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11 Surprising and Helpful Statistics About Social Media Marketing

Katherine Hunter-Blyden
Katherine Hunter-Blyden

Social media changes how people interact with brands. Here are some key statistics on trends in social media and how you can take advantage of them.

Social media has become integral to society. Billions of people worldwide use social media, which means there are many potential customers for your brand on these sites. Whether you are new to the game or well versed in social media, here are 11 surprising statistics that can help you better navigate social media marketing.

1. Half of the planet is on social media.

There are 3.6 billion people on social media worldwide. That is nearly half of the world's population. That number is predicted to increase to 4.4 billion in just five years. Social media reaches so many people that it is wise to consider a digital marketing strategy that contemplates at least one of the social media platforms. While there is no need to be on every popular social media site, you should determine which platform is right for your business and integrate it into your marketing plans. Social media allows small businesses to advertise alongside multinational corporations, so every business must study the benefits of social for their organization.

2. The average person spends three hours a day on social media.

It is not just the sheer volume of people on social media that makes these platforms powerful. They are sticky too. The average person spends three hours a day on social media. Typically, this time is intermittent throughout the day, with most users accessing social media from their smartphones. Consider how your outreach and promotions fit into consumers' bite-size chunks of daily consumption on mobile devices.

3. Workday afternoons are prime time on Instagram.

According to a HubSpot blog post, across all industries, Instagram's traffic increases immediately following the lunch hour (about 1 p.m.) and at the end of the workday (about 5 p.m.). These peaks are prime times for users to check their feeds. The lull of a Friday is another hot time to be on Instagram.

While more consumers are available during these times, advertising rates are also likely to increase during these peak hours. Though it is possible to increase your reach, as more traffic is online during these hours, you may see an increase in cost per click (CPC) as competition for users increases. If you have a tight marketing budget, you may want to avoid prime time to maximize cost efficiency.

4. LinkedIn users are more likely to be college graduates.

More than half of the users on LinkedIn are college graduates. This statistic is not surprising, given that professional recruiters are a large subset of the advertisers on the platform. In fact, LinkedIn has the highest number of users with college degrees among social media sites. Many advertisers on LinkedIn are large corporations that are willing to pay top dollar to reach the platform's user base, often hiring candidates. This may lead to higher advertising costs on LinkedIn than on other social media.

The cost-to-price trade-off should be one of your main considerations. Given the relatively high costs of advertising on LinkedIn, the medium may be a better advertising channel for higher-priced products and services.

5. Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement.

When posting to Facebook, make sure a relevant image accompanies any text you plan to share, because posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement than posts without. You will get more engagement at the time you post and when Facebook users visit your timeline. Posts with images are also more easily boosted with Facebook advertising. While the media giant no longer has the restrictions it once had on text-to-image ratios, the company consistently warns that too much text in an ad will lead to fewer impressions. Be mindful of text-to-image ratios when using organic or paid advertising on Facebook.

6. Two-thirds of users make a purchase after seeing a social media ad.

Consumers are making purchase decisions based upon what they find on social media. Further, they are more likely to purchase from brands they follow. There is an important distinction here. You can reach nearly any user on a social media platform, but a consumer is more likely to make a purchase from a brand they follow. It is important to post regularly and consistently on your social media account to stay top of mind with your followers. Your brand – and sales – depend on it.

Consider that consumers use social media to research products and get product recommendations from friends, family and peers. Your posted content should support research, reviews and sharing from those who have purchased from you in the past.

7. 90% of Instagram users follow a business account.

According to Instagram, 90% of users follow a business account. This suggests that users have accepted that brands are on the platform and willingly engage with them. The key to engagement is to connect with the right client on the right platform. Your content should speak to the audience you are trying to reach. You must also consider how you are able to reach the customer on each social media site. For instance, Instagram and Pinterest rely heavily on images to drive engagement. If you are in the service industry and have an account on either platform, share visually relevant images with your followers. Similarly, consider how users engage on other social media sites, and match and manage your content so that it is appropriately delivered.

8. Nearly 80% of social media consumption happens on a mobile device.

Given that smartphones have become an appendage for many consumers, brands have direct and frequent access to users on social media. In fact, nearly 80% of users are on mobile devices. This does not mean you should post incessantly, as there are best practices to follow on each platform. On Facebook and Instagram, unless you are a news outlet or other media publication, posting once or twice per day is sufficient. On LinkedIn, for most brands, posting content once per day (at most) is optimal. On Twitter and Pinterest, you can easily tweet or pin 5-10 times per day.

9. Women still dominate Pinterest.

Despite Pinterest's efforts to make its platform a more gender-diverse social media site, an overwhelming majority of its users are women, and these women power household buying decisions in the U.S. According to SproutSocial, "Pinterest reaches 83% of women ages 25-54." If you want to reach this contingency of purchasers, you need to brainstorm if and how the Pinterest platform can enhance your brand.

There are several ways to interact with others on Twitter. You can like, comment, share or retweet, but, according to marketing guru Neil Patel, clicking on tweet links accounts for 92% of all interactions. While including a hashtag or two is common on Twitter, sharing a relevant link is a great way to drive traffic from the social site to your website. Ideally you should include text; a relevant image, GIF or video; one or two hashtags; and a link on each branded tweet.

11. More than 70% of users share positive experiences on social media.

A consumer who has a good experience with a brand on social media will likely tell others about it. You can encourage this sharing by asking consumers for feedback regularly and giving them tools to share their experience on social. Make social media a powerful tool that reinforces your online and offline brand experience.

Image Credit: DMEPhotography / Getty Images
Katherine Hunter-Blyden
Katherine Hunter-Blyden Member
Katherine Hunter-Blyden is the founder of KHB Marketing Group, a strategic marketing consultancy. With over 20 years experience in marketing, Katherine develops integrated traditional and digital marketing plans, including email, search and social media marketing, for her clients.