Every day there’s something new on social media.
Recently, Twitter introduced Twitter Blue, a premium subscription-based version of its platform.
TikTok took the social media world by storm back in 2020 and still remains the most downloaded app of 2021, according to Social Media Today. Instagram is regularly adding new features to its platform, recently testing a new affiliate tool for influencers.
The question is, how are these changes impacting how consumers behave online? Are users moving away from Facebook?
Let’s see what the data says and what it means for brands.
We surveyed 301 people and asked, "Which social media platform do you spend the most time on each week?" The response was kind of surprising.
Despite YouTube’s steady growth over the past year and the rise of TikTok and Clubhouse, Facebook remains the top social media platform. YouTube follows, with the gap between the platform and Facebook much smaller in larger surveys.
So, what does this information really mean?
Well, in a broad sense, it means you should consider having a presence on these platforms. However, don’t delete your Instagram account just yet – better yet, don’t delete it at all.
I’ll explain why in the next section.
Should brands limit their efforts to the most popular platforms?
There’s no single, clear-cut answer to this... but typically, no.
While most consumers may spend most of their time on Facebook and YouTube, that doesn’t mean you should dedicate all your efforts entirely to those platforms.
Why? That may not be where your audience lives.
Generality is the enemy of marketing. Imagine running a social media ad that targets everyone. Or having a target audience comprising all of Gen Z.
This sort of one-size-fits-all isn’t conducive to your brand’s growth. In fact, it is likely keeping you from making progress, as you waste time and resources on broad strategies that may not work for your specific market.
It’s like going to a party and only getting an address for the neighborhood. Sure, you could drive around and knock on every door until you find the right one, but by that point, you might be tired, hungry, and out of gas.
When you zero in on a specific audience and strategy, you can gain more valuable insights and get a higher return on investment.
Data, just like the one above, should be used as a general guide to understand consumer behavior. However, it shouldn’t dictate your entire strategy. Your own consumer data and user persona(s) should.
For instance, let’s say you’ve discovered through market research that your audience enjoys consuming information mostly through blogs and podcasts. That’s a good indicator of where you should focus your efforts. In a few years, that data may change, in which case, your team should be flexible and move to where your audience is going.
Here’s what you should consider when determining where to direct your efforts:
- Where your audience lives
- The type of content you’ll be creating
- The channel that converts the best
There are a few ways to figure out where your audience "hangs out" online. First, you can check the demographics by platform – this will give you a general idea of the audience.
You can also reach out to your target audience directly through polls and survey to find out where they spend their time. In addition, look to your competitors.
See where they’re focusing their efforts and if they are successful, that may be a good indication of where you should be. Like when you’re not sure you went to the right place but see someone you know parking and you can let out a sigh of relief.
Next is the type of content you’ll be creating.
Say your audience enjoys video content the most (think webinars, lives, video tutorials). In this case, your audience would be well suited for YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, all of which have video editing and publishing features. You can then repurpose your content for each platform.
Another factor to consider is how each channel is contributing to your goals. This is where the importance of data comes in.
You may be posting every day on TikTok and find that the rare times you post on Facebook, you get much higher engagement and conversion rates. While there could be several reasons for this, you may want to redirect your attention to Facebook as it is providing the best return on investment.
Next, we’ll cover what software can help you keep track of your social media data.
Top Social Media Analytics Software
With HubSpot’s social media management software, you can track your social strategy from beginning to end.
With a user-friendly dashboard, you can see exactly how your published posts are performing, which channels are bringing traffic to your website and generating leads, and more.
You can also filter your reports by campaign, account, and date range so you can narrow down the exact information you’re looking for.
In addition, HubSpot’s social media software allows you to:
- Schedule posts.
- See how your competitors measure up.
- Track and monitor conversations surrounding your brand on every platform.
- Export and analyze relevant reports.
The social media tool is available within HubSpot’s all-in-one CRM platform for mid- to large-size businesses.
HootSuite empowers your team to make decisions quickly with real-time data on your social strategy.
The social media software takes some of the guesswork out so that you can focus on the most important insights. With customizable dashboards, you can also get a quick overview of your key metrics and identify what’s driving traffic and sales.
Ranging from $49/month to custom pricing for enterprise-level businesses, you can find a plan that meets your needs and is scalable.
If you have multiple social channels running at full speed and you’re overwhelmed with the data, Sprout Social can help.
The platform helps you manage your data and create ready-to-go reports to share with stakeholders.
In addition, you can use competitive intelligence to benchmark your performance and make informed decisions that will promote your brand’s growth.
Sprout Social’s pricing is based on a subscription model and ranges from $99 to $249 a month.
Now that you know where consumers spend their time online, the real work begins. Experiment with various strategies to see what resonates best with your audience, always using data and your user personas to inform your decisions.