Social Media Platforms 2015 [Research]

Use Social Media To Reach The Right Audience For Your Business

Social Media Platforms 2015As a marketer, understand what your peers are doing on various social media platforms to maximize your business results.

Social Media Examiner does the marketing community a great service by assessing how marketers use the top social media platforms. The survey for their 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report is emailed to their readers who help share it. 3,720 people took the survey in 2015. Due to how it’s distributed, respondents are interested in or are using social media.

Here’s how the social media platforms stack up in 2015, the seventh year of this survey. (As a point of reference, here’s our analysis of 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.)

  • 93% of marketers surveyed use Facebook
  • 79% of marketers surveyed use Twitter
  • 71% of marketers surveyed use LinkedIn
  • 56% of marketers surveyed use Google+
  • 55% of marketers surveyed use YouTube
  • 45% of marketers surveyed use Pinterest
  • 36% of marketers surveyed use Instagram
  • 15% of marketers surveyed use Slideshare
  • 14% of marketers surveyed use Forums
  • 13% of marketers surveyed use Social review sites
  • 9% of marketers surveyed use Social bookmarking
  • 7% of marketers surveyed use Geo-location
  • 4% of marketers surveyed use Vine
  • 2% of marketers surveyed use Snapchat

Social Media Platforms 2015What’s missing?

  • Blogs. Social Media Examiner reclassified blogs as social media content rather than as a social media platform. I disagree. While blogs do provide content (text, images, videos, presentations, audio and PDFs,) they also allow comments and discussion, and enable sharing across other social networks.

Download The Definitive 2015 Blog Checklist


Top 10 social media platforms 2015

To maximize your social media results, understand each platform’s audience and strengths.Social Media Platforms 2015

1. Facebook is social media’s mass market

As the data shows, almost every marketer is on Facebook. Why? It’s the dominant site globally according to the Global Web Index. (Here are 5 Key Facebook Trends for 2015.)

Underestimate its power and reach at your risk. That said, Copyblogger deleted their account, a decision they didn’t make lightly, because it wasn’t yielding sufficient results for the effort. (BTW, they moved the conversation to Google+.)

Facebook has focused on video. Not only is video hot this year, but also it provides higher advertising revenues. Here’s an example of native Facebook video.Earned Media Defined

Facebook marketing requires both human and financial resources to stand out in your audience’s stream. Since Facebook advertising continues to increase year-over-year, expect to pay-to-play on this forum.

With its ever-changing algorithms, Facebook keeps marketers on their toes. To find out more, follow my friend, Jon Loomer. He’s the guy the experts turn to, so why shouldn’t you?

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tip:

  • Target your Facebook ads. Don’t just boost your Facebook posts because they’re not targeted.

2. Twitter is social media’s broadcast system

Twitter provides real time reach to get your message out but tweets have very short lifespans.

Monitor what’s being said on Twitter about your company, brand and employees. Use Twitter to discover customer questions and problems. Then take them offline and work them out.

Build your Twitter community using a variety of methods. Twitter works best when you don’t limit your participation to self-promotion. Twitter requires engagement with followers and sharing other people’s content.

Maximize your reach using a variety of tools to seek out like-minded individuals. Set up special lists and hashtags to make your time more effective.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tip:

  • Take a page from Guy Kawasaki: Publish multiple times to increase reach.
  • Include images and videos to stand out in people’s streams.

3. LinkedIn provides professional connections that result in lead generation and drive sales

UMass Dartmouth research of Inc 500 reveals that LinkedIn has been the most consistent social media site for small businesses.

Participate on a personal basis with a social media CV that incorporates reviews, related content and associations.

As a business, position your internal corporate thought leaders using a combination of business pages, employee profiles and LinkedIn publishing. Don’t limit yourself to the c-suite since customers trust technical experts moreCustomer Trust Factors

Use LinkedIn to build business relationships that enhance your business. Take a broad approach: Include employees, past employees, customers, distributors, suppliers, and thought leaders.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tip:

  • Engage your employees to support your goals. Help employees to polish their profiles. Show that you take care of your employees. In my opinion, it’s one of the most underrated LinkedIn uses.
  • Create an alumni group. Take a page from the McKinsey playbook. Their former employees are their biggest source of future income.

4. Google+ keeps marketers’ attention

Ask most people and they’re not quite sure what sets Google+ apart from the social media pack, especially since it’s no longer a favorite child within Google.

Marketers have kept Google+ in their social media mix due to the close association with the search engine.

Want the inside scoop? Check out Martin Shervington. He’s the expert.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tip:

  • Have a content strategy for Google+. Don’t just randomly post to Google+ or any social media platform. Follow Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick to understand their approach. Traffic Generation Café’s Ana Hoffman also focuses efforts on Google+. It’s where she engages with her followers.

5. YouTube remains video’s home

We’ve said it before: 2015 is the year of video.

While other video options continue to expand, YouTube is a must in every marketer’s mix. It’s not just a video platform. It’s the second biggest search engine.

For most businesses, video requires specialized resources, human and financial. It tends to be more expensive than other content formats. Further, with the growth in online video viewing across devices, it can be difficult to break through.

Augment your content with a video version. Enhance your presentations, show your customers how to use your products, get your employees talking.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tip:

6. Pinterest keeps marketers’ attention

While Pinterest ranked sixth on Social Media Examiner’s survey, it was the fastest growing site globally according to Global Web Index. Unlike other platforms, Pinterest’s revenue impact tends to be delayed.

Don’t let its predominantly female demographics fool you. Pinterest delivers the highest revenue per participant. (Remember women do the lion’s share of shopping, at least in the US.) Customers show pins to store clerks to indicate what they want.

Pinterest is where customers find inspiration for shopping and their lives. It’s a pre-purchase indicator.

Regardless of ranking, Pinterest is a must for fashion, beauty, interior design, crafts and food.

Pinterest also rocks for content distribution. It’s Buzzfeed’s number 2 source of social media traffic. Understand that it requires a different type of visual presentation to attract attention.

Our Pinterest prediction for 2015 and beyond: Expect Pinterest to rollout a video option. They’ll do it to be competitive and for the ad sales. Additionally, Pinterest will continue to expand as a search alternative (I borrowed this from Guy Kawasaki.)

Want to keep up with the inside Pinterest scoop check out Cynthia Sanchez.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tip:

  • Monitor your product offering as it relates to pins. Due to the delayed action, you must ensure that older product pages are redirected to related new products or you’ll lose sales!

7. Instagram is social media’s photo album

You only need a few images to pull your prospects into your product.
For B2B marketers, GE has had a beautiful Instagram presence, it’s the fashion and design that shine on Instagram.

Don’t forget that Instagram is a mobile app that’s owned by Facebook. Don’t underestimate its ability to show your business visually.

For more Instagram insights Sue Zimmerman is the woman to follow. She walked around SMMW with hashtag signs.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tip:

  • Incorporate your message into your photographs. Take a tip from Sue Zimmerman. Leverage your ability to add bling in the form of text and hashtags.

8. Slideshare is the professional lead magnet

Build your following by posting your presentations and other types of content (including videos and PDFs) onto Slideshare. For many businesses, it can be a slow progression to break 1,000 or 10,000 views.

Businesses make real money from Slideshare. Many would prefer that you not know this because the more people that use it, the less effective it becomes. (Check out this Slideshare case study.)

BTW—Get a boost by tapping into Slideshare’s editorial campaigns.SlideShare Calendar

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tip:

  • Improve results by augmenting your presentations. Especially in today’s business world where less is more, using your words on Slideshare improves your audience’s experience. Follow Ann Handley who annotated her Hubspot keynote to provide extra commentary. Ann Handley annotates her Slides on Follow the Fear Talk-1

9. Forums, the granddaddy of social media, still thrive

While not everyone’s cup of tea, forums tend to have a dedicated focus and loyal following. Participants gain authority through on-going participation and transparency. Threads provide straight talk and conversations on topics of interest to members.

FlyerTalk is a prime example. It’s focused on the business traveler.FlyerTalk Forums

Forums are also integrated into other social media platforms. This occurs mainly on niche sites like Ravelry.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tip:

  • Be part of the conversation where appropriate. Supply useful information and answer questions. But don’t sell in forums!!! The members will stand by you if you’re transparent and eat you alive if you promote.

10. Social media reviews integrate customer input.

Social media reviews are curated media entities. They gather information created by members and customers. Products get ranked based on reviews.

The top examples are Yelp and Trip Advisor. Despite its standing as a retailer, I’d add Amazon to this list as a social media site. It started the customer review process back in the late 1990s.

  • Monitor what’s being said. Respond where appropriate but don’t act defensive. Take the conversation offline as quickly as possible.

(BTW–Don’t underestimate the need to augment your social media efforts with social media advertising.)

In 2015 and going forward, you need to make social media an integral part of your marketing plans.

If you’re like most businesses, focus on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

While it’s not in this data, I think that a blog is a must and a starting point for any social media plan – mainly because you own it.

But based on your offering and target audience, assess which platforms make the most sense for your business.

Which social media platforms do you use and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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