The Increasing Importance of Social Media

A new survey showing the vast majority of Americans using social media on a daily basis underscores the growing need for businesses to use social media to reach customers.

The Manifest’s survey of 627 social media users found that 86 percent of Americans use social media at least once a day, and 72 percent use it multiple times per day, mainly with a mobile app or desktop computer.

People use a variety of channels, including Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, and their use of these channels has increased over the past year. 

As consumers increasingly rely on social media, businesses should ramp up their own use of various social media channels. To do this smartly, it is vital for businesses to understand their target customers’ social media habits and preferences to determine how to best reach and appeal to them.

Facebook, which has more than 2 billion active users worldwide, is the platform people use most frequently, including 82 percent who use it at least once a week. YouTube also ranks high, at 75 percent, while Instagram is third, at 53 percent.

Others with heavy usage include Snapchat at 39 percent, Pinterest at 38 percent and Twitter at 36 percent.

YouTube is the social media channel that the largest percentage of survey respondents say they are using more often in 2018 than in 2017. Instagram is close behind, named by 61 percent of respondents.

Given that the average person will spend 5 years of his or her life on social media – more time than they will spend eating, socializing, and grooming-- it is perhaps not surprising that virtually all businesses (99 percent) plan to increase their investment in at least one digital marketing channel in the next year. This includes 64 percent of businesses that plan to spend more time and money on social media marketing in the next year, and 55 percent that plan to do the same with their websites.

In making use of social media to promote your business and connect with customers, quick turnaround times are imperative. It doesn’t do much good to think of a clever tweet two days after a viral moment has passed. Social media moves quickly, and you don’t want to be the person who is always thinking, “What I should have said is such and such”; You want to be the person who actually says it.

It’s also helpful to take a holistic approach to all campaigns that may include more marketing strategies than simply social media. This can include programmatic ads, display ads, public relations and billboards, among others.

Most businesses understand the importance of using multiple digital marketing channels. The most common digital marketing channels businesses use are social media marketing (81 percent), a website (78 percent), and email marketing (69 percent).

Based on the customers a business is trying to reach, it’s important to recognize some of the differences in social media gender preferences identified in The Manifest survey, including how often they use social media, the platforms preferred by men compared to women, and how they tend to access social media.

For starters, a full three-quarters of women (75 percent) use social media multiple times per day, as opposed to 64 percent of males.

Men are much likelier than women to use Twitter at least once per week, by a 51 percent to 28 percent margin.

Men also use Reddit more than women, by a 29 percent to 8 percent margin. But women are more likely than men to use Pinterest, by a 44 to 26 percent margin.

Men and women also have different preferences for how they access social media. Females prefer using mobile apps to access social media (52 percent), while men are more likely to prefer computer web browsers (33 percent).

Preferences aside, the survey shows that most people use a combination of methods to access social media, including mobile apps (67 percent), computer web browsers (57 percent), mobile web browsers (41 percent) and tablet apps (31 percent).

The bottom line is that businesses need to meet their customers where they are, and that increasingly means on social media. Businesses must have a social media strategy.

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