Further evidence is mounting that younger users of Facebook are on the decline while other social networks are growing rapidly. This is significant news for brands and marketers, as they try to better understand the social media habits of their target audiences.
According to Global Web Index Social: Q3 2014.
- 45% of teens (16 – 19 years old) are less interested in Facebook than they used to be.
- 37% said they were bored with Facebook.
- 18% said Facebook is no longer as cool as it once was.
Facebook is also the only network which has seen a drop in active usage among 16 – 24 year olds during 2014; although it’s a very small one (-0.5%), it needs to be viewed in the context of all other networks posting substantial increases among this audience.
- Tumblr (up by 120%), followed by Pinterest (111%) and Instagram (64%) are the fastest growing social platforms in 2014.
- Instagram and Tumblr have the youngest audiences – more than 70% of their users being 16 – 34. In contrast, Facebook has the oldest user base; 25% of its active users are aged 45+.
Active social network and active app users aged 16-64, Q3 2014 (Source: GWI 2014)
The idea of Facebook losing its appeal among millennials is nothing new. I mean, what’s cool about hanging around in the same social presence as your parents, in the eyes of an adolescent or hipster?
In the midst of all this, it does raise some interesting points for brands and marketers:
- Why is social activity shifting towards other platforms?
- How can you amplify user engagement about your brand across these platforms?
- How do you harness and centralize multi-network engagement?
What’s causing the shift?
It’s no secret that Facebook organic reach has been plummeting for some time, (and due a further fatal blow in January 2015), therefore, there’s less clout for most brands to promote content and drive traffic to owned channels. Moreover, social behavioral shifts, such as boredom, lack of interest, and uncoolness, including multiple screen usage suggest audiences are seeking a wider range of engaging content across multiple platforms to satisfy their needs.
And, although Facebook holds a contingent of older audiences, this demographic is moving across a plethora of networks – often choosing those trending with younger audiences, and those dependent on the type and relevance of media content they prefer to explore, create, use and share.
Lead your target audience towards a social hub
While multi-networking is flourishing, with users generating more content than ever, brands have increased opportunity to drive traffic towards their own channels, and subsequently be more experiential and targeted in their marketing.
Brands should be aggregating and curating the best user generated content across multiple platforms which resonates with their target audiences. Then utilizing this earned content by embedding it into social hubs on their websites, microsites and social apps. When this has been established, the onus for brands is to increase engagement and drive sales. Try taking these 4 steps with your social hub and see how you get on.
Incentivize your social hub
Encourage your audience to create more original content featuring your brand by embedding promotions into social hubs. Ask people to write reviews, take part in polls or post videos and photos via hashtags, forms or content uploads. A great example of this can be seen on the latest Microsoft Lumia #MakeitHappen campaign encouraging users to post New Year’s resolution messages to its own social hub.
Monetize your social hub
Research shows that user-generated content has the most influence over purchase decisions. Capitalize on this by making the social content you collect and publish to your website’s social hubs ‘shoppable’ by featuring contextual calls to action alongside featured products. Then link to your storefront, product page or wherever else you wish.
Use competitions and gather actionable data
Encourage user generated content alongside competitions and sweepstakes on your social hub and gather rich consumer data, detailed demographics and campaign opt-ins along the way. Then integrate this data with other data sources in a single data warehouse for retargeting and segmentation.
User-generated content with paid media
Use your social hub engagement and click rate metrics to your advantage by displaying native-style advertising formats featuring user generated content; giving your paid media more credibility and authenticity.
By proactively recognizing and reacting to changing trends and behaviors amongst your target audience, and harnessing user generated content and engagement across multiple platforms, brands are able to hone social insights and show an inclusive and collaborative understanding of their audience. By taking this approach, their sites become effective social hubs with heightened user journeys, better user experience, and fundamentally help to increase engagement metrics, sales and ad revenue.
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