Social media is firmly entrenched as part of our everyday lives. We get our news from social, interact with friends, find community events and the list goes on. Social is also a vital channel when it comes to interacting with brands and researching new products and services.
As with all marketing channels, social media is continually evolving. Since it was first introduced, it is continuing to grow, providing tremendous opportunities for brands to reach their customer base.
Before diving into social media today, did you know that the first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997? It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular and social media took off from there with sites like MySpace and LinkedIn gaining in popularity in the early 2000s. By 2006, Facebook and Twitter both became available to users throughout the world and other sites rapidly began to be introduced. (source)
Social media is a way of life today. Just take a look at some of these interesting facts from Sprout Social about social media usage:
- 97% of social advertisers chose Facebook as their most used and most useful social media platform.
- Facebook continues to be the most popular social networking site in terms of number of active users. As of October 2018, it had a little over 2 billion active users.
- Instagram continues to attract a younger audience with 72% of teens saying that they use the platform.
- Among marketers, Instagram takes second place to Facebook with 83% of them using the platform.
- 88% of social advertisers use Twitter. This makes it even more popular than Instagram.
- LinkedIn performs 277% better than Facebook and Twitter when it comes to generating visitor-to-lead conversions.
- 80% of social media B2B leads come from LinkedIn.
Who Uses Social Media?
Social media is used by consumers across generations. According to recent research by Emarketer, 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are active social media users. (source) Social media platforms also take up a large chunk of our daily lives. An average of 2 hours and 22 minutes are spent per day per person on social networks and messaging (Globalwebindex).
About 2.27 billion monthly active users are on Facebook and nearly 1.5 billion of those users are checking their accounts daily and 1.3 billion users are chatting with friends and family using Facebook Messenger.
Instagram user demographics include 35% of all US adults with 1 billion monthly active users and 500 million daily active users. Its Stories feature alone boasts 400 million daily active users.
Most popular with people in their 20s, the breakdown of Twitter user demographics is as follows:
- 32% of 13-17 year olds use Twitter
- 40% of 18-29 year olds use Twitter
- 27% of 30-49 year olds use Twitter
- 19% of 50-64 year olds use Twitter
- 8% of 65+ year olds use Twitter
With over 590 million registered users, LinkedIn is the number one platform when it comes to B2B social media marketing.
Pinterest has 250 million monthly active users and over 175 billion items pinned. 61% of users have made a purchase after seeing a product on Pinterest.
Social Media for Lead Generation
Marketers are investing in social channels but are they satisfied with the results? According to a study by Social Media Today and SharpSpring, 45% of respondents are either somewhat (38%) or extremely (7%) satisfied with the lead volume that they receive from using social media for lead generation. However, that’s almost matched by the 38% who report being either somewhat (30%) or extremely (8%) dissatisfied.
Additionally, 37% of respondents reported some level of dissatisfaction with the quality of leads social media generates compared to 35% who are satisfied.
Overall, it seems social media is not delivering to its potential for some brands. The problem does not necessarily point to a lack of strategy. The majority (64%) of brands surveyed stated they have a specific plan in place for generating leads from social platforms. However, many brands may not be using the right offers, call-to-actions or follow up messaging to convert social followers.
When asked which social platforms were the best at delivering leads, Facebook was the clear winner for 82% of marketers. This was followed by LinkedIn (48%) and Instagram (43%).
When asked what types of content performed best, still images ranked in at 41% with videos at 40%. This will of courses vary by platform and type of business, but where brands relied largely on still images in the past, videos should be incorporated wherever possible.
Interestingly, despite some of the poor performance brands are getting from their social media strategies, 53% of respondents stated that they believe social media will be the best source of leads in the future.
There is significant opportunity in social media as a lead generation tool. An ODM Group study found that 74% of consumers rely on social networks to help with their purchasing decisions. According to a Hubspot report, 71% of consumers are more likely to make purchases based on social media referrals. A report from Aimia shows that 31% of consumers say they’re using social media to browse for new items to buy. Furthermore, Forbes has shown that 78% of consumers’ purchases are impacted by companies’ social media posts.
There is no doubt that social networks have an impact on how people purchase products. Staying up on the latest trends, trying different platforms, testing different CTAs and being diligent in follow-up communications with engaged followers will determine the success of a brand’s social media strategy.
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