Social marketing is incredibly important for businesses and bloggers. Done effectively, you can sidestep the need to wait for search engine optimization to be effective and go straight to the platform where your customers are hanging out with their family and friends.
Social media is where the new word-of-mouth takes place – and word travels far in this international economy. Recommendations from friends, family, and even bloggers are held in high regard. Millennials, in particular, trust user-generated content above all and will research a purchase through social media and blogs before making a decision to buy.
As a business or a blogger, you want to be part of these conversations. Which means you need to be on social media. But there are so many platforms, how do you know which one you should be on? Follow our comprehensive 3-part series on social media marketing to help answer this question and many more!
The key to choosing your platforms is to look at the demographics and purpose of each platform. If they align with your business and your target audience is there, you’ve found a platform to focus on.
What demographics are important?
There’s a lot of demographic information available for the major social media platforms. Age ranges, gender, race, income level, education level, and location are all available.
Is this important?
Yes. You can use demographics to determine if your target audience is likely to be on the social media platform so you can decide whether to invest your time and effort into marketing on that channel.
Here’s an example:
If you own a high-end fashion brand that makes handbags, you might have determined that your target audience is professional women between the ages of 30-50 who are highly educated, have a high income, and live in urban locations.
With this in mind, when you look at the demographics of each social media platform you can determine if your target audience is likely to be using the platform and in what numbers.
Be a part of the conversation. Find your target audience on social media. #marketing101Click to tweet
What is the purpose of the platform?
Each social media platform works differently and has certain types of content that it is better suited for. For example:
- Instagram is all about images – users may see your image in isolation or may click through to view your home feed.
- Facebook is great for sharing articles and inviting commentary.
- Pinterest is perfect for saving ideas to look at and come back to later.
- Twitter is often used to start conversations and can be used for customer service.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into each of these platforms.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform for all demographics. So much so that you should almost treat your Facebook Page like a second website.
Demographically speaking, Facebook users are:
- Split between genders – 83% of online females, and 75% of online males are on Facebook.
- All ages – 88% of 18-29-year-olds, 84% of 30-49-year-olds, 72% of 50-64-year-olds, and 62% of 65+-year-olds use Facebook.
- Educated – 82% of adults with some college experiences use Facebook.
- Low-income earners – 84% of adults making less than $30,000 a year use Facebook.
Main features of Facebook
Facebook has many different features, and they add, tweak, and change things regularly. Here’s a quick rundown of the major aspects of Facebook:
A Facebook Page is your business’ home page on Facebook. You can share your content and other relevant content your audience will enjoy. You’ll receive comments and interaction from your audience here.
Groups can either be public, private, or secret. You can create your own group, perhaps to provide customer service or join other groups in your niche. But, you must join them with your personal profile. Groups can be an enjoyable way for your ideal customer to get to know your brand without feeling pressured into a sale.
When one of Facebook’s executives envisions that “in the next 5 years, Facebook could be all video,” people sit up and take notice. Facebook Live is a notable new feature that enables authentic connections between brands and customers.
What is the purpose of Facebook?
People use Facebook to stay updated with what their friends and family are doing, share funny or thought-provoking articles, and share their opinions and views with the world. Basically, for a sense of belonging and self-presentation.
How to find your target audience
There are several ways to find your target audience on Facebook. You can check out your competition and see who they follow, and who follows them. You can also search relevant keywords to discover recent posts and groups that include your keywords.
What types of businesses do well on Facebook?
Most businesses have the potential to succeed on Facebook. Hotels, coffee shops, airlines, HR and recruitment, domain name brokers, and bloggers of all niches have found success on Facebook.
Instagram is a visual platform that has a reputation for carefully manicured images. Instagram users are:
- Primarily female – 38% of online females, and 28% of online males are on Instagram.
- Millennials – 59% of 18-29-year-olds, 33% of 30-49-year-olds, 18% of 50-64-year-olds, and 8% of 65+-year-olds use Instagram.
- Educated – 37% of adults with some college experiences use Instagram.
- Low-income earners – 38% of adults making less than $30,000 a year use Instagram.
Main Features of Instagram
Instagram has many different features. You have your own feed where your posts appear in a grid layout and experienced users curate this carefully to ensure it looks harmonious. There’s also Instagram Live, short videos that exist only while being broadcast. And Instagram Stories, short-lived collections of photos and videos. Instagram is trying to encourage more authentic sharing and “lower the bar for sharing all types of photos and video — and not just the carefully planned and painstakingly touched-up photographs that are typical of the service,” said Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram.
Another main feature of Instagram is hashtags, you can use up to 30 per post, and they are a significant factor driving engagement.
What is the purpose of Instagram?
Instagram is the perfect platform to build your brand story. You can showcase your products, the lifestyle your products promote, causes you care about, and your customers using your product.
For example, Warby Parker is known for their use of Instagram to build their brand. Their feed contains images of their product, their customers, books, artworks, and other great sights.
How do you find your target audience on Instagram?
The easiest way to find your audience on Instagram is through hashtags.
Research popular hashtags in your niche, those your competitors are using, and the ones that influencers are using. You can do this using Instagram or using a tool like Hashtagify.me.
What types of businesses do well on Instagram?
The types of businesses that do well on Instagram tend to be those that have attractive products to display. However, you could also do well using lifestyle shots and stock photography if your business is less naturally photogenic. In the example above from Warby Parker, only one in the six images shown contains a product.
Pinterest is most popular among women, however, men are the fastest growing demographic. Pinterest is:
- Very heavily skewed towards women – 45% of online females, and 17% of online males are on Pinterest.
- Skewed towards millennials – 36% of 18-29-year-olds, 34% of 30-49-year-olds, 28% of 50-64-year-olds, and 16% of 65+-year-olds use Pinterest.
- Composed of educated users – 34% of college graduates use Pinterest.
- A high-income earning demographic – 35% of adults making more than $75,000 a year use Pinterest.
Main Features of Pinterest
Pinterest is a visual search engine. There’s a lot of focus on attractive images, often with text overlay. Here’s an example from Target:
What is the purpose of Pinterest?
Pinterest is a bookmarking site and search engine. Users pin content they are interested in to “boards” that they can name and categorize to keep organized. There are boards that are collaborative, as well as personal boards, and private boards.
How to find your target audience on Pinterest
The easiest way to find your target audience on Pinterest is to search for your close competitors and see who is following them and pinning their content. You can also search for niche-specific terms and see which users are pinning this type of content.
What types of businesses do well on Pinterest?
Traditionally, DIY and food bloggers have done very well on Pinterest. However, travel bloggers, B2B businesses, and fashion brands also do well.
Twitter is a platform with a varied audience. Demographically speaking, Twitter users are:
- Approximately equally split by gender (25% of online females, and 24% of online males).
- Millennials – 36% of 18-29-year-olds, 23% of 30-49-year-olds, 21% of 50-64-year-olds, and 10% of 65+-year-olds use Twitter.
- Educated – 29% of college graduates use Twitter.
- High-income earners – 30% of adults making over $75,000 a year use Twitter.
- Geographically speaking, 79% of Twitter accounts are based outside the U.S.
How do businesses use Twitter?
There have been concerns about the future of Twitter amid reports of slowing growth. However, Twitter is fast becoming a platform of choice for customer service. In a recent study, 34.5% of consumers said that they prefer to connect with a customer service representative over social media. Twitter is well-equipped to be that platform.
Main features of Twitter
Twitter is famous for its 140 character limited tweets. By necessity, Twitter users have to be brief.
Twitter also makes use of hashtags, which allow you to tag your posts and profile with searchable terms. For example, you can search for #bloggingtips and you’ll find users and tweets that have been tagged with this hashtag.
Twitter is an incredibly fast moving platform. One thing that Twitter does to make this easier to manage is the ability to add users to lists so you can narrow down the Twitter feed to just see their tweets.
Another feature of Twitter is the Twitter Chat. Organized by influencers or brands, Twitter Chats are events that use a specific hashtag to connect users as part of a larger discussion.
What is the purpose of Twitter?
Twitter is the place to see what’s happening. Users can keep up with news, the latest updates from their favorite brands, and get involved in discussions.
How to find your target audience
There are several ways to find your target audience on Twitter. You can check out your competition and see who they follow, and who follows them. You can also search by relevant hashtags to find people who are involved in discussions related to your business.
What types of businesses do well on Twitter?
There’s no one type of business that does well on Twitter. Hotels, coffee shops, airlines, HR and recruitment, domain name brokers, and bloggers of all niches have found success on Twitter. However, if your business is targeted towards the over 65 age group, you may have more success on Facebook.
Wrapping it up
Deciding which social media platform will work best for your business can be overwhelming. Using demographics as a guide, you can make an informed decision about where to spend your time.
Facebook is a good choice for almost all businesses, as most people online use Facebook. It is the best choice for businesses targeting the 65+ market. Instagram is the best place to market to millennials and young women, whereas Pinterest is best for those targeting women between the ages of 18 and 50. Finally, Twitter is a good choice for businesses who want to provide social customer service or target educated, high-income earners.
If you liked this first post in our series, be sure to read Social Marketing 101: Part 2 – Following Best Practices, and stay tuned for Social Marketing 101: Part 3 – Six Types of Content Your Social Strategy Must Have.
Over to you – which platforms are you going to focus on?