One of the biggest misconceptions about social media marketing is that your brand has to be everywhere, present on every possible social channel. For most brands, even attempting this sort of ubiquity would be impossible; it’s a lot of work to maintain a regular posting schedule on even one social platform, let alone several! In most cases, it’s also a waste of money: The better approach is to be judicious, spending your social time and dollars on the sites where you know your customers to be.
The question is, how do you glean that kind of information? This is where analytic research can come in handy, and also the construction of buyer personas. With that said, there are also some basic social media statistics that may be useful, especially with regard to determining how social media use breaks down among generational demographics.
Social Media Use by Generations
The headline here is that, for whatever bad publicity Facebook has gotten in recent months, it remains the most-used social platform by a considerable amount. Facebook users in the U.S. now total 169.5 million—an increase of about 0.9 percent since last year. It is the dominant social media outlet with all demographics—except teenagers.
Social Media Use Among Teens (Ages 12-17)
With teens, the place you want to be is Snapchat. In fact, if you look at the age bracket encompassing those 12 to 17, Snapchat continues to gain users while Facebook is actually losing them. By 2022, it is expected that Snapchat will add 1.2 million users in this demographic. Facebook is expected to lose 2.2 million.
Teens also prefer Snapchat to Instagram. According to the data, 16.4 million teens will use Snapchat this year, compared to 12.8 million for Instagram.
Facebook is well aware that it’s losing cache with younger users and has made some efforts to catch up. You’ve probably noticed that Facebook has added Stories to its list of features—a fairly transparent bid to be more like Snapchat or Instagram. Thus far, however, these efforts seem to be falling short; teens are still abandoning the otherwise mighty social network, or else never signing up at all.
What About Other Demographics?
If you’re marketing to teens, there are some obvious implications: Your brand should probably have a seat at the table on Snapchat, and maybe even on Instagram. But what if you’re not marketing to teens?
Among millennials, Facebook is dominant. It’s the most-used social platform, with 58.5 million total users in this range. This number continues to grow—albeit at a slow pace. The second most-used social platform among millennials is Instagram, with a total of 43.3 million users.
Moving into Gen X, we see that Facebook retains its popularity. It’s the most popular social platform in this demographic, too, with 45.1 million total users. While Facebook is actually growing its share among millennials, however, it’s tapering off a little bit among Gen X-ers. The total user number is expected to drop to 43.8 million by 2022.
The second most used social platform for Gen X-ers is, again, Instagram, with 23.5 million. This number is growing, but very gradually.
And finally, Baby Boomers continue to use Facebook as their social network of choice, using it largely to stay in touch with their friends and family members. 31.9 million Baby Boomers use Facebook, and that number is expected to more or less hold steady over the next few years.
Surprisingly, the second most popular social network for Baby Boomers is Pinterest—perhaps because they use it to locate new products or to get ideas for projects around the home.
The least popular social network among Baby Boomers? Snapchat, with only 3.8 million users in this demographic.
Thinking Strategically About Your Social Media Use
These statistics are important for a simple reason: You only have so many resources to devote to social media. What’s more, trying to have a hand in each individual platform will likely mean you spread yourself too thin, and are unable to maintain regular posts and interactions on any given platform.
We recommend that all our clients think strategically about where they put those social media dollars. There are a number of factors to consider here—for instance, Facebook’s ad platform gives it a huge edge—but at the end of the day, you really just need to be where your customers are. And at least along age demographics, the breakdowns are pretty clear and persuasive.
If you want to talk more with us about how to be judicious in picking social media engagements, we’re here for you. The enCOMPASS team can help you develop a full-fledged social media strategy that allows you to use your marketing dollars effectively. Contact us today and let’s start that important conversation!
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