Selfies may be the only thing talked about on the news when the term “social media” is mentioned, but that’s just a tiny part of how sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have changed how we learn about and consume information.
I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have heard company owners say “I don’t use social media, that’s for kids, and they don’t have any money. Why would I waste my time on it?” It has happened over and over again when I get into discussions about marketing, and each time I do my best to try to explain to them that that’s just not the case, and they are missing out on an enormous audience just waiting to be sold to. One cannot reach the multitude of users on these sites by sticking to advertising in the Yellow Pages and on local cable access television. The old days are gone, and the media and buyer’s eyeballs as we once knew them are now online searching for products and services.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some facts and figures of the major social media networks that the entire world is using – and the market that you could be missing out on.
Facebook has 1.19 billion monthly active users. Let me repeat that – 1.19 BILLION users. There are only about 7 billion people on the entire planet, and over 1/7 of them are users of Facebook. 200 million of those are in the United States. When was the last time your “ad guy” at the TV station or the good people at Kinkos said you could reach that many people with a local ad or mailer? But before you say anything, I know what you’re thinking. “They’re all kids, though!” Wrong. According to the latest data, the largest demographic on Facebook is the 35-54 crowd with over 56 million members. And between 25 and 34, there are 44 million users. That’s a far cry from them being all kids with no money, as those age brackets are ideal folks to market to, as the majority have jobs, disposable income, and are well-versed in doing almost everything online. Do you really want to miss out on an easy target for your services or products, all hanging out in the same place? There are plenty of ways to buy advertising on Facebook, and the ability to niche target your campaigns makes it easy to find your potential customers and put yourself right in front of them.
As of April 2015, Twitter had over 300 million active monthly users and over a billion registered accounts. That’s a lot for a service that only allows users to type out 140 character sentences and can (to be honest) be filled with a lot of “noise.” But Twitter is also one of those apps that people check all day long on their mobile devices, and lately we have seen a lot more promoted tweets and trends than ever before from major companies. That means they think the network is worthy of their ad spend, and maybe you should to. According to AdWeek, 55 percent of Twitter users are over the age of 35 and the overall average age of a user is 37.3. Again, not just kids staring at their account in the back of their parent’s car. This is a huge market of “addicted” users who are not only expecting to see ads in their feeds but are clicking on the ones that interest them. That doesn’t happen in your local newspaper.
Instagram may have been a latecomer to the “we sell ads” party, but with over 300 million daily users – 78 million in the U.S. alone as of April 1 – Instagram is now an advertiser’s dream in that it’s all visual. There’s no text for potential customers to wade through to get your information. Your ad is presented right inside user’s feeds as just another pretty picture, albeit a branded one. They can repost them, like them, or tag their friends in them, which potentially expands your reach even further. And now they allow video ads, which will make the network even more attractive to advertisers. It’s a market that is about 50/50 when it comes to gender, and while Instagram does trend a little younger than Facebook and Twitter, there are still plenty of adults using the service.
There are hundreds of social media networks out there, some based only in specific countries and some that are worldwide. It never hurts to watch for up and comers, as we all know that FB, Twitter, and Instagram came out of nowhere and changed the face of media. The next one is out there, somewhere, waiting to be discovered. And when it is, you want to be ready to take advantage of it – so start working on your social media campaigns now. Avoiding them altogether puts you at a complete disadvantage against your competitors and in today’s fast-moving marketplace that’s a guaranteed way to fail. It’s a tough road to hoe going against the grain and sticking to “old fashioned” media in the face of a changing market; ignore social media at your peril.
And now, just for fun, check out 2015’s Shorty Award Winners for the Best Use of Social Media for some ideas and inspiration.
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