What is social media? Put simply, what once may have appeared to be a frivolous way to chat with friends is now a vital part of most businesses.
Yes, you want to concentrate on running your business but an understanding of the marketer’s social media realm – full of terms like algorithm, engagement rate and sentiment analysis – is an essential.
Social media platforms have revolutionized the way we communicate, interact, and consume information. These digital spaces have transformed the world into a global village, connecting individuals, businesses, and organizations across geographical boundaries. Each platform offers a unique set of features and functionalities, catering to specific user needs and interests.
Read on for our QUICK READ overview…
Table of Contents
What is Social Media?
And – more importantly – what does it mean for your business?
Social media may you think of websites and applications that allow you to communicate globally with friends and anyone online. But, crucially, it also means a way to speak to clients and potential clients directly.
It’s a place where someone can promote their business in interesting ways to expand their reach. After all, people don’t just ask friends, or simply look for a phone number for a business. They Google, they check their social media for recommendations, they look at reviews and they get a feel for how a business appears on social media AND how that business engages with customers.
Types of Social Media
There are many different kinds of social media. A few of the more well known ones are: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and LinkedIn. Then, there are some industry specific social media, like Goodreads for readers and writers, Catster and Dogster for pet oriented people and those who serve them, DevianTart for artists and art enthusiasts and many more. There are also different rules and functions for each social media platform, and each will have differing pros and cons for your business.
Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, boasts over 2.91 billion monthly active users. It serves as a central hub for connecting with friends and family, sharing personal updates, engaging with groups and communities, and discovering new interests.
- News Feed: A personalized stream of updates, posts, and content from friends, pages, and groups.
- Profiles: Personalized spaces for users to showcase their interests, experiences, and connections.
- Messaging: A private messaging system for direct one-on-one or group conversations.
- Groups: Communities based on common interests, hobbies, or causes.
- Pages: Public profiles for businesses, organizations, and public figures.
Facebook’s user base is diverse, spanning different age groups, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds. However, it is particularly popular among adults aged 25-54.
Facebook offers a wide range of advertising and marketing tools for businesses of all sizes. These tools allow businesses to target specific audiences, track campaign performance, and measure the impact of their social media marketing efforts.
Instagram, a visually-driven social media platform, has over 2 billion monthly active users. It focuses on sharing and consuming photo and video content, fostering creativity, and connecting with others through shared interests.
- Feed: A curated stream of photos and videos from followed accounts.
- Explore: A personalized discovery page for finding new content and accounts based on interests.
- Stories: Fleeting, ephemeral content that disappears after 24 hours.
- Reels: Short-form videos, similar to TikTok, for creative expression and entertainment.
- Live: Real-time video streaming for sharing experiences and events with followers.
Instagram is most popular among younger demographics, particularly women aged 18-34. It is also popular among individuals interested in fashion, travel, food, and lifestyle.
Instagram is an ideal platform for visually appealing content and influencer marketing. Businesses can use Instagram to share high-quality photos and videos, partner with influencers to reach a wider audience, and run targeted ads.
Twitter, a microblogging platform, has over 330 million monthly active users. It serves as a real-time news and information hub, facilitating conversations, sharing opinions, and connecting with diverse perspectives.
- Timeline: A stream of tweets, short text-based messages, from followed accounts.
- Hashtags: Keywords or phrases preceded by a “#” to categorize and discover content.
- Retweets: Sharing tweets from other users to amplify their reach and visibility.
- Direct Messages: Private text-based messaging for direct one-on-one conversations.
- Trends: Real-time topics and discussions trending on the platform.
Twitter is popular among news enthusiasts, opinion leaders, and individuals interested in current events and social commentary. It is also used by businesses and organizations to share news updates and engage with their audience.
Twitter is an effective tool for real-time marketing and customer engagement. Businesses can use Twitter to share news updates, participate in industry conversations, and provide customer support.
LinkedIn, a professional networking platform, has over 830 million members. It focuses on connecting professionals, building careers, and fostering business opportunities.
- Profiles: Professional profiles showcasing career achievements, skills, and experiences.
- Connections: Building a network of professional contacts for collaboration and opportunities.
- Groups: Joining industry-specific or interest-based groups for discussions and networking.
- Jobs: Finding and applying for relevant job opportunities.
- Company Pages: Discovering information about companies and their culture.
LinkedIn is primarily used by professionals, such as business executives, entrepreneurs, recruiters, and job seekers. It is also popular among students and recent graduates.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for business-to-business (B2B) marketing. Businesses can use LinkedIn to build brand awareness, generate leads, and nurture relationships with potential customers.
YouTube, a video-sharing platform, has over 2.5 billion monthly active users. It serves as a vast repository of user-generated and professional video content, catering to diverse interests and educational needs.
- Search: Finding videos based on keywords, categories, and channels.
- Subscriptions: Follow the channels to receive updates and new content notifications.
- Playlists: Organizing and curating videos based on themes or interests.
- Comments: Engaging in conversations and discussions with other viewers.
- Community: Joining channel communities for exclusive content, discussions, and perks.
These social media platforms, each with their unique strengths and capabilities, have transformed the way we communicate, consume information, and connect with the world around us. They have empowered individuals, businesses, and organizations to share their voices, build communities, and create a global conversation.
Social Media and Your Business
Social Media expert Sherri Goodall says “Social Media is Marketing 2.0….it’s also a fun and unique way of staying in touch with people”. She further explains that, different kinds of social media appeal to different people and have different ways of communicating. For social networking there’s the very chatty, journal style of Facebook, it’s a diary of pictures and lengthy journal entries.
For those that like smaller notes that are quick and pithy, there’s the microblogging of Twitter and Tumbler. Photo sharing rules on the Snapchat, and Instagram platforms. Pinterest is a morph between pictures and how to information. For video sharing there’s YouTube, Periscope, Vimeo, and Facebook Live. And many of the social media mesh together, for example: an Instagram hashtag # can appear on Facebook.
Types of Social Media and Is WhatsApp Social Media?
Brought to you by the people at Facebook, Whatsapp is (relatively speaking) a newer kid on the block in messaging.
It’s a freeware and cross-platform messaging and Voice over IP (VoIP) service.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp Business is free to download and, created for the small business owner, allows you interact with customers easily by using tools to automate, sort, and quickly respond to messages.
latest social media usage statistics globally and by platform:
Global Social Media Usage Statistics
- As of October 2023, there are 4.95 billion social media users worldwide, representing 61.4% of the total global population.
- The number of social media users is expected to reach 5.8 billion by 2027.
- Asia has the largest number of social media users, with 3.5 billion, followed by Africa with 729 million, Latin America with 446 million, North America with 388 million, and Europe with 351 million.
- The average social media user spends 2 hours and 27 minutes per day on social media platforms.
- The most popular social media platforms are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, and WeChat.
Social Media Usage Statistics by Platform
- Facebook has 2.91 billion monthly active users.
- The average Facebook user spends 58 minutes per day on the platform.
- Facebook is most popular among adults aged 25-54.
- YouTube has 2.5 billion monthly active users.
- The average YouTube user spends 11 minutes and 24 seconds per day on the platform.
- YouTube is most popular among teenagers and young adults.
- WhatsApp has 2 billion monthly active users.
- WhatsApp is most popular in emerging markets, particularly in Latin America and Africa.
- The average WhatsApp user sends and receives 100 messages per day.
- Instagram has 2 billion monthly active users.
- The average Instagram user spends 1 hour and 15 minutes per day on the platform.
- Instagram is most popular among women aged 18-34.
- WeChat has 1.327 billion monthly active users.
- WeChat is most popular in China.
- WeChat is an all-in-one platform that combines messaging, social networking, and mobile payments.
Additional Social Media Usage Statistics
- 90% of social media users access social media on their mobile devices.
- 56% of social media users use social media to stay up-to-date on current events.
- 73% of social media users use social media to connect with friends and family.
- 54% of social media users use social media to research products and services.
- 42% of social media users use social media to follow brands and businesses.
These statistics highlight the growing popularity of social media and its impact on communication, consumption, and connection around the world. As social media platforms continue to evolve, they will play an increasingly significant role in our daily lives.
Table comparing the top social media platforms on audience demographics, features, and advertising options:
|Platform||Audience Demographics||Key Features||Advertising Options|
|Diverse, with a strong presence among adults aged 25-54||News Feed, Profiles, Messaging, Groups, Pages||Wide range of ad formats, including targeted ads, sponsored posts, and video ads|
|Younger demographics, particularly women aged 18-34||Feed, Explore, Stories, Reels, Live||Visually appealing ads, including photo ads, video ads, and Instagram Stories ads|
|Professionals, such as business executives, entrepreneurs, recruiters, and job seekers||Profiles, Connections, Groups, Jobs, Company Pages||Targeted ads based on job title, industry, and company size|
|News enthusiasts, opinion leaders, and individuals interested in current events and social commentary||Timeline, Hashtags, Retweets, Direct Messages, Trends||Real-time ads, including promoted tweets and promoted accounts|
|YouTube||Diverse, with a strong presence among teenagers and young adults||Search, Subscriptions, Playlists, Comments,|
What Does a Social Media Marketer Do?
Shannon Hinderberger, a social media marketer for a number drinks companies, explains: “A social media marketer maps out online marketing and executes and manages communities”
Often it’s through day-to-day activities to reach target market by creating curating and managing all published content on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram and Pinterest.”
Like any good member of a team, a social media marketer has become an integral part of doing business.
Just as you might hire an accountant to take care of the book keeping and financial records, and a secretary or virtual assistant to take care of the daily correspondence and communication, a social media marketer handles the marketing strategy, message and measuring on a variety of platforms.
What is a Social Media Influencer?
A Social Media Influencer is a user on social media who has established trustworthiness and authority in a particular industry.
The influencer has access to a broad audience and can convince others via reach to by products and services.
What are the Advantages of Social Media
The advantages of using social media are numerous: – It gives you brand awareness in the marketplace, where people can experience your message in a style that defines your company. – By exposing you to more than just your usual clients, it creates a greater flow of inbound traffic to your website and your business.
With more inbound traffic your search engine ranking may go up and that all too precious spot on the first page in a search engine is far more secure, especially when someone looks for your kind of business in your local area. – It creates brand loyalty in a time in the economy when people are significantly brand loyal. – Social media creates brand authority, by regular communication, clients see you as the authority in your industry. – Higher conversion rates also become part of the equation of social media, as someone gains trust in you, they see you as the business to choose.
What is Social Media? Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about social media:
Which social media platform is best for me?
The best social media platform for you depends on your specific needs and interests. Consider your target audience, content preferences, and desired outcomes when selecting a platform.
How can I use social media effectively?
Effective social media usage involves creating engaging content, interacting with your audience, and analyzing your performance to refine your strategy.
What are the potential risks of using social media?
Social media platforms can pose risks related to privacy, security, and misinformation. Be mindful of what you share, protect your personal information, and evaluate the credibility of sources.
What are the top social media platforms today?
The major social networking sites today in terms popularity are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Reddit.
What types of content works best on social media?
Visually engaging and interactive types of content – like videos, live streams, Stories, graphics, polls and Q&As – capture more attention and engagement than plain text status updates.
How often should I post on social media?
Most B2C marketers recommend posting at least 1X daily on Facebook/Instagram, 1-3X daily for Twitter, 2X weekly on YouTube/LinkedIn and 2-3X weekly on TikTok for organic content. But focus on quality over quantity too.
How do I demonstrate ROI from social media?
Platform analytics insights into followers growth, engagement rates, click-through-rates on posts, cost per lead/sale metrics for paid ads and trackable sales conversions provide the means to measure overall social media ROI.
What is Social Media? Summary: Your Next Step?
The social media landscape is constantly evolving, offering a dynamic environment for communication, connection, and information sharing. Understanding the unique strengths and capabilities of each platform is essential for navigating this digital realm effectively.
Whether you seek personal connection, professional growth, or simply a window into the world around you, when used wisely, social media platforms can provide valuable tools for engagement, learning, and entertainment. Embrace the possibilities, explore the platforms, and discover how social media can enrich your digital experience.
A digital marketing specialist can advise on the best platforms for your business, depending on the purpose and target audience, as well as apply the very latest working knowledge of any changes in the industry (such as updates to a platform’s ‘algorithm’ affecting which content is shown to users). They’ll help with ‘engagement rate’ (the number of people who respond to your message) and even understanding ‘sentiment analysis’ (ie, how your brand is seen online). Good luck!
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