different location’.

Stairlifts and Instagram...

When choosing which platforms to use, you firstly need to ask yourself; Where are my customers at? A stairlift company could have beautiful product shots inside peoples homes, which in turn would be perfect for Instagram. But when only 2% of Instagram users are over 65, it’s a pretty pointless endeavour.

Millions of pounds are wasted by companies and organisations each year by spending time, money, and man-hours on updating social media channels which will never yield results simply because their customers aren’t there. The stairlift company doesn’t need the Instagram account in the same way that a teen-focused clothing brand doesn’t need an active LinkedIn presence, nor does a local chain of hairdressers need Twitter as its primary way of communicating with the outside world. 

Some surprising statistics

There is no avoiding the fact that social media usage is phenomenal. In the UK alone we have over 44 million active social media users (66% of the population). The figures make for an interesting read.

Excluding the platforms that are China specific i.e. Weibo, the global figures for the active user counts of some of the most relevant social networks show the extent of their reach.

  1. Facebook – 2.6 billion
  2. YouTube – 2 billion
  3. Instagram – 1.1 billion
  4. TikTok – 800 million
  5. LinkedIn – 660 million
  6. Snapchat – 400 million
  7. Pinterest – 370 million
  8. Twitter – 300 million

Which ones are right for me?

There is no one-size fits all answer as each business and organisation is as unique its customers.

To begin with, Facebook is the most popular and most versatile social media platform. Its user demographic is broad and its ability to micro-target make it a necessity for any business.

Instagram is ideal if you are aiming at a younger audience and you have something visually appealing to sell. You will need to make the time to create imagery that can stand out amongst the hundreds of pictures that a user will see in any given day.

Snapchat is a must if you are looking to target Generation Z. But given 90% of it’s users are 18-24; it’s simply not an effective focus for many companies and organisations.

If you trade business-to-business, then LinkedIn is vital. LinkedIn ads, diverse connections, and solid organic content can really help grow engagement and leads.

 

TikTok is one to watch. It is currently the most downloaded app of 2020 and is continuing to grow. Currently only 10% of users are located outside of Asia and 69% are under the age of 24. So unless you’re aiming your product or service at 16-24yr olds, or an Asia-specific market it’s probably not relevant for you. It’s definitely one to keep an eye on for the future though.

Finally, (and somewhat surprisingly) the ‘smallest’ of the platforms is Twitter. A very US-led user-base where half of Twitter’s 300 million active accounts are based in North America. The UK has over 14 million daily users, or around 25% of the population on this one platform – which is still something to take notice of. The platform is in many ways the marmite of social media; people seem to either love it or hate it. It can prove to be an incredibly effective tool for advertising and brand engagement – but only if used correctly.

A final thought

With more and more of our daily lives interacting through social media, social media marketing is a necessity in the world of the 2020’s. All companies and organisations need to bring their ‘A-Game’ as we are without doubt, now living firmly in ‘the social media age’

 

 

All statistics sourced from Hootsuite

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