The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media
Understanding how to effectively utilize social media is a must for any company, whether it be a start up or a long standing company. With billions of users worldwide, everything is connected – business must adapt to the trends or find themselves outstripped by the competition. Thankfully, this wide net of usage means that plenty of information is available to take advantage of this technology, and a younger generation of workers come with considerable literacy on the subject.
Who are the major players in social media, what are their demographics, and how do you reach out to them? Know how to market your company to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as each have specific groups that they appeal to more than others. Learning how to target these demographics with the ideal form of media will allow your product or service to gain a wide net of appeal and increase your revenue.
Facebook is one of the major players in social media – with more than 2.27 billion monthly active users, it is more than just a household name but a foundational block of global society. Some analysts have referred to Facebook as a doomed company as it has little room for expansion (where can you go when everyone is already using your service?) While many millennials actively use the service, more and more people have begun deactivating some of the major social features in favor of its Messenger feature. Gen Z has not found the same appeal from the platform as other generations.
Despite these figures, Facebook remains a crucial demographic for reaching out to potential customers. The analytic data that the platform gains from analyzing photos and posts of customers means that any ads placed will quickly reach the type of people you are looking to target.
At a glance, the primary users of Facebook come from urban demographics, and women have an 8% lead on usage over men. It is estimated that 77% of adults who graduated college use Facebook, meaning that this audience is largely educated and literate. It also has a large global audience, with the primary users of the service coming from India, followed by the United States, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico.
When utilizing Facebook for advertising, expect a diverse and educated audience. Although many people within the United States have begun abandoning the platform in favor of other services, there are still plenty of users clocking in every day. If you are aiming for younger demographics, however, your effort might be better spent elsewhere.
In 2012, Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion dollars, ensuring its hold over the American social media market. It has 1 billion active monthly active users, but it’s appeal is less geared towards adults and more towards children. Most of its users are younger than 30 – in fact, 72% of children aged 13-17 use the service, higher than any other demographic. By utilizing photos and videos instead of words, Instagram utilizes a pictorial language that allows ideas to be conveyed without clever wording – this demographic is less educated than other social media platforms.
If you are aiming to get your product or service into the hands of a hip, younger audience, consider this service. Many individuals, called influencers, will actively utilize their fanbase to advertise your products, provided you supply them with freebies and a little cash. Because users find a personal connection with these influencers, a sense of trust is created between your audience and your product, and a constant bombardment of images means your targets will quickly learn what it is that your product does and how it benefits them.
A lack of maturity from this audience means it will only work for select services. Millenials and Gen Z seek stylish and cheap alternatives to start their adult lives. It has been an excellent source for lifestyle brands, but is presumably less effective for b2b sales and marketing.
In some ways the opposite of Instagram, Twitter is a platform that primarily relies on text over photos, meaning it caters almost exclusively to a literate demographic. While mainly used by younger demographics, this platform’s userbase also scales with level of education and income. Favored by pundits, politicians, and people with opinions, Twitter is massively popular among its users, albeit not used quite as much as Instagram or Facebook. Most companies elect to use a company Twitter account to give frequent updates and create a sense of openness with its customer base.
It goes without saying that Twitter is one of the most politically engaged communities on the Internet. Discretion is advised when considering the content of what you post. Many major brands, attempting to be inclusive or diverse, have inadvertently caused firestorms over poorly phrased language leading to boycotts of their service, particularly when their posts are inconsistent with their actions. Screenshots of these tweets can quickly leak onto news sites or be posted on other media to discourage the use of your product or service. Companies that reply incorrectly to these accusations can only further the damage done to the brand – use this service mindfully.
The level of education and income of many Twitter users suggest that this can be an excellent platform for advertising b2b sales services. It has excellent creative potential for the discerning social media coordinator.
LinkedIn is the premiere service for b2b social media marketing. Generally consisting of college graduates in their respective fields, it is commonly used for sourcing jobs and connecting with the exact demographic of people who are interested in your service. Direct ads for b2b services will not be out of place on this platform, and you will generally find interest through its direct messaging feature. More specifically, investing in the business account service means you will have access to more robust data on how you are reaching these audiences. Many top companies and salespeople use LinkedIn, and can provide a direct route to reach decision makers within a company.
LinkedIn does not follow the same social code that other social media platforms are guided by. Because so many working adults seek to connect and expand their network, friending people you have never spoken to in real life is not considered a faux pas.
Advertising a lifestyle brand for young millennials will be unlikely to find much success on this platform. However, advertising a service that uses outsourced sales to sell these products might find greater success. LinkedIn is a business brand first and foremost – treat it as such, and you will find success.
There are plenty of ways to tap into the power of social media to advertise your brand or target customers for sales, but not all brands can be treated equally. Consider the product or service that you are looking to sell, the demographic you are looking to target, and the means that a demographic are willing to accept what you have to say. A misguided approach to social media can lead to disaster, but a clever approach will yield unprecedented results. Social technology is a powerful tool that can’t be taken lightly – think before you post!