In this series we’ll talk about the importance of content (in whatever form it may take). No matter whether we’re talking about blog posts, podcasts, videos (or something else entirely) your content is unlikely to find its audience unless you deliver it directly to them. And since most consumers are unlikely to visit your website (unless they have a specific reason for doing so) social media can provide a near-perfect means of capturing their attention.
At the start of 2020, there are roughly 3.5 billion active social media users in the world. That’s nearly half our global population and 4 out of 5 internet users worldwide are active on one or more social media platforms. So, whether those users prefer Facebook or LinkedIn, Instagram or Snapchat, Twitter or Pinterest, YouTube or TikTok, it’s important to recognize that most of your current and prospective customers are currently scrolling through some sort of feed, just waiting for something to catch their eye.
And with each generational shift, the potential of social media increases. While only 48.2% of aging Baby Boomers are active social media users, those numbers jump up to 77.5% for Gen-Xers and 90.4% of Millennials. With Gen-Z / Zoomers now entering the consumer marketplace, you can expect them to participate at an even higher level. But if we look at consumers as a whole, here’s the most important takeaway: 77% of consumers will favor a brand (over that brand’s competitors) if they follow that brand on social media.
In other words, maintaining a successful social media presence is a crucial component of your marketing. Not only does it give you the opportunity to deliver your content directly to your audience, but it allows you to use that content to define and reinforce your brand while building consumer loyalty.
Brand Definition and Reinforcement
Our collective idea of ‘branding’ has expanded to include more than just eye-catching logos or compelling tag lines. In 2020 and beyond, ‘what we say’, ‘what we do’, ‘what topics reflect our values’, ’what brands we align ourselves with’ and ‘how we interact with users’ will be an important component of any brand. These factors help to inform perception. They speak to culture. They can assist in attracting and converting new audience members. They can help to validate products or services. But when it comes to content creation and social sharing, there’s more to than meets the eye.
Make Content Meaningful. In all fairness, we make certain assumptions regarding your content. We assume that it’s of high-quality, is meaningful and is deserving of greater exposure. But what if it’s not? What if you’re unsure? Or what you have yet to even start creating or sourcing content? Make it a point to define both the audience and intent for every piece of content. Whether you’re creating original content or sharing content created by others, let such insights inform your approach to ensure that each share supports your brand, and is of genuine value to your target audience (not that you can’t still have some fun with it). Find what people are looking for about the topic, and directly answer those questions, and related questions, to provide the most useful content you can. Understand the relationship between audience and platform. In marketing, it’s always important to identify the most effective means of delivering a message to the desired audience. This is a crucial element of Social Sharing since you have to choose the correct social media platform to make that delivery. Facebook, for example, is more personal, social and casual in nature and creates the potential for a more expansive reach. LinkedIn however is based in the realm of business and enterprise. Instagram is best-suited for visual storytelling, while Twitter is designed for easily-digestible links and bite-sized, attention-grabbing messages. We’ll talk more about those platforms (and more) but understanding social platforms can prove important on two levels. First, it can help you to identify the platforms that your audience calls ‘home’, but it can also help you to enhance the value of your content by customizing it to achieve the best results on each platform. Remember: Consistency is key. Mindfulness is important when it comes to delivering your content, and consistency is one of your best allies in that regard. By scheduling posts in a consistent manner, you minimize the likelihood of your content being mistaken for spam, ignored as ‘white noise’, or lost in the sea of social content. Plus, consistent scheduling makes your content appear purposeful, while helping to create a sense of anticipation around its release. Consistency of scheduling is especially important when it comes to episodic or serialized content, ensuring that your loyal audience will know when to expect release the next episode.
The average American internet user has up to 7 social media accounts. That’s a lot of potential for getting your brand message out there. To help get you thinking about your audience, and which social media platform(s) are most likely to prove beneficial to you, here are some insights on each:
Facebook is the second-most popular site in the world (behind Google) and boasts nearly 2.4 billion users worldwide and 170 million in the U.S. alone. 51% of users visit Facebook multiple times a day, with an average duration of 10:57 per visit. YouTube user numbers are fast-approaching the 2 billion mark, and the site is considered the top social site for U.S. teens with 85% of that group visiting YouTube multiple times daily. It is currently the second-ranked social platform in the world, influencing purchases, do-it-yourselfers and entrepreneurs, as well as providing infotainment for the more common user. Instagram has reported 1 billion active users every month, with U.S. users fast approaching the 112.5 million marker. As many as 500 million users make use of the Instagram Stories feature each day. LinkedIn boasts roughly 610 million users worldwide, with active profiles for roughly 50% of college graduates and high-income owners. TikTok (formerly Musical.ly) has 500 million active users, with nearly half aged between 16 and 24 and an average visit duration of 52 minutes. TikTok is emerging as one of the preferred platforms for viral engagement, and in-app purchases. Twitter has over 320 million monthly users and 85% of small-and-medium businesses that utilize Twitter consider it to be an important component of their customer service strategy. Twitter b Snapchat has nearly 190 million users daily, with 78% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 counted among those users. Due to its relationship withe emerging youth markets, Snapchat has proven to be one of the fastest emerging platforms that businesses are looking to incorporate into their marketing strategies. Pinterest shows more than 250 million active ‘Pinners’ a monthly basis, with 41% of women between the age of 18-49 making up most of those users.
Getting Social in 2020 (& Beyond)
We’ve only touched on some of the platforms that you may want to begin utilizing. Each one offers unique benefits and opportunities for exposure to target demographics. Find out which platforms are used by your audience, as well as which platforms can be used to expand that audience. Learn more about each platform to determine the ones best-suited for your content and sharing strategy. Just remember to be mindful, meaningful, and consistent in the content you create, the content you share, and where you choose to share it. By doing so, you might be surprised by the limitless possibilities for brand growth.