The latest Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner shows that small and medium sized businesses continue to focus their social media marketing on Facebook, which is being used by 94% of those surveyed. Instagram has risen to become the second-most used platform in this survey, as about two-thirds report activity on the platform, up from 54% last year and 44% the year prior. Instagram leapfrogged Twitter - which declined for the second consecutive year (62%, down from 68% in 2017 and 76% in 2016) - and LinkedIn, which remained steady at 56% (and is favored by B2B marketers).

However, while Facebook also remains widely popular - about 2/3 of U.S. adults use the platform - it is losing ground with certain demographics, according to recent research from Pew. For U.S. teens, Facebook ranks fourth in popularity, lagging behind YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. Just two years ago, 71% of teens said they used Facebook; now only 51% say they do.

It is also significant to note that only about half of the marketers surveyed by Social Media Examiner feel that their Facebook marketing is effective. Even more say that they've seen declines in organic Facebook reach. The fact is that a default to Facebook is not necessarily a wise position for any marketer - particularly as the social media giant struggles to regain users' trust in the wake of its many privacy breaches.

For marketers targeting specific audiences via social, many options abound. Though having alternatives is appealing, finding the time and budget to tackle multiple social platforms is a challenge. So, it is essential to focus your efforts on the appropriate network to reach your desired demographic and to create the content that will capture their attention. Here's a quick look at how to reach certain demographics via social media.

If you are trying to reach:

A broad demographic, try YouTube. YouTube is the only social platform that gives Facebook a run for its market reach, with ¾ of U.S. adults saying that they use it. Significantly, 94% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 use the video sharing site so it can be particularly useful to capture the attention of this age group.

What to share: How-to videos, product explainers, and customer testimonials are a great go-to for brands. Informational or cause-based videos can be highly engaging. This can also be a terrific place to test influencer marketing by teaming up with an already-popular YouTuber for product placement or sponsored content.

Young adults, picture yourself on Snapchat or Instagram. Americans ages 18 to 24 are substantially more likely to use platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram when compared with those in their mid- to late-20s. These differences are especially notable when it comes to Snapchat: 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds are Snapchat users, but that share falls to 54% among those ages 25 to 29.

What to share: Of course, you need to focus on visual content on these platforms. Not every brand lends itself to shots of sunset on the beach, though. So, consider layering a quote over a stunning background. Other ideas include: product photos, insider shots of your team and events; customer images; data and statistics; and how-to image series delivered as stories. 

Women, Pinterest is a good idea. The social sharing site is substantially more popular with women (41% of whom say they use the site) than with men (16%). Pinterest users are evenly distributed economically, however. And if moms are particularly appealing to you, you'll be interested to learn that that 60% of Pinterest household have children age 5 and under. It is significant to note that Pinterest also attracts a larger mature audience than many social platforms.

What to share: Pinterest is another visually-oriented social site. However, Pinterest users are most often seeking inspiration and information about their interests, so a stunning photo is not enough to engage. Infographics are particularly effective on this platform. A vertical compilation of posts that demonstrate a DIY or craft project will be popular.

Hispanics, you need to get the message. The messaging service WhatsApp is widely used in Latin America. And this popularity also extends to Latinos in the United States: 49% of Hispanics report that they are WhatsApp users, compared with 14% of whites, and 21% of blacks.

What to share: Messenger apps provide a more intimate direct form of communication than traditional social networks or other forms of marketing, so you must prioritize the customer's wants and expectations. Marketers need to be creative and considerate when using messaging. Consumers will expect real-time feedback so, it is important to consider resources when initiating interaction. Consider using messaging to create buzz around a live event or for follow up after an existing or potential customer has engaged with your company. 

Shooting for the C-suite, look at LinkedIn. Unfortunately, 3/5ths of Fortune 500 CEOs do not have any public social media accounts in their own names. While a mere 7% are on Twitter, 36% of them have  public LinkedIn accounts.  Unsurprisingly, LinkedIn users tend to be educated with half possessing college degrees. They are also affluent with 45% of adults making over $75,000 using LinkedIn.

What to share: The natural choice for LinkedIn is news about your company or featuring your executives. However, this won't necessarily provide a steady flow of content. LinkedIn users value information about their industry and professions so curation is a great option to fill in the lulls between company-specific stories. Add commentary when you share to demonstrate expertise and encourage engagement.

For many marketers, Facebook has long been the default. However, social media is a continuously evolving space and it is important to monitor the trends. That said, most businesses don't have the resources to go all in on every platform. Understanding which platform reaches your desired demographic will help you maximize resources and the effectiveness of your social media marketing.

Published on: Jun 18, 2018