Pew Research released an excellent report about social media usage. There’s a lot to digest, from demographics to individual network usage, but one set of facts stood out. Take a look at this chart of which social networks people use in combination:
In the last column, the green one, take note that the vast majority of users of every other social network also use Facebook. Facebook is the social glue, the starting point, the lowest common denominator of social media. Why? Facebook touches half of the Internet-connected human race.
Look at that relationship in reverse, Facebook users who also use other networks (bottom row). At best, 1 in 3 users of Facebook use another social network, of the major networks listed. There are millions of Facebook users who have not adopted other major platforms yet.
Also take note of the synergy between Twitter and Instagram, the top left corner of the chart. Half of the users of each platform use the other platform.
What does this data mean for your social strategy? Facebook won the social wars. It’s the default platform. Any social strategy must incorporate Facebook’s enormous reach, even if that requires paid media.
Second, the interactions between networks means that your social media strategy must be multi-channel and integrated. If you’re active on Instagram, you’ll want to engage on Twitter as well. You’ll want to engage on Pinterest. You’ll want to build community on Facebook. Social networks are not a zero-sum game; users are active on more than one network.
Third, if you’re looking to build out a platform other than Facebook, consider Facebook as a starting point. Users of every other platform also use Facebook, but the reverse is true only 1/3 of the time. Targeted outreach with earned media, reinforced by paid media, could build out a secondary social network.
For example, suppose you had a Pinterest account for a retail store. Look at your Pinterest analytics for the top 5 items that people share. Take those 5 items, do some work to make compelling images for Facebook, and then create a Facebook campaign for them. Do targeted outreach to influencers in that topic on Facebook. Drive people from Facebook to your Pinterest account. If the content is compelling, you’ll reap new audiences from your efforts.
Finally, multi-channel behavior by social media users means that having multi-channel attribution analytics is critical. Data-driven social media programs must be able to analyze synergy across channels. A Pinterest Pin may be more likely to have interactions with Twitter. An Instagram photo may be more likely to show up on Facebook. Be sure you’ve got great data analysis capabilities to maximize the impact of your social media programs.
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology