An Intro to Social Media Platforms

What’s the point of social media?

Social Media, as a tool for business, has been able to complement marketing campaigns through integrating communication mediums and by allowing the opportunity for businesses to start building communities of people within their target audience where multi-directional communication can take place. Along with community building, the next step is to create content, making sure it is appropriate for the particular platform it will be posted to. Content creation is the opportunity for the business to create a personality for the brand and be a beacon for engagement directly with the brand.

If a business has not yet started embracing at least one form of social media, they are lagging. A social media profile is free to make, and only requires the investment of your time to get it working for your business. The potential reach of a social media account is significant enough to justify creating an account. More and more older people, who weren’t born with smart phones, are joining the social media craze. And the young people, of course are leading they way in social media usage, with 90% of 18-29 year olds using social media. (Pew Research Center).

The specialties of some different social media platforms.

I won’t try to talk about every social media platform right now because that would be exhausting. I will briefly explain what is possible to do with the platform and provide some statistics on usage.

 

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Facebook

Add friends, accumulate likes, post on a newsfeed which is viewed by all friends (or likers), advertise, and engage with fans. Content rich in that a user can post pictures, videos, links, or whatever they are thinking. Users will also post demographic information, which makes initial segmentation that much easier to complete. Since launching in 2004, Facebook has become a giant when it comes to social media users. Facebook boasts a total of 1.65 billion monthly active users, 1.09 billion of which are daily active users. (Facebook). The tone businesses generally take on Facebook is a combination of customer service representative, product specialist, and community organizer. What I mean by this is a business has the ability to handle issues related to service (before they become viral mishaps). The business can inform customers on how to use a product in a different way. Mondelez has been successful in showcasing creative recipes for enjoying Ritz crackers. Their cheddar and sour cream cracker recipe has surpassed 23 million views on Facebook, accomplishing their goal of reaching the customer and actually getting the customer to engage with the brand.

If you are considering using Facebook to develop awareness for your brand, consider the timing of your posts and try to make posts coincide with peak use periods in your target geographic market. For example, it has been reported that Facebook use peaks mid-week from 1 to 3 pm. Likely caused by bored employees? I’m making an inference here, but probably so. An article by Forbes showed a posting to be more successful, receiving more clicks, if posted at 7pm rather than 8pm. (Forbes).

 

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Twitter

Like Facebook, with a newsfeed of posts by followers, but with the added aspect of retweeting which is the sharing of a tweet you’ve seen with all of your followers. It’s easy to see how the social network can quickly disseminate information across a target audience. Create something that resonates with one of your followers, who shares it with all of their followers. Their followers are likely to be interested in at least some of the same things.

Twitter has more of an informal tone to it than Facebook. Although not quite as informal as SnapChat. Updates and responses to tweets are common for businesses on Twitter. Live-tweeting popular events can be a way of aligning a brand with values of particular audiences. Implement #hashtags and get your witty phrases trending.

Twitter was founded in 2006 with the a mission “to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” (Twitter). There are 310 million monthly active users on Twitter and over 1 billion unique visits every month to sites with embedded tweets. A rising 83% of their users are active on mobile devices, providing further evidence of the necessity to produce content that is visually appealing on smaller screens. Accounts outside of the US make up 79% of the total accounts on Twitter, which is indicative of their global reach and popularity.

 

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YouTube

YouTube is full of videos on every topic ranging from cats playing piano to complex explanations of physics problems. There is room on YouTube for (almost) every kind of video. Which means businesses are also creating channels so they can post videos they think their customers and fans will enjoy. YouTube specializes in videos, videos, and more videos. Some feedback data is displayed with the video: (e.g. “thumbs up” and “thumbs down”, views, and date of post). Users also have the ability to comment on videos, if the comment section has not been disabled. The YouTube comment section is notorious for being politically incorrect and just plain insane at times, but don’t let that stop you from keeping the comment section open for people who want to leave meaningful feedback.

There is no real set tone for videos on YouTube. Post videos that capture your brand and begin to create the tone of your own YouTube channel. There is the community building aspect of YouTube, which is extremely valuable to a business trying to maintain engagement with loyal customers. Users can subscribe to channels and receive updates when their favorite channels upload a new video, “like” another YouTube video, or comment on a video. The user actively follows channels and can remain up to date on everything associated with the business and ultimately stays engaged with the business.

YouTube launched in 2005 and has come to dominate the digital world of user created content when it comes to video sharing. There are over a billion users on YouTube with 80% of views coming from outside the US. YouTube reaches greater numbers in key age demographics than any cable network. With smart phones increasing in size, the total time and time of visit on mobile devices are increasing year on year 100% and 50% respectively.

 

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LinkedIn

Mostly used as a means for professional networking and looking for jobs/internships. It is also a way of following industries, companies, or influential figures, which makes it an important place to be for larger businesses and B2B marketers. The most influential users post daily to maintain engagement.

LinkedIn was founded in December of 2002. They struggled to grow their presence and now have over 433 million users on LinkedIn globally across 200 countries. About 130 million of them are US users. Peak engagement on LinkedIn is generally in the time between 10am-11am ET.

 

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Pinterest

Pinterest is a platform for saving and discovering interesting content. Users share videos and images by “pinning” them to theme related boards. Pinterest has become a fashionable, trendy, inspirational platform for people to be as creative as they want to be.

Founded in 2010, Pinterest now has approximately 100 million monthly active users (NY Times). The majority of Pinterest users are living in the US. Although Pinterest appears to be gaining popularity, there are still relatively low numbers of social media users embracing it. About 30% of US social media users are on Pinterest. The audience Pinterest has accumulated over the years is skewed to a more female focus. With 85% of users identifying as female. This makes it a better place to market to women. Several more statistics on gender go on to prove this. About 42% of US females are on Pinterest, while only 13% of US males.

Pinterest has become more of an e-commerce solution with the introduction of “buyable pins”. These allow brands like Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Neimen Marcus to post a variety of products which can be searched by Pinterest users. Brands have the ability to let users go through the Pinterest process of finding it, pinning it, and now buying it using Apple pay or a credit card.

 

 

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Instagram

A subsidiary of Facebook Inc., Instagram implements the same share-ability as a Facebook posting, but solely through pictures, short videos, and a caption. Users can get as creative as they want while creating content to post on Instagram. Community building on Instagram has resulted in many influencers connecting with very different and unique segments.

Create an account with an easily recognizable name and begin building your portfolio of images, videos, and hashtags. Build a community of followers and begin following brands and people who also create great content. Following others is less important on Instagram than it is on other social media platforms, but it makes the brand more relatable when they follow and or respond to users. There can even be an immense sense of elation for some users when they get followed by a famous person, who is ultimately a brand.

There is also the opportunity for paid advertising. Ads are seamlessly placed between posts, making them front and center as a user scrolls down their feed. There is even the option to post multiple pictures in one post that can be scrolled from left to right to view full size images of an interesting ad.

Instagram launched in 2010 and it became extremely popular with millenials and amateur photographers. There are over 400 million monthly active users producing 3.5 billion likes daily. This network of users posts an average of about 80 million photos per day. On May 11, 2016 the logo Instagram took on a new, more simplistic, yet colorful look. There has also been the introduction of longer videos, no longer limiting users to 15 seconds of content.

 

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Reddit

A massive online community made up of many subreddits. Essentially a forum based communication network where users can subscribe and unsubscribe to subreddits they are interested in and would like to follow. When you make an account, you automatically subscribe to several popular subreddits, then have the ability to discover and subscribe to ones you chose. Opinions are shared and debated, questions are answered, and random topics are discussed.

There are 1.3 million unique visitors to reddit every day which results in almost 5 million page views. While there are a number of factors that determine what time of day is the best to post, like the target audience’s previous behavior, but reddit’s traffic report shows a steady increase in page views by hour from 7 am, when it is lowest, to 7pm when page views peaks.

 

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SnapChat

The photo and video sharing app that has turned communication into an interactive game. Send photos and videos to friends or post to your story, a collection of your posts from the past 24 hours. The daily refreshing of a SnapChat story is that call to action for the user to come back day after day to post on their story and view the story of their friends.

When a SnapChat user sends out a message they can easily track the engagement level and who is engaging through screenshots. Simply ask the user to screenshot the message, for any reason, like a discount or a contest, and access the data of those who screenshot the message. Useful information for segmentation can be acquired through this method.

There are dynamic filters that can be initiated by swiping left on when on the camera screen. On-demand geofilters, filters for specific geographic areas and times, can be purchased so any SnapChat user in the area during a particular time will be able to use the filter on their pictures and videos. These are a great way for engaging a geographically targeted audience on a platform that is fun and used by the majority of millenials. Community geofilters can be submitted for free, but may not contain trademarks or logos. Ads can be purchased so they are sparingly interspersed between snaps from friends or on people’s stories.

SnapChat reaches over 60% of US smartphone users, 13-34 years-old. This community is the driving force which is able to produce over 10 billion views daily. There are over 100 million daily active users, closer to 150 million, and growing according to SnapChat.

SnapChat embodies the virtue of living in the moment and allows users to express themselves in a unique way that lets them connect with the group as a whole. When a young girl sees Miley Cyrus use the rainbow puke filter on SnapChat, the young girl emulates it and feels connected to Miley Cyrus through the app.

Sources/ Additional Information

Pew Research Center 

Reddit: Site Traffic Data

 

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