Now that the initial stage of the establishment of social media as an information carrier within society seems largely completed, a status quo can be ascertained. The various platforms, with Facebook at the forefront, have established themselves as important sources of information to many people.
The rise of social media is closely linked to the emergence of mobile devices as a wide-spread consumer product. More and more users are accessing information services through mobile devices. Communication networks like WhatsApp, which started out as messaging apps, see increasing relevance. This, in turn, creates new environments of communication, in which the recipient is potentially permanently available. In terms of timing and conception of content, this requires consideration and a different mode of thinking.
While the early days of social media marketing have been somewhat euphoric and mystifying, a factual basis is now tangible. It can, in fact, be understood now how social media work and which target audiences can be reached through which channel. This marks a great chance to better target campaigns, because a meaningful prognosis regarding the potential outreach can actually be made.
Facebook – Growing basis with people over 50, local differences
Facebook is the largest social network by far and no less dominant in Austria and Germany. Its reach has transformed quite a bit over the past years and saw rising numbers among late adopters, such as people aged 50 and older. The consequences of this development are tangible all over the world in 2016: Whether it’s the US election or the Austrian presidential election, Facebook is attributed with fundamental significance by virtually all commentators. The number of new Facebook accounts has only been rising slowly in Austria recently. Mirroring global tendencies, the potential seems fulfilled among the young while the user base aged 50 and above is growing steadily. The difference between individual nations is interesting to note as well: While in Germany only 50% of online adults use social media, 87% do so in Turkey (as stated by the Pew Research Center). Germany also tops the list in regards to the “age gap” between users aged 18-34 and 35+: While 81% of 18-34 year olds use social media, only 39% do so in the group aged 35 and above. The situation is similar in France, but the gap is substantially smaller in other European countries like Spain or Italy (Data: Pew Research Center). It is a pretty safe assumption that this gap is even more drastic in other social media environments, considering that Facebook is the most popular network by far.
Instagram – Young people and a slight tendency towards female users
Instagram as a platform mostly reaches a young audience. In the US, the audience is mostly under the age of 30 (60%) and slightly leans towards female users (26% of online males vs. 38% of online females). The user base is urban and more likely college-educated (Data: Pew Research Center). Austrians have been adapting slowly to using Instagram, but account numbers have been rising steadily here as well (Data: Social Media Radar). The tendencies within the demographics – slight female majority and mostly young users –are practically identical compared to the US. Instagram is an interesting tool for industries relying on influencer marketing, such as the fashion industry. For artists, photographers and other creatives, Instagram can be a powerful marketing tool as well.
Twitter – Young people with college education and journalists
Twitter has not quite been able to keep up its strong growth rate in regards to the user base. The attainable outreach seems to have reached its potential for the most part. Twitter users are young – with a majority within the age groups of 18-29 and 30-49 – and are likely college-educated (Data: Pew Research Center). The number of active Twitter accounts in Austria seems to float around 150.000. The most followed accounts in Austria (Armin Wolf/ORF and Florian Klenk/Falter) are both journalists – an indicator, showing that Twitter has become an important platform for journalists in particular. In consequence, industries which work naturally with journalists and politicians benefit most from Twitter.
Reaching the target audience on their channel
While creating a campaigning concept and a brand identity, it is vitally important to be aware of the target audience. This process includes considerations regarding where to reach this particular audience best and on which information channels they are present. Evaluating the usage statistics of a given social media environment is a great chance to create perfectly targeted campaigns. You can read more about proper campaign execution and content creation in regards to different channels and their target audience in this article.