Introduction to Where is Your Audience Being Social
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
If you really start looking around online, you’ll quickly discover that there are hundreds of social media sites. You could immerse yourself in signing up for those sites starting today, and not come up for air for several weeks from now.
But you know what? Most of them are a waste of your time.
So instead of throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks, what you’re going to do is choose from the list of the top seven social media sites.
Here they are:
And how do you choose?
Simple: you use the profiling information developed in the last section with the site information you’re about to discover in this section. In other words, you determine where your market is most likely to be and which sites will deliver the best results for you, and then you’ll focus on those sites.
You see, here’s the thing…
Some sites may get a lot of traffic. Some sites may be appealing for other reasons. But all of that means diddly squat if your target market isn’t regularly engaged and visiting that particular site.
Is this a perfect method? No, because as Einstein said, not everything that counts can be counted. That means some platforms may be inherently better for you and your business model, even though the “countables” (the demographics) don’t quite say this. But this method gives you an excellent place to start.
So let’s take a closer look at each of the seven top social media sites. What we’re going to do is look at the following information for each site as it relates to your business:
- Number of users. This is going to give you an idea of how much traffic you might expect to get on a particular site (provided your target market is there).
- Demographics of users. Here you’ll learn a bit about the typical user, so you can compare this info against your prospect profile.
- What you need to know. This section will give you a brief overview of the site.
- Here we’ll rate each site in terms of your ability to build your brand awareness on the site.
- This is all about the ease of sending social media traffic back to your own site.
After that, you’ll discover some important points to remember as you set about the business of choosing the best social media platforms for your business.
So let’s start by looking at the platforms…
Facebook leads the pack in terms of popularity, with the following stats (which are taken straight from Facebook’s Company Info page):
Monthly active: 1.65 billion registered accounts
Daily active users: 1.09 billion
Mobile daily users: 989 million
Since Facebook is in the business of selling highly targeted ad space, you can easily find out how many people on Facebook match your audience profile. Just go to the ad manager (https://www.facebook.com/business/), and go through the motions of starting a campaign.
Here is some other data…
29.7% of Facebook users are age 25-34.
Daily active users from the US and Canada: 167 million.
Monthly active users from Asia: 300 million.
Approximately 84% of Facebook’s users are from outside the US.
50% of 18-24 year olds go on Facebook when they first wake up, and 91% of people in the 15-34 age category are on Facebook.
77% of females who are online use Facebook, while a smaller percentage of men (66%) who are online use Facebook.
Sources: Pew Research (PewInternet.org), Facebook.com’s “newsroom” page, and ZephoriaDigitalMarketing.com.)
What you need to know
This is the most popular site overall, with a lot of very engaged users. In fact, users average about 20 minutes on the site per day. Many people access Facebook with their mobile phones, which makes this is a great platform to use if you’re interested in mobile users. It’s also a good platform if you’re targeting millennials (those age 15-34).
Most any type of business can benefit from being on Facebook, but especially those who have a lot of novel content, cute (“awwww”) content, funny content, or anything that makes people go “wow.” Examples include pet-related businesses, anyone sharing novel DIY tips, those sharing interesting recipes, those selling books or music, those selling locally, entrepreneurs who’re into social causes, and similar.
Facebook lets you communicate and reach out to your users in multiple ways, including:
- Your Facebook Page. The downside of your Page is that Facebook only shows your content to a fraction of people who’ve liked your Page, and they only show your content to more users if a particular post gets traction (likes, shares and discussion). That means you need to focus on posting highly interactive or viral content in order to get a lot of views.
TIP: Facebook also gives you the option to “boost” a post, which means you pay to show it to ALL of your fans (as well as others). However, you can get just as many views by focusing on creating highly interactive or viral content.
- Facebook Groups. These are discussion platforms you can set up around any topic. You might consider setting up a group to complement your Page.
- Facebook gives you the opportunity to place paid advertisements that can be highly targeted by audience demographics, interests and even behaviors.
As with all social media sites, Facebook is designed to share content, which brings us to the next point…
Facebook provides an excellent platform for building brand recognition and awareness. Here’s why:
- You can build your brand among your followers as well as their friends. If you create viral or interactive content that’s branded, then your followers will like, comment on it, or share it, which in turn means their friends will see it too.
- You can post multiple types of content. This includes text, static graphics, animated graphics (.gif) and videos (including live videos if you’re using the Facebook app). This gives you plenty of opportunity to send out branded content.
The short answer: Overall, traffic is moderate. In other words, don’t expect a lot.
The longer answer…
Facebook does give you plenty of opportunity to send traffic back to your own site, including but not limited to:
- Sharing your web link in the “About” section of your Page.
- Directly sharing content links with your fans.
- Posting links embedded within your content (such as links within graphics or videos).
- Letting you create a tab on your Page with a newsletter sign up, offer or link.
However, when it comes to sharing content, our experience is that users tend to be willing to share content that’s already on Facebook.
So, for example, people will share a video that’s uploaded to Facebook, but they are less likely to share the link to a video that’s been uploaded to a different website.
Or they’ll share a tip you’ve posted, but they’re less likely to share it if it’s been uploaded to your website.
Possible reason? People may not like the extra “hoop” of clicking to another site. They’d rather have the content directly in front of them on Facebook.
The bottom line is that if you want to get traffic from Facebook, then you’re going to need to offer a really enticing lead magnet or offer. In other words, you need to give users a good reason to click through to your site.
Users: 1.3 billion
YouTube claims on their website to reach more 18-34 year olds and 18-49 year olds than any cable network on television.
80% of YouTube’s views are from outside the United States.
More than 50% of YouTube’s views come from mobile devices.
There is an approximately an even split of male and female users, although men spend 44% more time on the site than females.
What you need to know
As you can see by the demographics, YouTube is an excellent place to reach younger people, those on mobile phones, and a global audience. Over 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and users watch over 6 billion hours every month.
Point is, users are highly engaged. And that makes YouTube a great place for a wide variety of business owners, especially those with unique products or gadgets (since you can do product demos), trainers, coaches, and anyone who can provide instructional content to their market.
It’s also a good place to share industry news, make announcements and build awareness about social issues tied to your business.
YouTube is a very good place to increase branding awareness in your niche. That’s because you can create a “channel” on the site, and then brand every video you put out. You can even redirect viewers to watch your other videos.
This works for pretty much any sort of business. However, this works particularly well for businesses that are represented by a strong personality. In other words, if YOU are the face of the company and you’re not afraid to get in front of the camera, the YouTube is a good place to build brand awareness.
Of course you getting in front of the camera isn’t an absolute necessity. Another way to build brand awareness is to create a series on your channel.
One example is BlendTec, which makes premium blenders. They have the “Will It Blend?” series, where they put a variety of odd stuff (such as iPhones and credit cards). Not only does this series increase brand awareness and showcase the strength of the blenders, these videos have also gone viral. Which brings us to the next point…
The short answer:
This site provides a moderate benefit as far as getting traffic back to your site. However, if you’re doing SEO (search engine optimization), then being on YouTube can boost these efforts.
The longer answer…
One of the big advantages of YouTube is that any videos made “public” are readily accessible to everyone, even people who aren’t members of YouTube. These videos are also easily found in the search engines, especially Google (since YouTube is owned by Google), which means it is important for you to include relevant keywords in your video descriptions.
Secondly, YouTube is known for housing viral videos. People are very comfortable sharing YouTube links on social media, via email, and elsewhere. That’s why it’s a good idea to post your viral content on YouTube.
So that means the traffic coming to your actual video might be very large. But don’t expect a large number of these visitors to convert to click-throughs to your website, unless you’re offering something absolutely irresistible.
TIP: House “Part 2” of a popular video on your own blog so that interested parties need to visit your website to see the video.
Users: 320 million
Unique monthly visitors: 120 million
There are 65 million Twitter users in the United States.
Asia-Pacific regions account for about 30% of users.
38% of 15-34 year olds use Twitter.
24.6% of verified accounts belong to journalists.
25% of all male online users and 21% of all female online users use Twitter.
Sources: Pew Research (PewInternet.org), AdWeek.com, Statista.com, and Twitter’s own reported information.
What you need to know
Twitter is a micro-blogging site which is all about people sharing quick bits of information that are 140 characters or less. While you can certainly share pics, videos and links on the site, its focus remains on text posts.
As you can see by the demographics, this site is about sharing news quickly. If there is breaking news in your niche, get on Twitter and share it. If you’re making a company announcement, share it on Twitter.
You may even want to network the journalists who cover your niche, which could give you an “in” for coverage when you share news and press releases. If you position yourself as an expert, you might also be the one they call when they need to get quote from someone.
You may also find Twitter useful for networking with other like-minded business owners in your niche. In other words, it’s a good place to find potential joint venture partners.
Finally, bloggers, authors, and businesses related to news or media will get a lot of benefit by being a part of Twitter.
Twitter ranks as moderate to high usefulness in terms of branding. In particular, this is a good place to establish some authority in the niche, especially if you’re in a news-related industry. For example, if you’re a political blogger, then Twitter is a good place for you to be. As people re-tweet your posts, you naturally gain authority.
However, small businesses may find some branding benefits too. According to Twitter, 50% of the people who follow small businesses on Twitter have shopped on the business website. What’s more, 60% have purchased a product because of something they saw on Twitter.
Point is, you can establish a presence, build authority, and build trust, which will in turn help drive sales.
Twitter’s traffic potential depends on how you use it. For news and media types (such as bloggers), the traffic potential is high as people click through to read a full news story. For other types of businesses, you can expect low to moderate amounts of traffic.
As emphasize above, people come to Twitter to get news and share information quickly. That means if you’re rolling out an average promo for an average product, you’re unlikely to get much traffic from Twitter. People don’t come to Twitter wanting to see promos filling their feeds.
However, if you’re tweeting updates about late-breaking news in your niche – complete with a link to your blog for the whole story – then you can expect to get more traffic.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for traffic on Twitter, then your best bet is to get into the conversation about industry news early, and offer a unique spin on it if possible.
Users: 100 million
16% of all men who are online and 44% of all women who are online use Pinterest.
About 71% of Pinterest users are women, but men have started using it in growing numbers over the past couple years. According to Pinterest, the male-female split is even in countries such as India, Korea and Japan.
37% of people age 18-29 use the site, and 36% of people age 30-49 use the site.
75% of users access Pinterest on mobile phones, according to the company.
Sources: Pew Research (PewInternet.org), and Pinterest’s own reports.
What you need to know
Pinterest is primarily a graphics-driven site, where users “pin” graphics on boards that they’ve created. For example, someone might create a “chicken recipe” board, and then pin pics of recipes. Users then click on the links to get more info.
Pinterest is primarily used by women, so it’s a good platform if you have visually based information to share with women. For example, this site is a good platform for wedding planners (and associated businesses), anything dealing with home remodeling or design, cosmetics and hair, recipes, pets, and similar categories.
One benefit is that Pinterest lets you create group boards, which means you can team up with others in your niche to create boards.
For example, if you run a florist business, you might team up with a wedding gown seller to create a wedding-themed board. You can work together to build each other’s traffic, followers and even brand recognition.
This is a good site for branding, as you can brand all your images before pinning them. If you create novel or funny images, or you have good content behind those images (e.g., recipes or good offers), then you’ll get people re-pinning them. This helps increase brand awareness all throughout your niche.
This is a very good source for traffic, as most visitors are used to clicking a link to get the information behind a pin. For example, they’ll see an image of a delicious desert, and then they’ll need to follow the link to get the recipe.
The point is, it’s good for traffic IF the image is sufficiently enticing enough to get users to click through for more information. For example, just having a picture of a cute puppy probably won’t get clicks. But promising high-demand, high-value dog training information may get the click.
Users: 433 million
(About 25% log in monthly.)
128 million users are from the US, 35 million are from India, 25 million are from Brazil, 20 million are from China, 20 million are from the UK and millions more are across Europe, Canada and elsewhere. (Source: LinkedIn.)
26% of all men who are online and 25% of all women who are online use LinkedIn. (Source: Pew Research.)
22% of 18-29 year olds use LinkedIn, 30% of those ages 30-49 use it, and 26% of people who are 50-64 use it. (Source: Pew Research.)
About 40 million college students and recent college grads are on LinkedIn, and this is their fastest-growing demographic (according to LinkedIn’s About page).
Sources: LinkedIn’s About page and PewInternet.org.
What you need to know
LinkedIn is primarily for professionals, entrepreneurs, freelancers, authors, business-to-business professionals, business owners, and similar people who want to network to find better opportunities.
If you target any of these groups (e.g., you’re a freelancer providing professional services to business owners, or you sell B2B products), then this is a great group to use. It’s also a very good place to find potential joint venture partners to grow your business.
LinkedIn offers a moderate benefit as far as business branding. What it excels in is help you develop your authority in a niche. That’s because you can answer questions on LinkedIn (in the “Answers” section) and share content that positions you as an expert (in the “Groups” section).
TIP: If there isn’t a group in your niche or industry, you can start one. Just be sure to start the group around your industry or a specific topic, as opposed to starting a group focused on your company.
Basically, people are looking to build relationships on LinkedIn. If your business has a strong personality to represent the company—especially if that person is linked to the brand—then LinkedIn is a good choice.
The actual amount of traffic you can get through LinkedIn is low to moderate depending on your niche, but the quality is high. Here’s why:
- People are clicking through from your content via Answers and Groups. That means that they are probably already starting to see you as an authority, so they’re coming to your site interested in learning more.
- The people who are clicking may be “high value” visitors. For example, if you deal in business-to-business goods, you might have the actual decision makers coming to your site.
If you do a lot of instructional events such as webinars, then be sure to invite your network to these events. This is the sort of thing that’s likely to generate leads for you.
375 million users
27 million unique monthly visits
Google+ is growing at a rate of about 33% per year, even though it’s not actively promoted. (More on this in the next section.)
The interesting thing about Google+ is that Google basically forced people to sign up for it when they signed up for other Google services, such as YouTube, AdWords, Docs and so on.
In other words, a lot of people who signed up for the site weren’t intentionally doing so. That’s why there is such a gap between total registered accounts, and unique monthly visits.
Here’s what we know about Google+’s users:
55% of users are from the United States
18% of users are from India
(Brazil, the UK and Canada round at the top five percent of users, with single-digit percentages.)
Many of the people who use Google+ tend to have careers in technical fields, including engineers (29% of user), developers (17%), teachers (15%), designers (14%), software engineers (12%), and web developers (5%).
Sources: Google’s own reports and StatisticBrain.com.
What you need to know
The demographics tell you a lot about who should use this site and how you can benefit. Basically, if you have a predominately male audience, especially those in technical fields such as engineers, then Google+ is a good choice for your business.
Google+ is also a good choice if you are using other services such as Google search. That’s because Google’s search engine algorithm takes social media (and especially Google+) into consideration as a ranking signal.
What’s more, Google Local is now basically a part of Google+, so if you want your local business to be listed in Google (with maps, directions, hours, etc.), then you need to get your business on Google+.
Bottom line: Google+ is also a great choice for you if you have a brick and mortar business serving local customers, or if your business depends on SEO (search engine optimization).
Since Google+ for businesses works much the same way as Facebook Pages, this is a good way to brand your business, especially if your business strategy is based on building authority. What’s more, Google+ integrates with other Google services, which further helps to build brand awareness and recognition.
Traffic is low to moderate if you’re sharing content and trying to generate leads that way. You’ll get higher amounts of traffic if you do the following:
- Include keywords in your content.
- Build authority by sharing good content.
However, those with local businesses will improve their foot traffic and calls by setting up a complete profile for their business. So again, if you have a local business, then Google+ should be on your list of social media sites (even if you don’t necessarily cater to men or the tech fields).
Users: 400 million
Note: Instagram is based on a mobile phone app, so virtually all users are mobile users. Some visitors may come through on their fixed-internet connections, but those posting content will be mobile users.
75% of users are from outside the US, according to Instagram’s press page.
24% of all men who are online and 31% of all women who are online use Instagram.
55% of 18-29 year olds use Instagram, and 28% of 30-49 use it.
32% of teens consider it the most important social media network.
85% of top brands now use Instagram.
Sources: KPCB Internet Trends, Pew Research.
What you need to know
If you’re targeting young, mobile users with visually based content, then Instagram is a good choice for you. This site lets you take videos and photos, use filters to alter these images, and then upload them to your account. In turn, users can react to your images and videos, comment on them and even share them.
This site works best for those business owners who can share intriguing images and videos. In other words, this isn’t the place to post articles. Users want and expect visual content.
And because of the demographics, it’s also a good place for authors, entrepreneurs, activists, artists, and small business owners who want to raise awareness about a social issue.
This site is strong in terms of branding, because all of your content serves to build the visual identity of your business. In fact, at one time Forrester.com’s researchers found that posting something on Instagram provides 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter, and 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook.
While these numbers have fallen off somewhat, Instagram engagement is still high. (Source: forrester.com
TIP: Be sure your branding strategy is well thought out and in place before you use Instagram, as your Instagram account is going to be beneficial in building your brand. Basically, ask yourself this: how do you want prospects to view you?
Then share images and videos that reflect that view. Be sure to choose and use one filter for the majority of your posts, which you think best reflects your brand. Include hashtags when you post as well.
You can drive a low to moderate amount of traffic to your website using Instagram. However, you can also use Instagram to cross-post on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. So if you’re focusing on these other sites as well, don’t neglect this easy way to increase traffic and engagement across multiple sites.
Instagram also offers advertising, which is another way to get traffic to your site. However, you may find that the ad platform, just like the rest of Instagram, serves you better in terms of branding as opposed to direct traffic.
Important points to remember for ALL platforms
You just learned a bit about each of the main seven social media platforms, so now it’s time for you to choose which ones to focus on. Keep these three tips in mind to optimize your strategy…
Start with one or two platforms
You don’t want to spread yourself too thin, nor do you want to waste time building platforms on sites that really won’t produce good results for you. That’s why you need to focus on just one or two sites to start.
So pick your top two based on your customer profile and your business goals. For example, if you’re targeting young people and your main concern is branding, then Instagram is a good place to start.
Or if you’re targeting professionals for branding and networking purposes, then LinkedIn would be a great platform.
Once you’ve started building your presence on your top one or two sites, then you need to turn your attention to this next tip…
Track your results
Even though a particular social media site may look like a perfect fit for your audience and goals, that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily get great results. The only way to tell for sure is to track your results to see if you’re hitting your targets.
TIP: Some platforms have built-in analytics to help you determine what sort of results you’re getting. You’ll also want to use outside tools to see how your social media followers translates to traffic, subscribers and sales on your site. Check the resources section in this book for more information.
Here are five common problems, which you can uncover by testing and tracking:
- Your audience isn’t connecting with your posts. You’ll need to test different kinds of content in different formats. For example, test funny content, promos, articles and controversial content. Also, test different formats including infographics, videos, memes, text posts and so on.
- You’re over-posting or under-posting. Posting too much can turn people off if you’re filling their newsfeeds, especially if your content isn’t connecting with them. Posting too little lets people forget you and decreases brand awareness.
- You’re over-promoting or under-promoting. Promote too much, and people feel like all you do is advertise. But on the flip side, if you don’t offer a special discount or announce new products on social media, some people will wonder why they should even bother following you if there is no incentive.
- You’re not using strong calls to action. If you want people to do something specific when they see a post, then explicitly tell them to do it. (E.G., like it, share it, comment on it.)
- You’re posting on the wrong platform. Perhaps your audience isn’t engaged on this particular platform, and you’ll get better results by focusing on a different platform. If you’re getting lackluster results, you’ll want to experiment on other platforms as well.
Make it easy on yourself
When you look at some business accounts on social media, it looks like they put an incredible amount of work into it. It might even look like they’ve hired a dedicated social media person just to post content to a platform.
A big business with deep pockets and an owner who has never read this book might be doing exactly that. Who knows, they may have an entire team of sleep-deprived, caffeine-driven social media interns who post and interact all night and all day on these sites.
But the good news is that you can get a lot done without working around the clock. All you have to do is use the automation tools that you’ll find later in this book.
These tools make creating and posting content a snap. You can even post to multiple platforms with just one click of your mouse. So be sure to check out those tools in the resources section just a bit later on.
So at this point you know what your goals are, you know as much as you can about your audience, and you know which platforms are good fits for your audience and your goals.
You should now set up your accounts on your top one or two social media sites, being sure to fill out the profiles completely and post some content to kick things off.
Then keep reading, as you’re about to discover how to maximize your social media strategy…