No social media platform is created equal. Technical nuances aside, each has its own specific demographics in the user base, as well as times of use and reasons for use. In this blog, we will highlight the demographics and differences in reasons for use across the main social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube) and show you what a successful and platform specific piece of content would look like.
Just as a heads-up, we’re going to assume you know about these platforms to a level, which allows you to follow along with this blog. If this isn’t true, then you can find a pretty comprehensive guide too each platform and their features linked below the heading of each section.
Facebook’s demography is an interesting one. Starting with college kids at its inception in 2004, Facebook gradually trickled down the age range to encompass a 12-21 year old majority. These initial adopters seem to make up the bulk of the U.K.’s user demographic in 2019, with 11.2 million 25-34 year olds on the platform. What’s interesting is the reach of Facebook. We now have 3.4 million users in the U.K. of 65+, being the smallest demographic outside of the 13-17 year olds (1.8 million). Your audience, therefore, is pretty wide. This can be a little daunting when it comes to content creation, but it’s actually a blessing in disguise.
Such a huge demographic means you have the capacity to go really specific in on the targeting for different demographics without missing anyone out. What does this mean?
Example: you want to create a targeted add for a new razor product you’ve come up with. It’s uni-sex and is designed to be marketed at both men and women. Your ad format is going to be a photo with some clever copy and a call to action. Facebook allows you to target demographics so specifically, you can use different photos and slightly different copy that’s designed to appeal to different demographics. And you can go as specific as you like. Here’s a breakdown.
University educated men
University educated men from the North West of the U.K.
University educated men from the North West of the U.K. who work in marketing.
University educated men from the North West of the U.K. who work in marketing and are between 25-30.
Suddenly you’re speaking to a very small and focused group of people, allowing your copy and creative to really cater for those demographics’ interests. Now rinse and repeat for all your target audiences. It’s likely you may come up with upwards of 50 groups to market to, each ideally requiring their own targeted ad. Whether you can (or want to) execute on this is entirely up to you, but it certainly gives food for thought.
If you really wanted to put your best foot forward you could create specialised videos for each target group. This is the most expensive route, but super-effective with regards to conversions. We have ways to bring costs down and streamline the process of creating so many videos around one subject- we’re logistical wizards – just shoot us an email if you’re interested and we can explain.
Instagram is a different ball game. The user base is generally a little younger than Facebook, and the chances you have to grab their attention are more limited. Something else you should factor in is that Instagram is almost exclusively a mobile app. This means no one is looking at your creative on a screen bigger than an iPad. You can see this reflected in the photography of some of the bigger Instagram accounts, where there is usually a single subject that stands out and the composition is complimentary to either a square or portrait aspect ratio.
On Instagram, aspect ratios are especially important to note when designing your creative. Due to the design of the feed, portrait images and videos take up more space, and therefore are more likely to catch the eye of your target audience. This is especially true in the Instagram stories feature.
Finally, though everyone on the Internet is touting video as the next best thing in marketing, it’s important to cater to your audience with regards to format. We conducted some research with the help of our in-house development team and found that the largest visual-focused accounts on Instagram (think NatGeo) did use a lot of video, but this video was focused on single clips with a clear single subject. Narration or captions were rare; it was effectively a moving portrait. Simplicity is key. Check out this HubSpot post for some inspiration.
Your Instagram demographics are unique to you, and it’s fairly easy to figure them out in the “insights feature”. More generally, however, the biggest age groups on Instagram are 18-25 (31%) and 25-34 (30%), with the 65+ age range showcasing just 2% of 800-million active daily users.
As Facebook owns Instagram, your ad options can be very targeted. So, similar to Facebook, we suggest breaking you demographic down to be as specific as you possible can (or as specific as your budget allows) and creating targeted ads just for those individuals. This is especially true because of Instagram stories. Our favourite social media guru Gary Vaynerchuck has been highlighting how underpriced Instagram stories ads are as of late. He’s usually pretty on the money with predictions like this, so it’s worth listening to.
Nail your target market, create a few 15-second videos that direct that demographic to your website or Instagram feed, and see what happens.
We recently wrote a blog on why you should be using LinkedIn, which you can find here.
LinkedIn is a rapidly growing platform, and is branded as a B2B social media platform. It’s Facebook for your professional network. With 260-million active monthly users, 87-million of those are millenials (15-34 years old). It’s a place populated by meaningful and useful content, and your ads should reflect this.
Just as Facebook and Instagram allow you to refine you audience, LinkedIn has similar features. However they pertain more to professional criteria. For example, you can target people at specific companies or job titles, education levels, job experience, or member groups. This makes it an incredibly powerful B2B tool.
Let’s say, for example, you were a budding video production company wanting to create an ad to capture the hearts and minds of your decision makers in the industry you want to work in. For the sake of the argument, let’s say that industry is commercial videos for destination marketing. After identifying the decision maker’s job roles at these companies, you can create a video that speaks specifically to the creative director of travel agencies, and pay LinkedIn to push the video directly to them. Rinse and repeat until you’ve hit all your target markets.
However, it’s important your content reflects the level of quality people use LinkedIn for. Though you’re selling your services or products, you need to highlight the value that what you offer will bring to your customer. Basically, how is it going to make their life easier? Alternatively, you can teach them something. It may be counter-intuitive, but a good way to market a video production agency is to teach your target markets how to make videos. We’ll write another blog on why giving your audience the tools to create their own content is a smart way of marketing your services.
Twitter is a strange one. In it’s early phases, it was booming. Now the general user base has dropped off and it seems to have retained niche pockets of professionals. Media, STEM workers and celebrities all enjoy excellent Twitter engagement. Your average marketer may find it a little different to gain any traction.
Despite this shift, Twitter still boasts 326 million active monthly users and around 500 million tweets per day. It’s also a platform for the incredibly affluent. Omnicron suggest that 56% of Twitter users earn $50,000+. Clearly this is a platform we should be paying attention to if we’re trying to sell something.
Twitter is generally cited as a place to join the conversation and discover news. Our very own Josh Edwards uses the platform to learn about the media industry and finds that reaching out on Twitter gives him a greater chance of getting a reply than other platforms. This is because it’s conversational. It’s designed for word-based communication. Here is where its value starts to become clear.
Communicating to your customers in a quick, pain free and engaging way is a surefire way to build excellent brand loyalty. Twitter allows people to reach out to you in an informal, non-intimidating way. Removing barriers to communication like this will of course require having a staff member to deal with all the incoming communication (provided you have a reasonable following).
Keeping your Twitter posts short is obviously a necessity, due to the character limit. For the most part you should be using it as a platform to divert attention to other content hosts. Outside of that, providing useful or entertaining copy in 140-characters can be very useful, but it’s definitely a skill to be able to write. Finally, you should obviously be engaging with your potential customers.
This does of course mean responding to them, but you can also seek them out. Think about what thing a potential customer of yours would want or like, search twitter for that thing and start engaging in conversations within that sphere. You’ll soon see a return on investment.
YouTube is a bit of a beast. With 1.9 billion monthly active users, being the second biggest search engine in the world behind Google and an average viewing session of 40-minutes, it’s not really a platform you can ignore. It also spans a huge demographic, with videos out there being targeted at 3-year olds, and the 55+ demographic being the fastest growing on the platform. There’s a definite advantage to creating content for YouTube.
Because of the hugely varied user-base and content, being specific on YouTube doesn’t really pertain to the platform as much as it does your target audience. There’s a huge variety of success and variation in approach across even very niche subjects. There are best practices, of course, but they’re very malleable and varied in and of themselves. So when creating platform specific content for YouTube it’s better to design your message for your target audience with no outside influence, then tailor it as an online video.
The main factors to consider are probably the title and thumbnail. These are often cited as the two most important factors in improving content discovery rates on YouTube. IT pays to do a little research around the topic you’re making content about and seeing what is missing from the search terms, or where your video could potentially sit within the search rankings.
We live in an age where the television ad is used as the template for online and targeted marketing. A shift away from this is needed if you are going to be effective with your online ad strategy in 2019. Hopefully this blog gave you a little insight into how to approach changing your game.
To be most effective, you would first design an overall message and a variety of target audiences. Then, using the methods outlined above, you would create ads for each of those target audiences and each of the specific platforms. This is idealist, but it would be an incredibly effective way of reaching your audiences with messages they will listen to.