Not sure which social media platform is best suited to your business and the audience you want to reach? Here’s what you need to know.
Most business owners understand that social media is an important part of their marketing strategy, for targeting new leads and ensuring customer retention.
Yet for many, maintaining a social media presence is a bit like doing the laundry. It’s time consuming, never ending, and every so often there’s an item you have no idea how to wash so you just stick it in the machine and hope for the best.
With so many social media platforms operating, each with their own ever-changing algorithm and demographics, the pressure to post regular great content can be overwhelming.
However, savvy marketers will tell you that successful social media strategies aren’t so much about quantity – it’s about using a few and knowing how to maximise their impact.
Not sure which social media platform is best suited to your business and the audience you want to reach? Here’s a rundown of what you need to know.
Having a social media presence on Facebook is like having a stall at the busiest marketplace in the world – but bigger.
Currently, Facebook has 2.91 billion monthly active users, which is why it is considered essential for all the major international brands.
But did you know that 74.7 per cent of the entire Australian population is on Facebook? If you’re selling to a local audience, that statistic should make you sit up and pay attention.
Facebook has a slightly smaller male audience than female – 45.3 per cent male, to 54.7 per cent female.
While Facebook has the reputation for being an older person’s social media platform, the largest age cohort in Australian users is actually aged 25-34.
Facebook users are also cashed-up, with an estimated 75 per cent of Australian high earners using the platform.
While these figures may have you rushing off to set up a Facebook account, it’s worth remembering that every business has had the same idea. It’s a saturated marketplace and it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.
The last couple of years has seen a sharp decline in the use of Twitter, attributed largely to misinformation around the USA election, the COVID-19 virus, as well as vaccinations.
While the platform had about 313 million users worldwide in 2016, by 2021 it sat at 217 million.
This isn’t to say that Twitter is a dying social media platform, it just means the users are more targeted and brands need to engage in a more nuanced way.
The largest age cohort using Twitter is 25 to 34 years old (38.5 per cent), with 70.4 per cent male and only 29.6 per cent female.
As a social media platform, Twitter’s greatest strength and its greatest challenge is its conversation-based structure. It allows brands to deeply connect with customers in real time, on topics that are trending right now.
It also means that the account needs to be monitored around the clock, with someone responding to comments and posting about events quickly, making it more labour intensive than other social media platforms.
Humans are visual beasts – images have a greater and more lasting impact than words on a web page.
For brands that have a visual or aspirational offering, an image or short video on Instagram can be really powerful.
According to search engine marketing firm Semrush, Instagram has an eye-watering 2.9 billion total visits per month, making it the seventh most-visited website in the world.
It’s constantly growing its popularity by rolling out new features, including those which encourage collaboration and enable website click-throughs.
Instagram is the fourth most popular social media platform, sitting behind Facebook, Youtube and WhatsApp.
Instagram’s biggest age group is broader than its competitors, with 18 to 34 year olds making up the biggest group. They’re predominantly female city-dwellers, with medium to high incomes.
LinkedIn is a niche social media platform, targeted at career professionals. It has about 830 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
Slightly more men than women use LinkedIn, with about 57 per cent identifying as men, and 43 per cent as women.
Most users of LinkedIn are in the early stages of their careers, with almost 60 per cent aged between 25 and 34 years old. That’s something to consider when thinking about the audience you want to target.
It’s like an old-school pin board or storyboard except it’s online, and Pinterest is loved for its ability to allow users to develop ideas using visual aids ‘pinned’ to boards.
Popular categories include fashion, food and homewares, and it’s the one social media platform that is predominantly favoured by women – 77.1 per cent of users are female.
The Pinterest demographic is spread pretty evenly across the ages: 32 per cent are aged 18-29, 35 per cent are aged 30-49, and 38 per cent are aged 50-64.
If your brand is highly visual and you’d like to target a predominantly female audience that lives in urban and suburban areas, then Pinterest may be a good fit for your brand.
Video is huge in the marketing world right now. This is due to users showing a preference for video content over words on a website, as well as video being rewarded by social media and search engines.
YouTube is the pioneer video sharing platform and remains the leader in video content by regularly introducing new features such as Shorts, Live streaming, Chapters, Premieres and Community Tab.
According to Statista 2022, more than 2.6 billion people around the world use YouTube at least once a month, and the social media platform is actually the world’s second largest search engine, behind Google.
The majority of YouTube users are aged 15-35 and the male-female ratio of YouTube viewers is 11:9.
It started off as a fun little app that let kids play around with doggy-face filters, but since it launched in 2011, Snapchat has become one of the world’s most popular social media platforms.
Snapchat has 319 million daily users worldwide, with females making up 54.4 per cent.
It’s no secret that Snapchat is a young person’s social media platform. Users aged 15-25 make up 48 per cent of users; those aged 26-35 make up 30 per cent of users; people aged 36-45 form 18 per cent; while those aged 56 and older make up just five per cent of the platform’s users.
A couple of things worth noting about Snapchat: according to the company, most of its use happens when people are going somewhere, such as on their daily commute, and that a large number of users say they engage with the platform when they are with friends.
The newest kid on the block, TikTok allows people to make and share video content.
In 2021, TikTok announced that there were one billion users worldwide, and about 43 per cent of them are aged 18-24. About 57 per cent of TikTok users are female.
TikTok’s strength is increasingly revealing to be its shareability. For example, Jennifer Lopez recently posted the same video on Twitter and TikTok. The video on Twitter got 2 million views from 45 million followers, while the video on TikTok got 71 million views from 5 million followers.
What’s the best social media platform for your business?
With so many social media platforms available, each with their own demographic and each requiring particular content, your social media strategy needs to be created by a professional who understands each platform, how they work together, and where and how social media fits into your marketing mix.
Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne and are specialists in social media marketing.
To find out how we can help your business with social media, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.
It’s a very serious and scientific-sounding word for an emerging kind of marketing that is actually very cool and effective: micro-content.
Micro-content refers to short, powerful bursts of marketing matter, usually associated with social media.
The rise of micro-content has been largely in response to a dramatic shift in people reading content on their mobile phones and hand-held devices. If you catch public transport into work and spend that time on your mobile, then you see it every day.
Reading large chunks of text on a phone can be physically uncomfortable and challenging, and often people will move on rather than attempt it. Short, sharp messages, on the other hand, can be easily and rapidly consumed.
There’s been a lot said and a lot written about the declining attention span of consumers (apparently, we can thank social media, and increasingly short space between ads on TV for that), and micro-content works to leverage that.
For the most part, micro-content is essentially marketing content integrated into social media. It’s a meme on Facebook; a 140-character tweet on Twitter; it’s an image and caption on Instagram.
But if you think micro-content is simply placing ads for your product on social media, think again.
Micro-content marketing is about creating ways to keep your brand in front of your prospects and customers, by building trust, credibility and authenticity, and creating paths for new customers to your business.
Horoscopes and sports scores are common ways brands ‘give’ to their social media followers something considered to be of value, which is also able to be delivered in a couple of sentences. Weather updates is another form. Being aware of the power of images, some companies even offer a ‘cartoon of the day’ or ‘photo of the day’ as micro-content.
How can you incorporate micro-content in your marketing mix?
A great micro-content marketing strategy requires four key elements:
- It must be responsive to news and everyday events, while staying true to the marketing strategy
- It must make the best use of the particular platform it is shared on. For example, tweets with images are more than twice likely to engage the user than those without
- The content must be constantly tested and refined
- Content must be ‘stackable’. With so many media options available, it’s not unusual for a person to be engaged with more than one at a time. Micro-content should work in synergy with other platforms to create a seamless journey and on-point message.
It’s important that you don’t mistake micro-content for clickbait, which many users find off-putting. A post must deliver something of value that is relevant to the user. Some marketers even believe not every post should have a call to action.
One of the great advantages of micro-content marketing is the ability to produce advance batches of content.
It’s important, though, that once scheduled, content is not forgotten. You don’t want to tweet a message that is wildly inappropriate or offensive given the day’s news or events.
Just as a combination of print media, TV and radio ads, and digital campaigns are beneficial for an effective marketing mix, micro-content may be as worthy of a place in your strategy.
Examples of micro-content
Instagram is the perfect platform for micro-blogging, allowing for both short and longer form posts.
In Coburg’s popular Sydney Road, @wildtimorcoffee is a cafe with a story of heart. It was founded in 2012 by four Australian peacekeepers who formed a bond with young Timorese local, Jack. Jack and his family worked tirelessly harvesting coffee but found the crops were often unsuitable – too wet, too dry or not processed properly. With a drive to help the struggling Timorese family, the Australian peacekeepers sent a sample of the coffee beans to a friend at home who worked in the coffee industry and discovered they were of great quality. It was then that they realised the Timorese family were being exploited. The peacemakers decided to step in and help – they could harvest coffee beans from East Timor locals and reward their hard work, while making a living for themselves in Australia. The peacemakers returned home and set up shop in Coburg, thanks to an aid program established by @morelandcouncil. The cafe now sources coffee beans from several East Timor families and often hold fundraising programs to help those in need. The cafe has become renowned for its delicious coffee and its willingness to help others. Visit Wild Timor at 282 Sydney Rd, Coburg.
Facebook supports native video (especially with the upcoming Facebook Watch), making it perfect for short video content, such as the tailored Tasty videos from Buzzfeed:
This lasagna party ring is a whole new way to eat lasagna ????! Plus all your friends will be so impressed <3!FULL RECIPE: http://bzfd.it/2ib9I4PBUY THE TASTY ONE TOP: http://bit.ly/2vLAdTu
Posted by Tasty on Friday, August 18, 2017
Facebook is taking a stand against fake news stories and hoaxes shared on the social media platform.
The move comes in response to the 2016 US election, after many claimed fake news stories spread on social media unethically influenced the result.
While Facebook is largely a social tool, the majority of people get their daily headlines over a quick scan of the news feed – and it is easy to click ‘share’ without checking any of the facts.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement about flagging fake news made a clear distinction between hoaxes and content that “gets the basic idea right but some details wrong or omitted”.
“An even greater volume of stories express an opinion that many will disagree with and flag as incorrect even when factual… I believe we must be extremely cautious about becoming arbiters of truth ourselves,” his statement read.
While it’s a complicated issue, some of the moves introduced include methods to report a hoax if you suspect one in a story you see on Facebook.
One of the more crucial moves the social media giant is making is introducing third-party fact checking tools for disputed stories.
If the fact-checking organisation identifies the story as fake, Facebook will then flag the story as ‘disputed’.
While it will still be possible to share these stories, they will carry a red flag and can neither be promoted nor made into an advertisement.
Facebook is also testing and researching ways to prevent fake news stories from being shared on the social platform by tracking spoof sites and analysing publisher sites.
On Facebook, fake news will also be made less visible in news feeds and disrupt the financial incentives of fake news spreaders.
The importance of fact checking in the face of the US election has filtered down to journalism courses and major news organisations in Australia.
Australia’s public broadcaster ABC and Melbourne-based university RMIT are relaunching their Fact Check Unit, which will hold public figures such as politicians to account with online updates including Fact Checks, Fact Files and a Promise Tracker.
The Fact Check Unit was shut down in 2016 due to Federal Government budget cuts, but relaunches this month.
Dean of RMIT’s School of Media and Communication, Martyn Hook, said the Fact Check Unit aimed to reduce the levels of deception and confusion around public policy issues and debates.
“In a time of ‘post-truth’, ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’, it is ever more critical to hold public figures to account and ensure that public discourse — the basis of democracy — is based in fact,” Prof Hook said.
When was the last time you watched a video on social media in complete silence?
It was probably this morning when you woke up and scrolled through your Facebook or Instagram feed on your phone, stumbled upon a video and wanted to watch it without making any noise. Or perhaps it was during your commute to or from work – again, you watched on in silence so not to disturb fellow passengers or draw attention from them.
Whatever the circumstance, silent video is on the rise.
Is this growing trend due to the autoplay feature on Facebook and Instagram, and the ability to mute sound on Snapchat videos, or a user preference? Perhaps a mix of all of the above.
Speaking at the 2016 Interactive Minds Digital Summit in Melbourne, Director of Audience Development at TechCrunch, Travis Bernard, said few users turned on the sound when watching videos.
“As much as 85 per cent of videos on Facebook are watched without sound,” he said.
And you may have noticed that brands are jumping on the bandwagon and finding new ways to deliver video content that conforms to this silent trend.
More and more videos on Facebook now include explanatory captions or subtitles as a way to captivate users quickly, even in a silent environment.
Mr Bernard said TechCrunch had adopted this approach and that captions were key to their video strategy.
As mobile, social media and video content continues to increase, it’s no wonder users are gravitating toward the autoplay feature. It makes it easier to absorb video content as a user scrolls through their social media feed because when the sound is muted, the disruption is minimal.
But this is not to say that you should ignore sound in video altogether – some platforms, such as YouTube, play videos with sound by default. Rather, pay attention to the platform and tailor your video content to suit the way users prefer to consume it.
Why silent video should be part of your marketing mix
When you create video content specific to the platform, your efforts will be rewarded because you’re putting your audience first. For Facebook, users don’t have to turn on the volume to enjoy videos and a constraint of the platform is that videos autoplay silently in the news feed.
To make the experience engaging for Facebook users, consider tailoring your video to perform well on this platform – upload it directly to Facebook rather than sharing the same video from YouTube, use striking visuals and include descriptive text or subtitles. Think of tailoring your video content to suit Facebook’s user trends as one part of your social media strategy.
As marketers, it’s vital to pay attention to consumer behaviour and work within the limitations of specific marketing channels or, in this case, social media platforms. There’s no denying that consumer behaviour drives marketing so as user attention shifts, so too should your approach to content creation.
Since its inception, Facebook users have changed their behaviour a great deal – from simple text updates, to a strong focus on imagery and now silent video dominating the platform.
What will come next? Only time will tell. But, for now, it seems silence is golden.
“See the moments you care about first” – that’s Instagram’s value proposition regarding its new algorithm update. But how will it hold up and what will it mean for users and marketers?
Since the social media platform launched in 2010, Instagram has seen continual growth in its user base, which now stands at 400 million worldwide, of which five million are Australian (SocialMediaNews, 2015). Although this rapid growth in users has seen Instagram jump to the eighth most popular social network, its popularity has also presented a problem.
In 2014, the average Instagram user followed approximately 250 accounts, whereas that number has now doubled to 500 accounts. This means that, back in 2014, Instagram users would see about 75% of organic posts by the accounts they followed. As the number of followed accounts increased, the percentage of content that users were seeing began to drop to about 50% by 2015. This meant users were potentially missing out on content that mattered to them most, so something had to be done.
“If your brand can successfully play in these spaces you’ll continue to win with this algorithm update because it will favour more of what users like”.
Following in the footsteps of Facebook
In order for a social media platform to maintain its user base and drive engagement it needs to ensure it delivers a high quality user experience. This means tailoring the experience to each individual so they’re served content that’s most relevant to them, and that’s exactly what Facebook did.
In 2009, Facebook launched its first newsfeed algorithm, EdgeRank, in order to combat low quality content such as click-bait articles that were saturating Facebook users’ newsfeeds. The algorithm incorporated three main factors for serving content:
- Affinity – the relevance between the user and the content creator
- Weight – the weight of the content
- Decay – how long ago the content was created.
However, in 2011 the algorithm was scrapped because the factors it used to sort content were not complex enough to handle the rapid growth of the platform. In 2013, Facebook introduced a more complex algorithm that doesn’t have an official catchy name but is still often referred to as EdgeRank. This new system uses a machine-learning algorithm to serve content to people’s newsfeeds based on content they’re more likely to engage with. The algorithm is still used today and is one of the primary reasons Facebook is still the most used social media platform. Based on Instagram’s latest announcement, it will adopt a similar algorithm to Facebook to remain relevant to its users.
What Instagram’s algorithm means for users
Instagram currently uses a chronological system for sorting posts on user’s feeds. The new algorithm will instead use a more complex system, similar to Facebook, where the posts that appear in feeds will be based on the likelihood of the user being interested in it, the relationship the user has with the content creator (person or brand) and the timeliness of the post. Instagram gave the following example in their blog:
“If your favourite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in”.
This won’t all happen straight away. The algorithm will be rolled out in a drip-feed manner to all users, with Instagram stating that they will be actively monitoring user feedback.
What Instagram’s algorithm means for marketers
Marketers who use Instagram will notice that certain industries or interests perform exceptionally well such as fashion, food and fitness. Jill Sherman, Senior Vice President of social media strategy at DigitasLBi, said: “If your brand can successfully play in these spaces you’ll continue to win with this algorithm update because it will favour more of what users like”.
If these topics or interests don’t relate to your customers or your brand, don’t fret. As long as you create quality content that your users engage with, your reach and engagement will be unscathed. That said, there’s no guarantee Instagram won’t go down the Facebook route of being a pay-to-play space. Marketers will need to be prepared that it may turn into an advertising-focused platform in the future. This shouldn’t scare marketers off though – those willing to pay to create quality content should be willing to spend a little extra to promote it.
All that’s left to do now is wait for Instagram to implement its algorithm, monitor the changes and repurpose social media strategies and tactics to move in line with the requirements of the algorithm. Those owning the social media space with great content should stay the course, fine-tune tactics and reach their audiences without a hassle.