Just recently, Tracx came out with their authoritative 2017 social media infographic – and it’s an internet marketing nerd’s dream. The graphic shows some of the most important data points about social media users and adds some fascinating trivia to drive home those points. For example, did you know that YouTube reaches more 18-49 year olds than any cable network in the United States?
This is the type of infographic that becomes a conversation-changer. While many small businesses use arbitrary decision-making to decide how to access their audience, these statistics provide better insight for well-informed marketing tactics. If your target demographic is under the age of 35, for instance, you have a strong argument for being on Instagram, where 90% of users are in your target and 53% choose to follow brand accounts.
But enough of my introduction. Below is the 2017 State of Social infographic from Tracx.com.
To learn more about what this means for your marketing efforts, send us an email today. Or check out our small business packages for social media marketing and insights.
Social media began in chat rooms and email chains. In most households, it started with dial-up access to services like AOL, each with its own built-in community. The idea that an individual could connect with someone else on the other side of the country, or the world, was not altogether foreign. But the idea that those connections could happen between strangers – and that one person could communicate with hundreds or thousands of others at once… that was a privilege once reserved only for businesses who could pay for air time on traditional media.
Today, we take it for granted that a single individual with something interesting to say can immediately transmit their message to millions of internet users around the world. With a lot less money than before, businesses can still pay for more exposure, but it took some time to figure out how to deal with the “social” part of social media.
We now understand that social media is a platform for engagement, conversation, and connection. Businesses small and large have learned how to leverage social media with transparency and humility. They’ve learned the differences between traditional advertising and social media marketing; that listening is just as important as sharing.
But as much as businesses have learned over the years, it seems like our government is just starting to crawl. We currently have a president who still seems used to the days of propaganda, when newspaper and television reporters could be easily swayed by media advertisers and stakeholders. The POTUS uses social media quite infamously, but his use resembles traditional advertising where the message used to be one-sided. However, now that he and his administration are seeing how easily other social media accounts can respond – or simply share their own information – there’s a mad scramble to shut it down or discredit anything that isn’t theirs.
The problem is, they’re late to the game. Businesses and individuals have established credibility for over a decade now. Authors, artists, scientists, restaurants, clothing brands, and home-grown photographers have built an audience of rabid fans from all over the world. In every small circle, the influencers who have earned their keep control the message. Social media is already so intricately and tightly bound that even the richest, most powerful person in the world couldn’t infiltrate all of it.
That is, not without playing by the rules.
Take Reddit, for example, a community of anonymous users posting content: the only way for content to rise to the top is for other users to “upvote” it. No one there cares who you are, what you’ve posted in the past, or how much money you have. What matters is that your content is relevant and interesting; and if so, it could be the foundation of a whole new internet trend or movement. (Except r/me_irl – they’ll upvote anything)
These rules aren’t quite so strict on sites like Facebook or Twitter, but in order to be a true influencer, the same concept still applies: your content has to be worthy of a virtual “upvote.” In other words, Donald Trump can say whatever he wants on Twitter, but even he is not immune to immediate feedback, fact-checking, and simply being ignored. In fact, he’s only the 57th most followed user on Twitter, behind several musicians, athletes, news sources he’s deemed as “fake,” and yes, Barack Obama (number 3 on the list).
So as we all sit around and wonder what’s happening to social media, it’s important to remember that there aren’t any real secrets to it… Every individual has a voice, every user can choose who to follow, and every influencer has to earn her or his own audience. That’s always been the case, and it was a hard lesson to learn for businesses. Now we get to watch while our government learns the same lesson.
Instagram is a great tool for businesses. As today’s consumers become more and more visually minded, it’s a social media channel that could take a brand to the next level. Part of its influence stems from the sheer number of active users: more than 1 billion people worldwide and roughly 120 million monthly users in the US, alone. Unlike Facebook, which uses obscure and ever-changing algorithms to determine who will and will not see your posts, if someone follows you on Instagram, the chance of that person seeing your content is significantly higher. Instagram’s Search & Explore feature makes it easier for people to find interesting content from all over the world—by location, tag, photographer or subject matter. Posting the right kind of content could increase your engagement and brand influence tenfold.
But that’s just it: you need to post the right content. Instagram success could be yours, if you take the initiative to avoid the missteps and shortcomings in the following list that often prevent brands from reaching their fullest potential.
Post Your Website Link In Your Bio
This is the one thing that should be stressed over and over again. Your profile’s bio is the only place, on all of Instagram, where you can add a clickable link to your website. Unfortunately, many accounts still neglect to do so, missing huge opportunities to build brand awareness and engage a potential customer base further.
Post High-Quality Images
This one’s simple, really. Instagram is a visual tool, so posting unattractive or boring photos will not create the kind of engagement that really drives brand success. In fact, doing so is more likely to deter new followers and scare away the ones that you do have. Now, that doesn’t mean that every photo you upload needs to be taken with a DSLR. As Instagram is primarily a mobile tool, it’s understood (and encouraged!) that the majority of photos will be taken and uploaded with a smartphone. However, some simple photography principles and the countless editing/photography apps available for most iOS and Android devices mean there’s no excuse for lackluster images. We recommend using VSCOcam to elevate your mobile photography.
Don’t Misuse Hashtags
Over 91% of all images posted on Instagram contain one or more hashtags. The main function of a hashtag is to open content up for discovery, by allowing others to find images and other users of interest, via relevant keywords. If you fail to use a hashtag or two that could be relevant to your brand’s content, you miss an opportunity to be discovered and engaged with. But on the flip side, if you spam your posts with too many irrelevant hashtags, you devalue your account and run the risk of losing brand credibility.
It can all be a little confusing, so check out this great Hootsuite post if you still need help understanding hashtags.
Engage With Others
Instagram is a great social media platform and it’s cultivated a fiercely loyal community of users who want to interact with relevant content. To get the most out of this interaction, you can’t just treat your account as some kind of “set it and forget it” tool. If you want to become a leader in your brand’s industry, follow other relevant users within that industry and engage with them. Don’t go on liking sprees, which can come off as desperate, but definitely like and comment on their photos when appropriate. Doing this, and doing it authentically, will associate your brand with theirs and do more to position your brand as an industry influencer. Likewise, if somebody leaves a comment on one of your photos, take the time to respond. It takes five seconds. Building a successful brand has a lot to do with building meaningful relationships with your consumers, so it would make the most sense to actually take part in conversations with your Instagram community.