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Despite all the criticism that social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have received over the past 12 months, there’s still no denying that social media is the most powerful platform that digital marketers have to reach their target audiences. Recently, Oberlo published a set of social media usage statistics, and the numbers are mind-blowing. Almost every aspect of our lives involves some form of social media, and usage worldwide is still growing at an exponential rate. With that in mind, it’s time for digital marketers to take a step back and consider how they can fully leverage the power of social media
Usage and engagement
One of the most staggering statistics in the Oberlo numbers involved daily usage of social media. On average, users spend 3 hours per day (per day!) using a variety of social media platforms. It starts when they wake up in the morning and check their social media feeds, continues throughout the day when they check Twitter for news updates or use WhatsApp to send out quick messages. And it doesn’t stop when they get home at night. Even while watching TV, most people are now living a second-screen existence, in which they are posting real-time social media updates during a sporting event, reality TV show or political debate.
Worldwide, there are now 3.5 billion daily active users of social media. Do some quick back-of-the-envelope math, and that works out to nearly 45 percent of the world’s population. Mobile has been the real game-changer here, as it’s no longer necessary to own a desktop computer or pay for monthly Internet in most of the world – just pull out your cheap Android device and connect to free Wi-Fi and you’re good to go.
Traction with younger users
Perhaps most importantly, the youngest members of society – including those in the all-important 18-to-35 marketing demographic – are the ones most likely to use social media. According to Oberlo, 90.4 percent of Millennials are active users of social media, compared to 77.5 percent of Generation X and 48.2 percent of the Boomer generation. This is good news for social media platforms like Facebook, which is always at risk of being swept away or abandoned in favor of something new.
One major factor here, of course, is how quickly the big social media giants are able to adapt to the emergence of new technologies. Think of any big technological trend of the past 18 months, and there’s probably a whole team at Facebook working on ways to integrate it into the social media platform. Take AI, for example. Arguably, Facebook is now an AI company as much as a social media company, thanks to its investment in facial recognition technology and sophisticated machine learning algorithms for the Facebook news feed. This has enabled Facebook to stay one step ahead of the competition and remain top-of-mind for younger users.
Implications for digital marketers
There are a few huge implications for digital marketers. The biggest takeaway, of course, is to shift as much spending as possible into social media and away from traditional media. Fish where the fish are: if young, 18-to-35 users are spending several hours per day on social media, then you also need to have a digital presence on social media to interact with them. And, on a related note, it’s important to note the shift from desktop to mobile usage of social media. Every aspect of your digital marketing initiatives need to start with a mobile-first mentality. If you take this into account, your company, brand or organization can continue to ride the social media marketing wave to profitability and greater brand recognition.