Though it’s dangerous to assume anything about leadership in the social networking space (Facebook overtook MySpace as the biggest social network less than a decade ago, after all), the landscape does seem to have matured and stabilized somewhat at this point.
Other than some minor jockeying for position, the chart below showing the largest social networks hasn’t changed much in the past few years. Facebook is of course on top, followed by YouTube, Instagram (owned by Facebook), and Twitter.
For B2C marketers, Pinterest (#6 overall) is probably the next most interesting site. In B2B, LinkedIn, though #10 overall (#12 on the chart, but Tumblr isn’t really a social network and Vine is dead), is one of the three or four most important social networking platforms.
It seems each network has established its unique place (e.g., Twitter for breaking news, LinkedIn for professional networking) but below the surface, who’s really using each platform, for what purposes? And what does that mean for marketers?
Here are four recommendations based on a dozen social networking stats and facts from recent research, customarily curated with a little alliteration.
1. Social media is now the dominant channel for news coverage. Two-thirds of Facebook users (66%) get news on the site. Nearly six-in-ten Twitter users (59%) get news on Twitter, and seven-in-ten Reddit users get news on that platform. (Journalism.org)
2. Google and Facebook captured 85% of the growth in internet advertising last year. (AdAge)
3. Most consumers prefer to interact with brands by email. Less than a quarter (24%) said they use social media to interact with businesses. When they do, Facebook is the dominant network, followed by Pinterest and Instagram. Just 3% say they communicate with brands using Twitter. (V3+Broadsuite Blog)
4. 58% of social media influencers believe they should be paid for the coverage they give brands. (Buzzweb Community)
Focus on Facebook.
5. Among small business owners who use social media for business purposes, 91% use Facebook. Twitter was next most popular at 55%, followed by Instagram (52%), and YouTube (44%). Just 29% use LinkedIn for business. (The Marketing Scope)
6. For millennials and GenZers, Facebook is the top social channel (86%), beating out Instagram and Snapchat (just over 70%) as well as other platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+. Regardless of their preferred platform, they typically access these social media platforms on their phones over their computers. (MediaPost)
7. 79% of adults with Internet access in the United States use Facebook, compared to 32% who use Instagram, Pinterest (31%), LinkedIn (29%), or Twitter (24%). (Marketing Profs)
8. Instagram is the most used social network by B2C social media influencers. 99% say they post content to Instagram; 67% post to Facebook, 51% to Snapchat, and 43% to Twitter. (MarketingProfs)
9. 45% of social media influencers spend more than 10 hours per week on their blog. Instagram and Pinterest are are the most popular platforms among females; men are more likely to use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. (Buzzweb Community)
10. Brands see the highest average engagement ratio on Instagram—10X higher than on Facebook. However, that engagement ratio declined 26% in 2016. (TrackMaven)
Remember the rest.
11. A study of more than 16 million social shares by brands found that 79.6% of updates were sent to Twitter; 13.8% to Facebook; 3.6% to Google+; and 2.3% of updates were sent to LinkedIn. (Buffer Social)
12. 59% of LinkedIn users don’t visit Twitter, 83% don’t use Pinterest and 13% don’t use Facebook. Which means that unless you’re capturing them on Facebook, LinkedIn users could be a completely untapped market for you. (Buffer Social)
Based on these four high-level bits of guidance based on a dozen social networking stats, here are three key takeaways for B2B marketing pros:
- Though email remains (for now) most consumers’ preferred channel for brand communications and customer service, don’t ignore social media (it’s on the rise). Use a social media monitoring tool to track brand mention and flag complaints before they become bigger issues.
- The increased use of influencer marketing is one of the top trends for 2018. Whether your approach involves paid influencers or organic outreach, be sure to have a strategy in place that accounts for the essential elements.
- Other than Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the most important social networks for B2B marketers, and are effective at driving web traffic. LinkedIn, as noted above, reaches professionals who are not active on other social platforms. Instagram is also worth experimenting with, though more for brand exposure than direct response or lead generation.
This was the seventh post of the Spectacular Springtime of (Digital Marketing) Stats series on Webbiquity and elsewhere.