It’s incredible to think how social media has developed over the past five or so years, and it continues to evolve and develop all the time. Fortunately, there are many experts out there who spend all their time assessing and measuring the landscape. It’s these people who produce great statistics on social media, and in this article I want to share with you some social media facts from 2016.
Before we dive right in, I wanted to draw your attention to one point. If, like me, you use social media for business purposes, it’s always a good idea to view these facts with that in mind. Think where your ideal clients are and how to reach them via social media. It’s all to easy to think “I use this platform myself, so I’ll just use this for my business too”. If you are very familiar with Facebook, for example, and your clients are using that platform in droves too, great – consider that a bonus. However, sometimes we need to step outside our comfort zones and learn how to use a new platform in order to reach the greatest number of our ideal customers.
I want to begin by sharing a great summary of the key 2016 info. Sometimes a picture says 1000 words, right? For those of you who are short of time, or find it easier to absorb facts and figures visually, then this is definitely for you. Hopefully you find it useful, and I’m going to pull out some of the business-related facts below if you want to take a look in more detail.
Presented by Skilled.co
Key Social Media Statistics from 2016
- almost one third of the global population are on social media, in some way, shape or form
- the highest usage is in North America (a great point if you want to reach an audience there)
- Facebook is still king of the platforms, with 70% of its users coming back daily and a total of 1.6 billion active users
- Instagram is not far behind, with a figure of 79% (but it is now owned by Facebook, so it’s hardly surprising it is following in it’s big brother’s footsteps)
- Other platforms visited frequently by it’s users are Twitter, LinkedIn & Pinterest
What does all this mean for your business?
FACEBOOK IS A GOOD PLACE TO START…..with a few catches!
Why is Facebook so good?
Well, apart from the fact there are so many sheer users on it, it’s well set up to use as a business marketing platform. The degree of targeting available during advertising on the platform is one of the best I’ve come across, compared to other social media providers. The reporting is great too! After all, if you spend money on marketing, you want to know how you did, and what return you are getting for your money.
What are the catches?
Facebook, and in fact most social media now, is no longer a free route to marketing glory! It used to be when it was an emerging communication channel, but now the landscape is competitive. If all you want to do is talk to your customers and inform them of things, then fine, go right ahead. If you want to grow your following and gain new customers for your business, be prepared to pay for it. I still find it a very cost-effective way to advertise, especially as a small business. Much more efficient and targeted than a grand print campaign in a glossy magazine (which is still great if you have a massive branding budget!)
Facebook is great for reaching consumers, but not so great if you are a business wanting to target other businesses. The best advice I can give you if this is the case, is try LinkedIn. There are more professional people on that platform, in a business mindset, and you can target by business type, job title etc.
How to start social media for business
The first thing I can say, is don’t just jump in with little thought as to why you want to use it. If you do, you will most likely waste a lot of time, and find you struggle to keep up with it and everything else you need to do as a business owner.
The second thing is, if you are not familiar with the various social media channels, start with just one, and only one. Build that up to a point you feel comfortable, and then take on another one or two. Most of the platforms have help sections to help you learn, or just search online for free courses. There are plenty of them around, and webinars if you prefer learning by video!
If you follow these steps, you will be off to a good start
Step One: Detail your ideal customer
Write down a list of what represents your ideal customer – their age bracket, gender, where they live, what are they likely to be interested in? Any other characteristics, demographics or interests they may have. (For example, I write a blog about dog behavior and health issues, so one of the obvious characteristics for me is “dog owners” – it’s simpler than you might think, and will save you a lot of time later on in social media – particularly if you use it for paid marketing)
Step Two: Match them to the right social media platform
Try and match these characteristics with the best social media platform. Which platform are you most likely to find the most “ideal customers”? Some of the information on the graphic above will help. If you have the opportunity to ask your existing customers which platform(s) they use, then ask them! If you have an email list, send out a quick survey. If you are starting from scratch, then here is a little bit of guidance for you. This is from my own personal experience, working across both business and consumer social media.
B2C (Business-to-Consumer) marketing
Facebook is probably best, due to the high number of people using it. For paid activity it’s good due to the level of targeting. Provided you have established the characteristics of your ideal customer well in Step One, you will be able to specify who you pay to market to.
If you have a visual product or service, particularly aimed at women, Pinterest is a great option too. I have seen this platform work very well for businesses related to food, fashion and travel. I guess you could say lifestyle and hobby-related businesses go well on this platform. Good for driving traffic back to a website too.
Instagram is also good for visual products and services, and is particularly good for younger audiences (I would say for under 30s at this stage, and under 20s are particularly enamored with this channel). As a business user, you cannot post video or links, so it’s very much just photos. However hash-tagging is very popular on Instagram and can allow you to join in with other related conversations. If you want to pay to market on here, you get slightly more flexibility in terms of links etc.
Twitter is OK, but I find it so fast moving it’s sometimes hard to keep up with it all. I still think there are many celebrity or brand followers on the platform, and not so many people following businesses.
B2B (Business-to-Business) marketing
LinkedIn is probably still one of the best platforms for this, as people using the platform tend to be “thinking business” when they are using it. The level of business targeting is quite good too, although you need to have quite a large audience to make it really work for you.
Twitter is good for building professional associations, with like-minded businesses or industry experts. Foe example, my twitter account has many followers who are related to the marketing industry. I find it really good for two reasons, knowledge-sharing and getting content to re-share on other platforms. I learn a lot from these people, and it helps me get ideas for what I can blog about or share elsewhere.
What about Google Plus?
My advice here is you should use it if you are running any sort of blog-based business. The main reason is Google will recognize you more as an author and it can help lift your posts and blogs up in the search rankings. For anything else, I don’t think it’s popular enough to offer any real benefits.
Step Three: Plan your social media content
I can’t emphasize this enough! If you don’t do this, you will probably end up spending way too much time on social media and it will just become a source of frustration. I recommend planning one month at a time. Ask yourselves these questions:
- what are some of the key business points I want to get across this month? (sales events, contests, new product etc)
- what are some other interesting things I can share with my audience? (grab some 3rd party info from the web, share something that’s local to your business, something a bit more personal from your business – like a video of your shop, a staff member – keeping it fairly light.
- what is some fun stuff, that reflects the personality of me and my business? If it captures your attention, it will likely capture your audience’s attention.
A key point to remember: It’s SOCIAL media, and people are on their to be social. If you over-egg business posts or be too “stiff”, you won’t get the engagement you’re looking for.
Step Four: Balance your content
The infographic above has some good points about when to post for different platforms, so that’s a good start. You will learn more as you go along.
As well as that, make sure you mix up what you are posting – a video, a business-promo post, something fun, something of general interest related to your line of work etc.
Go for it – you can do it!
Well I hope that helps you to get started, and if you have any questions, please leave them below. I am happy to lend my experience to my readers, and I’ll do my best to help you out – whatever the question or comment.
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