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Online Marketing Update: Social Media Trends Small Businesses Should Know

Is your small business using social media as part of your online marketing plan? If you're like most entrepreneurs, you find social media a valuable way to promote your business, attract new customers and raise your profile online. (Plus, it can be a lot of fun.)

With so many changes going on in the world of social media every day, it's important to keep current on how your customers and prospects are using social media. A new report from the Pew Research Center has some useful updates about the latest social media trends. Here's what you need to know.

Social media use is on the rise

The survey asked Internet users about their use of Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and WhatsApp. Compared to past Pew surveys, consumers’ use of each social media network in the survey has grown steadily, although not necessarily dramatically. The most dramatic growth surge was Instagram: 35 percent of respondents overall now use it, compared to 28 percent two years ago.

Overall, Facebook is still the most popular traditional social media platform among all the respondents. Some 60% of all US adults are on Facebook, and it's even popular among "the Olds": 78% of 30-to-49-year-olds, 65% of 50-to-64-year-olds and 41% of those 65 and up use it.

Notice I said Facebook is the most popular “traditional" social media site. You may not think of it as a social media network, but YouTube is actually the most-used of all the platforms in the survey. Nearly three-fourths (75%) of all respondents use it (including 40% of the 65-and-up generation).

All in all, the average adult uses three out of the eight social media sites in the survey — and uses them frequently. Some 74% of Facebook users check it every day (and 51% check it several times a day). Daily use of social media is also a habit for 63% of Snapchat users, 60% of Instagram users, 46% of Twitter users and 45% of YouTube users.

Key takeaways for your online marketing strategy

  • Social media is here to stay, at least for now. Even though 59% of survey respondents claim they wouldn't have any trouble giving up social media, the frequency with which they use it makes that hard to believe. The younger respondents are, the more likely they are to say it would be hard to give up social media — so especially if your target customers are young, it's important to maintain a strong social media presence for your business.
  • Choose the right social channels. Not every demographic is on every social media platform; for example, there are very few men on Pinterest and very few seniors on Twitter. Find out what social media channels your target customers prefer (you can survey them or check out Pew’s detailed breakdown) and focus on those.
  • Think video. Who knew YouTube was quite that popular? Depending on whether it fits your target market, consider adding some videos to your online marketing mix. You can post them on your business website and other social media channels as well as YouTube to get more bang for your buck.
  • Make social media part of an overall lead generation plan. Social media is just one way to drive prospects to your business website and ultimately to your door. Find out how LeadStream can help with all aspects of lead generation and management.

Want more trend talk? Read my post on the latest lead generation trends. Then find out whether this new social network should be part of your marketing plan, and how to get traffic to your business website.

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash