Learning from the Pew 2014 Social Media Survey
The Pew 2014 Social Media Survey released last week confirms that the vast majority of people who use the Internet at all are using at least one social media network. This study is part of a much larger effort to understand how the Internet impacts our lives. If we dig for the right data points, there are actionable insights for sociologists, cultural anthropologists, social psychologists, and other, including marketers and business owners or executives. Such information is vital so that we can come up with the right marketing and SEO strategies.
According to the Pew 2014 Social Media Survey, Facebook is, by far, the most widely used social platform, with 71 percent of adults over the age of 18 among its users. The growth of Facebook membership has leveled out in 2013 and 2014. Engagement, however, is up on Facebook. Of those surveyed, 70 percent said they log in to the site daily, with 45 percent saying they log in more than once a day. Daily use is up from 63 percent in 2013.
Somewhat surprising is the percentage of US Adult Internet users who are members of other social platforms:
PLATFORM 2012 2013 2014
- Facebook 67% 71% 71%
- LinkedIn 20% 22% 28%
- Pinterest 15% 21% 28%
- Instagram 13% 17% 26%
- Twitter 16% 18% 23%
What we find surprising is to see Twitter member percentages lagging behind LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.
Notable in terms of generational statistics, Boomers and Seniors are increasingly social and engaged.
People use multiple social platforms.
- 21% use no social media sites
- 28% use one site
- 24% use two sites
- 16% use three sites
- 8% use four sites
- 4% use five sites or more.
With more than half of online adults (52%) active on two or more social platforms, marketers and business owners/executives need to be thinking and building social marketing strategies that are multi-platform, as well as multi-channel.
The younger demographic (aged 18-34) are very active on Instagram – 53 percent of them. If people of this demographic group are part of your target audience, Instagram should be on your radar.
If your market includes college educated social media users, you will find about half of them active on LinkedIn.
Much of the growth of Twitter membership has been among men, Caucasians, those aged 65 and over, college graduates, urbanites, and households earning $50,000 per year or more.
Learning from Recent Studies and Surveys
Trends and Successful Practices
We have also been busy culling helpful insights from a broad range of surveys and studies, looking for clear trends in social media use and successful practices in social media marketing. Here are some of the things we have discovered.
Content marketing is increasingly dependent upon social platforms for distribution.
Real-time marketing interaction is expected to be achieved on social platforms first – before it is adapted on other digital channels.The amount of audio and video content on social media platforms is increasing rapidly. Facebook, according to some surveys, is the platform of choice for video content sharing; LinkedIn, say some, is now the top platform for sharing written content. Visual elements are increasingly important in all content marketing and distribution.
The shift will continue to mobile access of social media platforms. This makes mobile-friendly design and responsive design critical for viewability. Websites that are not viewable on mobile devices will be penalized in search results rankings, according to Google on 1/21/15.social media selling and shopping – little black dog social media
Social media platforms (with a few notable exceptions) are trying to monetize and are doing so with social platform advertising programs. Not only will we see more paid advertising on social platforms, but we might discover a need for marketers to pay to play and expect to achieve any kind of visibility on social networks – or, at least, to find it necessary to pay for the visibility they want.
Social media platforms are partnering with payment options or buying payment startups and companies. The ability to buy products directly from a social media platform will likely become the norm during 2015. This will significantly alter the dynamic of social media interactions. Companies will need to have processes in place to work with these social platforms to deliver products and/or services to these customers.
For marketers, tracking and analytics will continue to improve, and should soon reach the tipping point in terms of ability to capture data and make it both accessible for analysis and productive of actionable customer insights and trends. (Twitter, however, has just quietly dropped its analytics in favor of the use of Twitter cards.)
Social media platforms are becoming more important for B2B communication and marketing. On January 14, 2015, Facebook was the dominant platform with a usage rate of 89 percent, but LinkedIn had almost closed the gap for B2B, standing merely one point behind Facebook.
We will continue to see new social media networks launch and become popular. The jury is still out on Ello, which promises no advertising and no sales of user information to third parties. Others will likely offer location-based options available to members and local marketers or they will be content defined.
With additional data available regarding on-platform engagement we will have the analytics to know which content genres are most appealing to market segments. Influencer marketing will probably remain a high priority among marketers.
Multi-platform users will drive multi-platform marketing and engagement. Marketers need to understand that all age groups are not active on social platforms. Better analytics should enable us to identify key audiences and personalize marketing communications more effectively and efficiently. It would be a mistake to focus only on millennials for most companies. Baby Boomers and Seniors are very large demographics, with a large amount of disposable income. Thus social media strategy and content planning need to incorporate recognition of a diverse audience and an understanding of how to speak to each segment of that audience.
It is inherent in social interactions to change and evolve. We should, then, expect that the locus and the dynamics of marketing via social media platforms will change. Being alert to new insights and trends helps today’s small businesses develop marketing plans that remain relevant to their target audiences. We hope this update is helpful to you.