No time to figure out which social media channels fit your small business? Well, pull up a chair and take a seat – you have come to the right place. Consider this your cheat sheet.
You just need to follow three steps, and I’m going to walk you through them.
Step 1: Understand the demographics of each social media channel
The Pew Research Center publishes a social media update every winter based on the previous year’s data (the most recently available is 2014).
Note that the percentages shown below are based on all Internet users.
Facebook: Still home base for most people
- Gender: More women than men (77% of women and 66% of men use it)
- Race: Pretty evenly divided among whites, blacks, and Hispanics
- Age: 18-29-year-olds are the largest group of users (87% use it), but seniors 65+ are the fastest growing group (56% use it)
Twitter: Usage is growing
- Gender: More men than women (21% of women use it, 24% of men use it)
- Race: Blacks and Hispanics use it more than whites.
- Age: 18-29-year-olds are the largest group of users (37% use it), followed by 30-49-year-olds (25% use it). Usage by age plummets after that.
LinkedIn: The only social network with a more mature user base
- Gender: Almost evenly divided among women and men (27% of women use it, 28% of men use it)
- Race: Whites and blacks use it at nearly identical levels; Hispanics trail
- Age: 30-49-year-olds and 50-64-year-olds are the most active (31% and 30%, respectively, use it)
Instagram: Still the fastest growing network
- Gender: More women than men (29% of women use it, 22% of men use it), which may not sound impressive, but this is a significant increase from 2013 when 20% of women and 15% of men used it
- Race: Blacks use it the most, followed by Hispanics and then whites
- Age: No surprise: 18-29-year-olds are the largest group of users (53% use it), way ahead of 30-49-year-olds (25% use it)
Pinterest: Women continue to dominate
- Gender: WAY more women than men (42% of women use it, 13% of men use it)
- Race: Whites use it a lot more than Hispanics and blacks, hands down.
- Age: Of course, 18-29-year-olds lead the pack (34% use it), but 30-40-year-olds and 50-64-year-olds are not far behind.
Step 2: Do some competitive research
Now that we have a general understand of who is using which social media network, it’s time to do some competitive research, so 1) you don’t reinvent the wheel, and 2) you save time.
Make a list of your competitors, and start looking them up on each social media network where you think your target market is (refer to the Pew research study for that). Answer these three questions:
- What social media channels are they active on?
- Where are they getting the most engagement?
- What are they posting that is resulting in comments and shares?
Now you know what social media networks you should be on and what you should be sharing. One more thing before you start, though.
Step 3: Determine your goals
I would be remiss if I did not mention that you need to have clear goals written down for your social media marketing strategy before you begin. Whether you want to raise brand awareness or drive sales – or both – just know what your end goal is before you get started.
What social media networks do you use right now, and why? Based on this information, which do you think you should be using?
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