Social Media: Where We Spend Our Time

7 Actionable Social Media Marketing Tactics

Bread Clock If you’re looking for your customers, you’ll find them on social media because that’s where they spend the largest portion of their time online.

As daunting as the challenges of effective social media marketing can be with the multitude of different platforms, many-to-many communication, and general aversion to promotional-speak, marketers must be there to catch prospects by fitting into their lifestyle.

Based on recent Experian Marketing Services data, participants in the United States spend over a quarter of their PC Internet time on social media. If all of their online time was compressed into one hour, then 16 minutes or 27% of the hour would be spent on social networking and forums. This is more time than the next two largest categories combined, specifically entertainment (9 minutes) and shopping (5 minutes). Both business and email lag at 3 minutes each.

Experian-Hitwise- US-Time_Spent_On_Social_Media By contrast, participants in the United States spend about 15% of their mobile time on social media. This time is less than that spent on email, which accounts for 23% of their mobile time. This is interesting since both social media and email are considered content snacking activities that can be done concurrently with other tasks or in short periods of time.


To ensure that your marketing is integrated into your prospects and customers’ social media experience, here are seven actionable marketing tactics. 

  1. Know your target audience. Go beyond marketing persona basics. Take time to become acquainted with the details about your prospects, influencers, decision makers and customers. Actionable Social Media Tactic: Understand which social media platforms they use and how they engage on them.
  2. Target your social media message. Based on your audience segment and your business goals, craft your communications to meet your market’s needs. This message must sound like a real person not an anonymous organization. Actionable Social Media Tactic: Remember on social media your content must be associated with a real person.
  3. Select the social media venues where you’ll place your message. Make your decision based on where your target audience is active on social media. Go to the platforms your audience uses as opposed to hoping that they’ll follow you. Actionable Social Media Tactic: Depending on your business focus, include your blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube (Note: Some research firms consider YouTube to be a video site not a social media entity) and Pinterest. Actionable Social Media Tactic: Go beyond the basic venues and test newer options such as SlideShare, Tumblr, Instagram and Quora.
  4. Incorporate your 360° brand into your social media engagement. Ensure that your audience recognizes your interactions and content without needing to see your brand name. Actionable Social Media Tactic: Use colors, fonts, language, and images to distinguish your brand from your direct and indirect competitors in short snippets of commentary, images and text.
  5. Provide information your audience finds useful. While marketers must be on social media to interact with their target customers, it’s critical to bear in mind that participants are on social media to engage with other family and friends, not marketers. Don’t just assume that people want to hear your advertising, time after time. Actionable Social Media Tactic: Social media content works best when it doesn’t appear to be sales promotion. Give your readers content that’s related to your product but focused on their needs.
  6. Include a social media call-to-action. Ask your audience to help you in return for your information. This doesn’t allow you to harass them but rather make the relationship a mutually beneficial one. Actionable Social Media Tactic: Make your call-to-action contextually relevant.
  7. Track your social media related results. Measure how well your social media marketing is doing. Actionable Social Media Tactic: Focus on those metrics that tell you whether you’ve moved your business forward.

Just as social media is integrated into your prospects and customers’ lives, it must be integrated into your marketing. Social media requires on-going engagement at all levels of your organization. It’s not a one-size fits all medium.

How does your organization approach social media and what has your experience been?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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  • Aamir Lehri

    Wow Nice Article Thanks for sharing

  • Michal Smetana

    These are all amazing insights. Thanks for sharing them with us, Heidi. I mean, I would have never though that 27% (16 mins) of our “internet time” would be spent on social networking while, for example, email would only account for 3 minutes. Really interesting statistics.

  • Katy

    This is great information to have! Knowing where your customers spend their time online – and how long they stay there – can be very beneficial to business. Thanks for sharing Heidi!

  • Derek Fischer

    The takeaway from these statistics is that e-mail marketing is still a more effective way of reaching customers than social media for American consumers. They spend 38% of their time online between e-mail and social media which indicates that social sites are used most effectively for building e-mail subscriber lists.