What Can Each Major Platform Offer Your Social Media Marketing Campaign?

By Shiv Singh, Stephanie Diamond

Once you’ve looked at the factors that influence your choice of a social media marketing platform, you can consider the platforms themselves to determine which ones are a good fit. As of January 2014, the statistics are as follows:

  • Facebook: Facebook users are 53 percent women and more than 50 percent of users are between 18 and 34. The platform has 1.32 billion monthly active users. The largest demographic on Facebook is the 18–29 year old. Users outside the United States make up 81.7 percent of users. Forty-four percent of users on Facebook “like” content posted by their friends at least once a day. Users focus primarily on social interaction.

  • Twitter: There are 271 million monthly active users on Twitter as of July 2014, sending 500 million tweets per day. The gender breakdown on Twitter is roughly 50-50. Seventy-eight percent of the users are mobile, with 77 percent of the accounts being outside the U.S. They focus primarily on world events, television shows, and business-related topics.

  • LinkedIn: There are 313 million users of LinkedIn around the world and approximately 200 million monthly active users. Sixty-seven percent of the users are located outside the United States. Fifty-six percent of users are men; the largest demographic on LinkedIn is the 30–49 year olds. Thirteen percent of the users are between 15 and 34 years old. Users focus on jobs, marketing themselves, and selling services.

This gives you the broad strokes of the user demographics on these platforms. Next, you’ll want to dig deeper.

Using platforms as audience research tools

You can use several tools to analyze demographics. Here are two platforms not usually used to do market research — YouTube and Instagram. Mining these platforms can bring you unexpected findings:

  • Check out YouTube.

    If you have uploaded videos to YouTube, you can use YouTube Insight to get a variety of analytics. But what about looking at YouTube as a large research lab? By using the home page search function, you can drill down on an almost unlimited number of topics. By using the Sort By drop-down list, you can determine the following:

    • Relevance: This is the default search. It brings you the videos most closely associated with the topic you requested.

    • Upload Date: With this, you can see what’s most viewed right now as opposed to something older. You can find out what’s hot here.

    • View Count: This shows you the general interest in a topic. With the millions of people on YouTube, you can see what’s of interest to a big chunk of them.

    • Rating: This is an interesting measure. YouTube used to use five-star ratings but found them to be ineffective. Most people would rate everything either a 1 or a 5. This didn’t really give the viewer enough feedback. YouTube now relies on likes and dislikes, which gives you a quantitative measure.

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  • Peruse Instagram.

    When marketers look at Instagram, their first instinct is to think about how they can display something — their products, conference photos, or staff pictures. Next, they think about how many people have viewed the photos they’ve posted. Those are both useful but are by no means the only way to use Instagram.

    You have to be very careful how much you push your products, conference photos, and staff photos on a social media platform like Instagram that’s so consumer centric.

    You can also use it a research tool. For example, if you sell wedding invitations, you can use Instagram’s search capability to find wedding photos that may include invitations. The idea is to use it as your doorway into customer’s lives. Before the Internet, friends and neighbors would regale each other with stories, using slide carousels in their living rooms.

    Think of Instagram as a grand view into everyone’s living room. If you want to see what kind of shoes people are wearing when they travel or millions of other things, you’ll find that here. If you think creatively, you can get an enormous amount of information on Instagram.

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Getting niche-savvy

In addition to picking the right major social networking platforms for your business, you should investigate niche platforms your customers may frequent. The Top 100 Directory has a list of the top 350 niche social media sites. You’ll be amazed at the variety of sites you find there.

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See if you can find something directly related to your audience. The sites are categorized in the following way:

  • Books

  • Business Networking Professionals

  • Family

  • Friends

  • Hobbies and Interests

  • Media

  • Music

  • Mobile

  • Shopping

  • Students

  • Travel and Locals

For example, if you sell eco-friendly baby toys, you may want to check out CafeMom. It is listed in the Family category. Here, you can read about what types of toys moms are looking for and what they are currently buying. If you engage in a low-key, respectful way, you learn a lot without offending anyone. Any kind of “hype-y” sales pitch would not be appropriate here.

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