social media

Product Marketing Executive

Is your business using social media as part of your online marketing plan?

If you’re like more entrepreneurs, you find social media a valuable way to promote your business, attract new customers and raise your profile online. (Plus, it can be a lot of fun.)

With so many changes going on in the world of social media every day, it’s important to keep current on how your customers and prospects are using social media.

Social media use is on the rise

A recent study by Flint found that – unsurprisingly – Facebook is dominating the UK social media sphere, with Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram ranking as the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 6th most used networks. And while Facebook’s user growth has plateaued since 2016, Instagram and WhatsApp have enjoyed a steady increase of 12% and 10% respectively – with the former showing no signs of slowing down.

The same study ranked YouTube as the second most-used social media channel in the UK, with 79% of adults using the platform and 26% of them using the channel ‘several times a day’. Twitter claimed fifth place with 47% usage.

Facebook has by far the largest user base, with over 30 million people (that’s around half the UK population) actively using the site, and 45% using it ‘several times a day’. Flint reports that a higher percentage of the UK’s online females use Facebook compared to males (84% vs 73%) and it’s slightly more popular in urban areas than rural (80% vs 75%).

Globally, Instagram’s monthly users soared to 700 million in 2017 – around a 200m increase year on year. Exact UK usage is unclear – Napoleancat reported 17.2 million monthly users in early 2017, while eMarketer estimated 16.7 million in the summer.

What is clear is the channel’s skew towards a younger audience: 18-34 year olds account for 61% of the user base, with over 81% of online adults within the age group using the platform. A study by UKOM also found that nearly half of the time spent on Instagram each month was by 18-24 year olds.

Twitter is pretty cagey about their usage figures. The last official number we had from them was way back in 2013, when they claimed that the site had 15 million UK users. However, at the end of last year Twitter admitted it had been overestimating its monthly active users since 2014 – throwing that initial figure into doubt.

The latest estimate from eMarketer suggests that Twitter now only has 12.6 million UK-based users – indicating a significant drop. It’s not all bad news though; the user base is predicted to grow slightly over the next few years, with a long-term forecast of 13.2 million users by 2021.

Back in 2016, LinkedIn claimed to have over 20 million users in the UK – around 33% of the online* population. And while they haven’t released any UK stats since, the platform hit half a billion global users in April 2017, with the UK ranked as the fourth most connected country in the world. London also tops the list of the most connected places, with users based in the city averaging 307 connections.

All in all, the average adult uses three out of the eight social media sites — and uses them frequently. Some 74% of Facebook users check it every day (and 51% check it several times a day). Daily use of social media is also a habit for 63% of Snapchat users, 60% of Instagram users, 46% of Twitter users and 45% of YouTube users.

Key takeaways for your online marketing strategy

–> Social media is here to stay, at least for now. Even though 59% of survey respondents claim they wouldn’t have any trouble giving up social media, the frequency with which they use it makes that hard to believe. The younger respondents are, the more likely they are to say it would be hard to give up social media — so especially if your target customers are young, it’s important to maintain a strong social media presence for your business.

–> Choose the right social channels. Not every demographic is on every social media platform; for example, there are very few men on Pinterest and very few seniors on Twitter. Find out what social media channels your target customers prefer (maybe you could survey them) and focus on those.

–> Think video. Who knew YouTube was quite that popular? Depending on whether it fits your target market, consider adding some videos to your online marketing mix. You can post them on your business website and other social media channels as well as YouTube to get more bang for your buck.

–> Make social media part of an overall lead generation plan. Social media is just one way to drive prospects to your business website and ultimately to your door.