Social Media Behavior In 2015
Concurrently, social networks continue to mature in their own product life cycles becoming serious businesses and media entities that must generate revenues, profits and returns for investors.
Therefore, think like an old school journalist to understand the social media behavior of your audiences. This encompasses your prospects, influencers, customers, users, employees, media, and investors.
Specifically, know the following about each of your key audience’s social media behavior in 2015. These questions are key to developing social media personas that should be updated at least annually.
- Which social media platforms does your audience belong to?
- Where is your audience active on social media?
- When is your audience active on social media?
- Who does your audience engage with on social media?
- What content does your audience seek on social media?
- What information do they share on social media?
- What type of connected device (desktop, smartphone, tablet or other) do they use?
Based on 170,000 Internet users aged 16 to 64 in 32 markets, Global Web Index data provides broader insight than many other research offerings (including Pew Research’s results that we analyzed last week). It examines behavior globally across a broad cross section of platforms, many of which are often overlooked.
5 Key social media behaviors in 2015
Here are 5 key social media behaviors in 2015 that must be integrated into your plans to effectively leverage the power of these networks to support your marketing cost efficiently. (BTW, here are our 2015 social media predictions with 27 tactics and here’s 2015 small business social media trends based on UMass Dartmouth research.)
1. Social media network size counts.
Facebook still dominates social media globally based on size. YET, it trails Google+ in the Chinese market.
Globally the Top 4 social media networks in order of size are:
While not Top 5 social media platforms, LinkedIn and Instagram are in the Top 10 globally (with and without China).
Excluding China, Pinterest, MySpace (a site most marketers considered dead) and Tumblr are Top 10 social media platforms.
(BTW, as a point of comparison, you may be interested in seeing content search vs social media.)
Actionable Social Media Tip:
- Include Facebook in your marketing plans for reach. Digital markets are smaller and more fragmented than offline media. Therefore, large audiences like Facebook are important to build reach for your message. (Check 5 Key Facebook Marketing Trends for 2015.)
2. Social media platform growth dynamics yield surprises.
Don’t limit your social media choices to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ or you may miss significant opportunities.
Both Pinterest and Tumblr increased active users over 95% in 2014.
LinkedIn participation increased. This matters for every type of business, B2B, B2C, not-for-profit and solopreneurs. UMass Dartmouth research focused on the Inc 500 revealed that LinkedIn was the top social media platform.
Actionable Social Media Tips:
- Showcase your employees.
- Publish content on LinkedIn Publishing.
- Form an alumni group on LinkedIn.
Facebook was the only major social network where active usage dropped in 2014. Active Facebook usage declined 9% consistently across regions and age groups. (To help your marketing, here’s how to deal with reduced Facebook visibility.)
Examining the Top 4 social media networks: Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter, underscores our prediction for video use exploding in 2015.
Also, if YouTube and Google+ are considered together, they’re giving Facebook a run for their money.
3. Social media usage extends across multiple networks.
No one social media network “owns” your audience’s attention anymore.
To truly understand your key audiences, you must look deeper to appreciate how and why they use each platform.
- The average Internet user has 5.54 social media accounts and is active on 2.82.
- 16-24 year olds have the highest average number of social media accounts at 6.6.
- 24-36 year olds are the active on the largest number of social media networks at 4.2.
- 8% of Internet users visited Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google+ in the past month.
- One third of Internet users visited YouTube, Facebook and Twitter in the past month.
- 90% of Facebook visitors also visit YouTube and almost half visit Twitter in the past month.
Multiple social media network usage is one reason total time spent on social media platforms increased from an average of 1.61 hours per day in 2012 to 1.72 in 2014.
Actionable Social Media Tips:
- Have an active presence on the social media networks where your audience spends their time. Remember prospects need to see your marketing message multiple times before they believe it.
- Be present when your audience is present, not when you’re at work. At a minimum, schedule your content for viewing when your audience is active. As other research shows, this isn’t necessarily when you’re at work.
4. Social media activity moves to apps.
Social media participants use apps to quickly find and easily dive into their experience.
Apps translate to mobile devices, mainly smartphones and tablets. This implies social media usage is a time filler, on-the-go activity, and/or dual device usage. This transition reveals where the action is and your audience’s focus is.
A deeper look at the Global Web Index app growth data reveals 2 interesting points.
- Pinterest is the #3 social media app. Other research has shown that Pinterest’s app is where the action is on this social media platform. Users actively seek and collect new ideas and inspiration for later action.
- Instagram is the #4 social media app. Despite it’s hot growth trend, it still trails SnapChat and Facebook.
No surprise, SnapChat continues to over index for teens.
Actionable Social Media Tip:
- Adapt your social media distributed content based on your audience’s use and location when reading it. Your goal is to facilitate content consumption.
5. Participant motivation powers social media behavior.
To really understand your target audience and their use of social media, you must look at their age and related use.
Social media behavior and motivation for use varies by age.
- 16-24 year olds: Suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) and seek information. Pinterest experienced a 90% increase in active usage among 16-24s.
- 25-34 year olds: Share details of their lives, network and promote work.
- 35-44 year olds: Network and promote work.
- 45-54 year olds: Stay in touch with people and networking.
- 55-64 year olds: Use social media out of habit and to stay connected with family and friends.
Facebook is the second-oldest social media network in terms of active user age and experienced the smallest decrease in active usage among their oldest users. (Note: This is consistent with the Pew Research.)
Actionable Social Media Tip:
- Tailor your content and interactions based your audience’s social media motivations. Use this knowledge to re-imagine your content.
Social media behavior in 2015 is defined by a number of different attributes.
As a result, marketers must create and update their social media persona for each of their key audiences and assess where, when and how they engage on social networks.
What do you view as the most important social media behavior in 2015 and why do you think so?
BTW, you may be interested in how to drive measurable social media results.
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