You know that social media marketing is essential to your business: More than half the world’s population is now online, with billions using social platforms on a regular basis. In the U.S. alone, according to Hootsuite, more than four out of five people have social media accounts, almost half of which have interacted with businesses on at least one network, and 41% say it’s important that the businesses they engage with have a strong social presence.
The key to your social media success, however, isn’t about being everywhere that’s anywhere; it’s about being strategic about where you put your time, attention and budget. You’ve got to understand which platforms speak to your target audience, which convert best, and also take a look at what your competitors and industry influencers are doing with their social media accounts.
In a recent poll of our Insiders group, we got some very interesting feedback about how our EPN affiliates use social media to both drive traffic to their own blogs/websites, and also directly to eBay.
- Facebook is by far the most-used social platform: Seventy-seven percent (77%) use Facebook to drive traffic to their sites, and 54% use it to drive traffic directly to eBay.
- Twitter is also effective for EPN members: 53% use it to send traffic to their sites, and 39% directly to eBay.
- Other widely used social platforms to drive affiliate traffic to publishers’ websites are Instagram (33%), Pinterest (30%), and Google+ (29%). YouTube and LinkedIn are also used, although not as widely (11% and 7% respectively), and other less frequently used platforms include Snapchat, Tumblr and Reddit.
- Google+ and Instagram are also used to drive traffic directly to eBay (11% and 9% respectively).
- More than 60% of respondents use between one and three social platforms to promote their affiliate businesses and drive traffic to their websites; 35% use four or more platforms.
Now that you know the social networks your fellow EPN members use and prefer, here’s a bit more information about each platform to help you make the best decision for your social media use and focus.
Facebook: Our Insiders reflect the general Facebook consensus: With more than a billion daily users and over two billion unique monthly users worldwide, Facebook is the broadest reaching social network. According to Social Media Examiner, 62% of marketers say it’s the most important social network “by a long shot,” and is pretty much too big to ignore.
Seventy-six percent (76%) of all American female Internet users and 66% of all male Internet users are on Facebook.
By age: 88% of 18–29-year-olds, 84% of 30–49-year-olds, and 72% of 50–64-year-olds use Facebook in the U.S.
Twitter: With 317 million unique monthly users, Twitter is a powerful tool and a great way to share news in quick, short (140 character) bites. It’s also an “international powerhouse” that supports 40 languages and has 79% of users living outside the U.S.
Twitter is used by 15% of American female Internet users and 22% of American male Internet users.
By age: 37% of 18-29-year-olds use Twitter, and 25% of 30-49-year-olds use Twitter in the U.S.
Instagram: Instagram is growing at a fantastic rate – it now has 700 million monthly active users. This visually driven network continues to stay fresh and appealing to younger people by adapting to trends (i.e. by adding Stories, which teens through Millennials love).
Instagram is used by 38% of American female Internet users and 24% of male Internet users.
By age: 59% of 18-29-year-olds use Instagram, and 33% of 30-49-year-olds use Instagram.
Pinterest: Boasting 317 million unique monthly users, Pinterest skews a bit older and a decidedly more female – but also has a surprisingly amazing longevity for posts (151,200 minutes).
Forty-five percent (45%) of online women are on Pinterest, and 17% of online men.
Age distribution is fairly balanced from 18-64-year-olds, with 34% ages 18-29, and 27% and 28%, respectively for ages 30-49, and 50-64.
Seventy-four (74%) of Google+ users are male, 26% female.
Twenty-eight percent (28%) of users are 15-34-years-old.
YouTube has a predominately male reach (55% male vs. 45% female).
LinkedIn: If your affiliate marketing business speaks to business people, LinkedIn is your network. With 500 million registered users worldwide, and more than 100 million monthly active users, LinkedIn drives more than half of the social traffic to B2B blogs and sites.
Thirty-one percent (31%) of online men use LinkedIn, and 27% of online women.
By age: 33-34% of 18–49-year-olds use LinkedIn, and 24% of 50–64-year-olds use the platform.
Now that you have an overview of the audiences each of the top social media networks cater to, you can figure out which ones best fit your strategic goals. For example, if you are looking to raise awareness across a range of age groups, Facebook is a great place for you to make central in your marketing plan. (Also, consider boosting posts and using other tactics to maximize your reach.) If you’re a fashion blogger, Instagram will reach your core target audience and give them an eyeful of beautiful reasons to follow your blog and click on links they find there to the clothing and accessories you recommend.
As you make your choices about which platforms to use, keep in mind the type of content you’ll be sharing (i.e. pictures, videos, etc.) and also what your time realistically allows. While you can always use scheduling apps like Buffer or Hootsuite to help automate your posting schedule and do cross-platform posting, it’s still on you to check your analytics and keep evaluating what’s working best for your business.
If you keep your focus and fight the FOMO when the next big platform comes out, your social media strategy will help you make the right connections to find your audience and grow your business.