The social media train has left the station

The social media train has left the station

We mentioned in our e-newsletter and in a blog a couple weeks ago 14 ways that content marketing has changed the business world.

We have received many inquiries as follow-up from this, particularly about social network marketing efforts and how they should factor into a brand’s overall marketing plans.

74% of online* adults use social networking sites, according to Pew Research. Let me repeat that. Almost three-fourths of adults, aged 18 and over, are on one or more of these sites.

Most brands and marketers seem to agree they should be onboard with integrating social media, and they’re fully aware that the train has already left the station.

However, as a content marketing company, the types of questions and frustrations we keep hearing are more along the lines of, “It’s overwhelming to plan and execute on all of the various platforms,” or “Which ones do I need to be targeting?” and “how often?” And, this one’s my favorite: “Can you help me come up with clever content that provides real value and doesn’t annoy my followers?”

Here at Shift Key, we create content of all types for our clients — yes, to also include social media content. And, we love digging into the data to help come up with customized solutions to best meet your goals.

Where exactly are these social media users spending their time? Overwhelmingly, on Facebook. In fact, some 71% of adults are on the site, almost as much as the next three most popular social networking sites combined (LinkedIn at 28%, Pinterest at 28% and Instagram at 26%; Twitter follows in fifth place with 23% of adults).

While the growth of new Facebook user sign-ups has slowed, the level of engagement per user has increased, and all the other sites are still experiencing fairly steady growth per platform. Basically, lots of multi-platform use is going on — 52% of adults use two or more platforms, compared to 42% in 2013.

And for people who only use one site? You guessed it. Overwhelmingly again, they are on Facebook. A full 79% of online adults who only use one site make the commitment to Facebook. It is noted that because of its seamless integration with other platforms, Facebook users who are also on other sites tend to think of it as “home base.”

As has long been my suspicion when conducting personal queries with friends, their parents and their kids, as more parents are becoming friends with their children’s friends, young people are not necessarily leaving Facebook but rather embracing other platforms, particularly Instagram.

There were two new major findings of data that support these theories:

  • More than half of online adults 65+ are on Facebook now (this means that almost one-third of seniors are on Facebook!).
  • About half of adults 18-29 are on Instagram now (up from 37% in 2013), and about half of Instagram users interact with the site daily.

Also, 45% say they are Facebook friends with their parents, and 43% say they are friends with their children. No data was presented regarding what percentages were in 2013, but again, my “unofficial” polls with friends and clients are telling me that while younger adults still want to be connected with close family on Facebook, they have taken to Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Tumblr and other sites for more “cool factor,” freedom of expression, etc. (Instagram was the only one of those other sites included in this particular study.)

And yes, women still dominate Pinterest: 42% of women vs. 13% of men. So ladies, your beauty secrets and interior design vision boards are still in fairly safe hands.

(*The word “online” as used above is assumed through the rest of the data slices presented. Also, for purposes of this particular blog, I am focusing on the Pew 2014 social networking fact sheet and 2015-released updates since then. Feel free to click on the links to read full findings. Fascinating stuff!)

At Shift Key, we make communication capital. We are journalists who know how to create original content, the foundational layer of digital marketing. We understand audience and the information your audience wants – whether you are an agency, brand, company or non-profit. Content is the bedrock of digital marketing. Shift Key creates unique and informative content that feeds marketing activities across a mounting number of channels, generating buzz for brands and leads for products and services.

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