Which social media platforms should you focus on this year? 

Whatever your growth objectives, social media remains an intrinsic part of brand building, brand awareness and customer engagement. It’s increasingly a product and service discovery medium, can be a direct sales channel and builds social proof which can boost conversions. It’s also a space where you can build a meaningful community around your brand, nurture brand advocacy and obtain incredibly valuable insights into consumer behaviour, sentiments, likes and dislikes.

What that said, social media isn’t always an easy space to master. There are multiple networks, a constant barrage of new tools and functions to get to grips with and changing algorithms that dictate your content reach.

The first and most important hurdle to navigate however is ensuring you have a business presence on the right social platforms. It’s only by going where your community is that you’ll have the opportunity to leverage the many benefits social media can bring to businesses looking to scale.

New research, conduced by the Pew Research Centre, has delved deeper into social media habits and use – while its findings are based on US social media habits, the trends are also very much applicable to other countries. Here are some of the most interesting revelations:  

Where do the adults hang out?

While it’s not strictly a social network, YouTube is the most used platform, with Facebook and Instagram in second and third spots. TikTok placed fifth, just behind Pinterest. What’s interesting about this is the popularity of video-focused networks, showing just how hungry social media users are for video content.

This is traditionally one of the more difficult formats for brands to get right, but for those who are willing to invest budget and resource, a large audience awaits.

Which is the fastest growing platform?

This will likely come as no surprise, but TikTok is by far and away the fastest growing social network. While it isn’t the largest, it has been eating into the user base of other networks. Major platforms like Facebook and YouTube aren’t acquiring new users at nearly the same rate as TikTok. Despite its meteoric start, not even Threads can keep up with the video sharing site.

Differences in age

Some networks naturally attract a younger or older crowd, so understanding key demographics is vital to ensuring your brand focuses its attention where its target consumers are scrolling their feeds. Facebook has a broad coverage of age groups, so it’s a safe bet for most brands, while TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat are more popular with the under 30 cohort.

If you want to read the full report, it can be found here: https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2024/01/31/americans-social-media-use/  

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