Organic Social Media marketing was a Godsend for small businesses that didn’t have large budgets to market themselves. Create a page, get current customers to follow you, tell all your friends to share, get customer reviews to post, and build your database…all for free! Simple, right? Seems that way on the surface, but if you’re doing the ‘cookie-cutter/one-post-fits-all-platforms’ kind of social media, you’re probably not maximizing each platform’s effectiveness, and potentially even turning people away from your brand. As a millennial that once worked for me used to say, “That’s Bad News Bears.” (I should Tweet that…)
In this blog, I’ll be referencing a research study from GWI called SOCIAL. “GWI’s Social Flagship provides the most important insights on the world of social media, from keynotes on how attitudes are changing to the latest figures for platform engagement.”
The GWI study noted the top 3 reasons consumers give for using each social media network. For the sake of time and space, for this blog, we’ll look at just the Top 5 platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok. While some share significant commonalities, the devil is in the differences. Knowing these differences can help you craft your content better for your followers on each individual platform for the greatest effective understanding and marketing impact.
These are the #1 reasons people say they use each social media platform for:
- Facebook/FB Messenger – To message & keep in touch with friends/family
- Instagram – To post/share photos or videos
- Twitter – To keep up to date with news/the world
- LinkedIn – To keep up to date with news/the world
- TikTok – To find funny/entertaining content
If you notice, the intended content site visitors want to see most, differs. They break out into: Social interaction, Information and Entertainment.
Notice TikTok’s Top reason: ‘Find funny/entertaining content.’ That’s Twitter’s #2 reason people visit their platform. And the #3 reason people visit Instagram. And while I didn’t want to go in-depth for other social platforms not mentioned here, funny/entertaining content is #1 for Reddit, #2 for Snapchat and #2 for Pinterest. People want to be entertained! Delivering serious commercial content on TikTok is like ordering a Rum and Coke and getting a glass of milk. Ain’t nobody got time for dat!
Now, there are other commonalities in platform visits among many of the Top 5, and the next one is to ‘Follow/find information about products and brands’, which is obviously appealing to marketers. While not a #1 reason for any one platform, it’s the #2 reason people visit LinkedIn, #2 reason for Instagram and #3 for Twitter users. It’s noticeably absent from TikTok and Facebook’s Top 3 though.
Another commonality is ‘Post/share photos or videos.’ It’s listed in 80% of the Top 5 platforms as a Top 3 reason: #1 for Instagram, #2 for Facebook, #2 for TikTok and #3 for LinkedIn. They ARE social networks after all, and it’s the easiest way to build engagement, through visuals.
And a final commonality among platforms is ‘Keep up to date with news/the world’, also a Top 3 reason for 4 of the 5 Top platforms. As it shows above, it’s #1 for LinkedIn and Twitter users. It comes in as the #3 reason people visit Facebook as well as #3 for TikTok users.
Let me provide some take-aways here, especially regarding some differences:
Find funny/entertaining content doesn’t register in the Top 3 reasons people visit Facebook. Nor does Follow/find information about products and brands. The largest (by user) social network platform, and its users don’t see being entertained or shopping as one of the Top 3 priorities in using it. I’m sure users still come to Facebook for those two reasons, they just don’t see them as primary reasons to visit the site. According to this research, people are prioritizing using Facebook almost like their own Hometown newspaper. Look at pictures, get the news and keep in touch with people they know by reading their stories/posts and via Facebook Messager. So, seeing this, look at how you’re presenting yourself/your brand on Facebook currently. Does your advertising fit in with people who use the platform like their daily newspaper? Is your organic content? If you’ve found your Facebook marketing less effective than expected, you likely could benefit from some tweaking of your messaging. See if you can align your message with the priorities of users in the platform’s context and you’ll see greater success.
Now, seeing how the funny/entertaining content ranks high among multiple platforms, review your posts/ads on those social media options and ask, “Is my content funny/entertaining?” People connect over laughter, and people recall what/who made them laugh. Most importantly, they engage with it and share it with friends. Are you taking yourself and your social media presence/persona too seriously? Ask, “Does my or should my brand have a sense of humor?” According to “The Happiness Report” from author Gretchen Rubin, 91% of people prefer when brands are funny, including 94% of Gen Z and Millennials. If your brand is dull, or viewed as stuffy and uptight, it’s not going to stand out or connect as well with followers. A lot of people use social media as an ‘escape’ from the troubles of the day…a mental reset if you will. If your brand is within their ‘escape’ and connects with them in a way that improves their mood, you’ll more than likely be easily remembered when your goods or services are wanted or needed. It’s worthy of your evaluation.
‘Keeping up to date with news/the world’ is the top reason people come to Twitter and LinkedIn, and this to me shows an appetite for knowledge of current events and a need for people to engage with like-minded people in the world…or inversely, engaging with those whose opinions differ from their own (read: troll/argue/debate). There is a need for your messaging to be up to date/timely with what is going on in the moment and to showcase how your product/service solves a problem that makes the consumer’s world better in these moments, especially when marketing on platforms users come to for news updates. News becomes history a LOT more quickly these days than it used to.
For ‘Follow/find information about products and brands…’ LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter followers expect to be marketed to on these platforms at various levels. In fact, they WANT to be, it’s in the Top 3 reasons people come to those platforms. (It’s also the #1 reason people visit Pinterest and #3 on Reddit) As they say, “Give the people what they want.” Twitter and Instagram followers want funny/entertaining content, whereas LinkedIn followers expect a more serious/business leaning information-based interactive platform. Same ingredients (content), different measures (tone).
Bottom Line: Your content must fit the mindset of your followers on each individual platform. Develop content that feels native to the platform, and you’ll succeed.
The GWI SOCIAL research project also breaks out by age groups the reasons they each give for using social media platforms, and this may also be helpful when planning social media messaging and marketing moves. We’ll post about those results on the next Blog…if this one gets enough likes/shares/hearts/comments. 😉
If you need help managing your social media marketing across all platforms, CMOco’s staff can help make your social media work smarter AND harder for you!
– Bruce Thiem, CMOco Director of Integrated Media