Thursday, February 09, 2017

Social media - talking demographics

Has social media become mainstream? Is there still a role for traditional media, or has that had its day?

Twitter has become a source for breaking news stories, monitored by news organisations, while President Trump appears to even use the microblogging site as an alternative to calling a press conference. Facebook has, or is in my personal experience, becoming colonised by retired people, but that's probably just my generation. Meanwhile, the young audience, the first movers, have moved to websites that are more convenient to post dubious photos, or 'selfies' of themselves and out of sight and displeasure of granny. One way or another, the person posting their latest adventure casts themselves as the 'hero' of the story. Well, I  guess that's OK as a social comment using the platform to keep in touch with friends and relations. For some it has become perhaps the most important channel for keeping in touch.

For business it is a different story. Keeping in touch with clients  and 'warming up' prospects is generally a more serious matter than inviting someone to 'like' you. Certainly for selling to a professional audience. A  question posed several times before asks how does the profile of engineers for example, stack up to the demographics of social media? Pinterest, one of the fastest growing social media sites seems to be more popular with women than men, both in numbers signed up and adding content with food and drink being most popular. Google+ suggests younger users - about 70% under 34 - with about 30% contributing content.  Facebook has a wider age demographic and more evenly spread between men and women with over 30 million people signed up in the UK. LinkedIn, from the start used the social media type platform to build a network of business users. The profile is older with nearly 80% over 21 and males in a majority. So back to Twitter where over two thirds of the 15 million UK signed up contacts are under 34 and big users of smart phones. So still something of a dispersed audience, so it is worth figuring out where your you target audience is hanging out.

The engineering profession still has a large male demographic and one that is probably older than the typical consumer of social media. The 40 to 60 age group anecdotally still seem well represented at exhibitions and trade shows. So which social media platform do they use and why? And above all, how much of your resource should be spent on this channel?

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