Over Half Of The World Uses Social Media. Here's A Guide On How To Navigate The Different Social Media Platforms

Social media is arguably one of the biggest contributions to the tech age of the 21st century. And in the year of 2020, when everything from work to school to social events has become virtual, we’re spending more and more time glued to our screens.

According to DataReportal, global internet traffic increased by 30% this year, partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than half of the world uses social media, about 3.96 billion people, and the way we consume content over social media has changed drastically. To put things in perspective, an average of 11 new users use social media for the first time every second since July 2019. A survey by Global Web Index shows that the daily time spent on social media for 35 to 44-year-olds is an average of 2 hours and 14 minutes. I think it's safe to say that for most people, checking social media has become a daily routine.

In a time of quarantine and lockdowns, people are spending more time on social media to stay connected to their loved ones. Social media has also allowed people to continue their daily activities and find new hobbies to help them through the pandemic. For example, watching Instagram workout videos and TikTok cooking tutorials have been a way for people to cope during the pandemic.

Breakdown of social media use around the world

Social media purchases have also greatly increased as a result of the closure of brick and mortar retail. 52% of online brand discovery is found in public social feeds, and 27% of social media users report that they find new products and brands through paid social ads.

Social media marketing is one of the strongest tactics to expand your company’s reach. Each platform uses a different algorithm for what posts are shown and how much traffic is generated, so it’s important to know all the strengths and tips of each platform for a successful social media presence. Here is a breakdown of each big social media platform and how to use it successfully.

Credit to Digital Information World

Facebook

According to Pew Research, 69% of US adults use Facebook, and 74% of users are active daily. Facebook has a whopping 2.45 billion active users monthly. Facebook continues to be one of the trickiest social media platforms to master, although it is the third most visited website on the global web.

The biggest tip for marketers using Facebook is using ads and promoted posts to boost your traffic. Facebook’s algorithm can be tricky to understand (check out Sprout Social’s article here on how it works), but Facebook filters posts that are relevant to each user and add a sense of individualization. The most important tip for posting for Facebook is finding the correct timing because Facebook selects posts that maximize engagement with a focus on specific post timing.

Facebook is a great way to weave video content and text together to provide more information about your brand and introduce a note of creativity. The embeded video starts to play automatically when the post appears on a user's feed, so it's easy to catch the user's eye from the moment they see the post. A Facebook poll could also be helpful in engaging your audience and breaking up the influx of text-based feed posts. Make sure to include a call-to-action button on your Facebook page to make your contact easily accessible to consumers. Facebook Groups also are great in building a community of followers and connect with them on a more personal level. 

Instagram

According to Statista, Instagram (owned by Facebook) has over 1 billion monthly active users, and Instagram is most popular in the United States, India, and Brazil. Compared to Facebook, Instagram targets a younger audience; more than half of the global user population is 34-years-old or younger. The international user market is consistently growing with Instagram, meaning that brands can use this platform to start to successfully market globally. 

Instagram stories are a great way to get your message out to the public because Instagram stories are posted chronologically. When just posting on a general feed, it's hard to know how the Instagram algorithm will process the posts, but your Instagram story will be shown on a first come, first served basis. Instagram is the platform to show off your brand’s aesthetics, and it’s a place to create a trendy feed to highlight your brand’s image. Attaching previous Instagram stories as highlights on your profile allows for greater engagement, and your post won’t go away after 24 hours like a regular story. 

Twitter

Twitter has 152 million monetizable daily users as of 2020, and 22% of U.S. adults use Twitter. Twitter users also tend to prefer culturally relevant brands as well as brands that are inclusive, transparent, and align with their morals. Twitter users also spend 26% more time interacting with ads than other social media users.

Twitter is great for engaging with all users, even if they don’t follow you. Continuing a thread on other people’s posts allows you to be a part of the conversation and invite others to join too. Hashtags are a great way to boost traffic and make it easier for users to find your posts and content, but make sure the hashtags are relevant to the conversation and content. If you know your target audience is pretty active, Twitter allows for Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts, and Promoted Trends to put your message in front of the right people. 

Twitter works best with short form content given that the character limit is 280 characters. As opposed to LinkedIn, which voices a very professional tone, Twitter allows your brand to show its personality through fun copy and images. Using a GIF to interact with other accounts is a fun way to show your style. Twitter polls, like Facebook polls, are a great way to gage your audience's own views and create click engagement.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has over 660 million users, with the U.S. being the largest global market. Only 9% of U.S. users visit LinkedIn more than once a day, but those who have LinkedIn accounts and are passionate about professional careers tend to love this platform.

LinkedIn, while free on the most basic level, has different business plans available for those looking to really expand their network and engagement. Even just the most basic account shows you the organic amount of impressions your post reached.

LinkedIn is great because not only do posts show up on the feeds of your connections, they also show up on the feeds of those tagged. Depending on how many connections the tagged user has, your reach can be expanded by over two times, considering your tagged user’s connections can view the post as well on their feeds. A huge social tip for LinkedIn is uploading content, especially videos, organically onto the platform. The LinkedIn algorithm is favorable to those who upload content directly into the post rather than embedding a separate link. These videos must be visually engaging and informative from the beginning, as about 85% of social media users play video without sound. LinkedIn recommends keeping brand awareness videos under 30 seconds for the highest level of engagement. 

TikTok

TikTok proves to be one of the hottest social media trends to date, starting off as primarily popular in Asia and then hitting the U.S. virtually overnight with success. In an online research project conducted by Influencer Marketing Hub, TikTok has “the highest follower engagement rates across 100,000 user profiles sampled.” TikTok has over 800 million monthly active users, and the platform has increasingly made a switch from entertainment-based content and challenges to sublet marketing plugs. Yet, the world is still a bit perplexed on how this growth fully took off and how to use TikTok properly.

According to SocialMediaToday, branding and promotion is quite simple on TikTok; users can create their own brand chanel, partner with influencers to gain a broader reach, and pay to advertise TikTok's new campaign options. TikTok is the perfect platform to be unconditionally yourself, furthering your brand's personality and style. Showing off the behind the scenes work of your brand and including funny bloopers or tricks allows consumers to get an inside look into the raw fun of your business. Try out the different trending TikTok challenges and apply them to your brand, and explore your For You Page. Everyday we are learning more and more about TikTok success, and it's a great platform to try new tactics out and see what your audience engages well with.

The most important skill in mastering social media marketing is adapting to the constant changes in each platform and incorporating an element of flexibility into your marketing strategy. Investing in a social media director, which can often be a great freelance position, can greatly benefit your brand's online presence. The world of social media marketing is evolving everyday, and with a bit of practice, attention to detail, and experimentation, you can build up a strong social presence for your brand in no time.