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The Most Important Social Media Statistics Small Business Owners Need to Succeed

Catherine Giese

Associate at Fundera
Catherine is an associate at Fundera. She specializes in partnerships and research-driven stories to help small business owners grow and thrive in their industries.

If you’ve done any research on digital marketing for your business, then you’ve likely realized you need to be on social media. You’ve probably also learned that simply having social accounts isn’t enough to execute a successful social media strategy and drive people to your brand.

But what should you really be executing on with your social media strategy to make a difference? There are a lot of opinions out there, so we’ve cut through the noise to deliver the numbers.

Do You Need to Be on Social? And Who’s Your Audience?

First: Do you even need to invest in social media at all? According to a Kantar TNS report, internet penetration in the US is 77%—meaning that answer is most likely a yes. But not every user is the same.

  • Rural communities tend to have fewer internet users, while the main digital consumers tend to be concentrated in urban areas.
  • Do you serve a community of skeptics or optimists? Data breaches and recent political events have instilled a sense of mistrust among Americans.

The takeaway: Whomever you’re serving, know thy audience.

Do Consumers Trust Social Media—or Online Advertising at All?

Coin toss.

  • 25% of people use ad blockers, showing that there’s a small movement against intrusion.
  • 53% of people think that most of the information on social media is unreliable.
  • 49% agree with the statement that “overall, the things brands post on social media are not relevant to me.”  

The takeaway: The most important thing you can do as a small business owner? Listen to your customers, and adjust your tone and messaging if they’re displeased with your approach.

What Do People Spend Time Doing on Social Media?

They’re passively scrolling on Facebook and Twitter and actively engaging on YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram, according to Ignite Social Media. They’re also watching videos. 54% of people outside of China have watched a video on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram.

Here are some other useful stats from Global Web Index’s H1 2018 report:

social-media-statistics

  • 41% are keeping in touch with friends
  • 40% are following the news
  • 37% are trying to laugh
  • 30% are looking for products to buy

social-media-statistics

  • 4 in 10 are following brands

social-media-statistics

  • 1 in 4 are trying to buy something from those brands

The takeaway: Be attention grabbing on Facebook and Twitter and engaging on YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram. More specifically, with 40% of people following the news and 37% looking to be entertained, you should be sharing informative updates and fun content. Deliver value before you drive the sale.

Which Demographics by Age Use Which Platforms?  

Here’s the 2018 breakdown, according to Pew Research Center:

18-to-24-year-olds:

  • Instagram: 71%
  • Snapchat: 78%
  • Twitter: 45%
  • YouTube: 94%
  • Facebook: 80%

The takeaway: This age group tends to use a variety of platforms more frequently than other age groups, so it doesn’t hurt to cover your bases if this is your target audience. Every platform has opportunity, though Twitter is less necessary.

25-to-29-year-olds:

  • Instagram: 53%
  • Snapchat: 54%
  • Twitter: 36%
  • YouTube: 83%
  • Facebook: 80%

The takeaway: YouTube and Facebook are a must, while Instagram and Snapchat come in a close second. Twitter is optional.

30-to-49-year-olds:

  • Instagram: 25%
  • Snapchat: 27%
  • Twitter: 24%
  • YouTube: 80%
  • Facebook: 80%

The takeaway: YouTube and Facebook take the cake again, and it’s an even spread for the rest of the platforms.

50+-year-olds:

  • Instagram: 16%
  • Snapchat: 7%
  • Twitter: 14%
  • YouTube: 56%
  • Facebook: 55%

The takeaway: Only half of this demographic is even on the most popular platforms, Facebook and YouTube. Those are important, but it may also be worthwhile to see where this age group is outside of social media.

The Biggest Takeaways for Small Business Owners

These numbers can help inform you which platforms are best for your brand to invest in as well as how to approach your content strategy given the general reported sentiment. Remember, though, that this is just one look at the landscape—and you’ll always have to factor in your personal experience and intuition, too, to find what works best.

Ultimately, each brand is unique and may find success where the numbers say it shouldn’t. The best thing to do for your brand is to try different strategies and measure them for success. Happy socializing!

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Catherine Giese

Associate at Fundera
Catherine is an associate at Fundera. She specializes in partnerships and research-driven stories to help small business owners grow and thrive in their industries.

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