In their first guest article for WhichPLM, Skilled.co discuss the rise of social media, and how brands can capitalise on it – including the optimum times to post or tweet, and which platforms to use for recruitment purposes. Skilled.co provide insight into the web development industry, with the aim of improving the web development community as a whole.
Even if you don’t consider yourself to have a social media addiction the chances are that, at some point within the past few years, you have met a fair few people that do. Studies suggest that 18% of the population have to check Facebook for updates every few hours and 85% rely upon Facebook and Twitter for news information. Recent data indicated that 70% of Facebook users log in on a daily basis to ensure that they are updated on the latest posts from their social network. Businesses and corporations are now capitalizing on this to increase brand awareness, influence consumers towards making purchases and even scout potential job candidates.
Social media has permeated interactions and communication worldwide. This is evidenced with many populations around the globe engaging in social media daily. The key populations using social media are in North America with 59% of social media users residing in this continent. North America is followed by South America (50%), East Asia (48%), West Europe (48%), East Europe (45%), Oceania (45%) and Central America (40%). Social media is used in many other regions such as Africa (11%) and Central Asia (6%), but these locations experience significantly less social media usage in comparison. In total, social media users comprise 31% of the global population. People around the world use social media to communicate with each other; it is also relied on to stay up to date with current affairs and to receive regular updates about new products and services provided by their favourite brands.
A key feature of social media is that users can subscribe to their favorite celebrities. Users can feel connected to celebrities through reading and adding comments to their posts, tweets, and photos. It is becoming popular for brands to utilise celebrities and popular social media users to promote their products or services. This enables the brand’s content to be seen by the desired demographic.
However, working with celebrities and using sponsored posts is not enough to ensure success when incorporating social media into your business. It is important for businesses to have knowledge of the optimal times to post content on social media. Another key factor for companies to take into consideration is utilising hashtags and current trending topics. The incorporation of these three things boasts a higher chance of content being seen by the desired targeted audience. In today’s digital world, advertisements and sponsored posts are increasing in appearances on a variety of social media sites and platforms. To catch the attention of social media users, businesses have to consider which strategy to employ so that their marketed content does not get scrolled past. This can be particularly challenging in some instances where users are provided with the opportunity to remove ads with paid subscriptions, such as with YouTube Red.
This is not to say that social media platforms are untouchable or do not have their unique set of challenges and compromises. Twitter was launched in July of 2006 and experienced significant growth in 2009. Twitter has since lost users, as noted by Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo. The recent closure of the popular social media site Vine has further demonstrated that even when a popular platform is still actively used by its members, there is the potential for the site to lose its value. For this reason, it is important for business professionals to choose wisely when investing in marketing campaigns and other elements of social media involvement. Social media should not become a company’s primary resource for customer engagement. It can be used to create a balanced aspect of interaction with customers, potential clients and other professionals within the industry.
Social media can be a helpful tool for professionals who are looking to network, build relationships and recruit and seek employment. It is important to understand the variation of demographics across different social media platforms, especially when targeting professionals in particular niches or age groups. It was found that 83% of Facebook users are actively seeking jobs, while only 40% and 36% of users on Twitter and LinkedIn are searching, respectively. To target potential employees over the age of 45, Facebook and LinkedIn are the social media platforms to use; Twitter is the best platform to use when targeting millennials. Although 40% of Twitter users are actively seeking employment, the platform does not make it easy for job seekers or potential employers to find profiles related to certain niches or interests. Furthermore, due to the character limits on Twitter, it is simpler to communicate outside of Twitter.
It is worth noting that in terms of professional networking and job seeking, these top three social media sites are primarily referenced. There may be individuals actively seeking work through social media networks like Instagram, Pinterest or Google Plus. The setup and interface of these platforms make professional networking less convenient in comparison to options such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Pinterest lacks a proper messaging system if you want to communicate with other users on the site and Google Plus, although populated, has still struggled to be as popular as Facebook. Most professionals choose to use Facebook over Google Plus if given the choice. This is not only due to its familiarity, but also because of the ease of access in communicating with other individuals. Networking via Instagram is not uncommon, but can be equally challenging due to the various user settings associated with direct messaging. With the right combination of settings, someone that you have messaged regarding networking via Instagram might never even realize your message is in their inbox if the app does not provide them with the notification. Just as demographics play a role in marketing, they also play a role in networking and brand awareness.
Taking into consideration the above aspects, it can be seen that social media has defined its place within business and marketing. There are companies that struggle to incorporate social media into their approach and many that are hesitant to get involved. In today’s society, social media has become the norm and has become a new platform in which people turn to for information and interaction. Businesses that master social media strategies early on will further secure their place in this new digital age and with the future generations to come.