By: Matt Cunard, VGM Forbin
At one time, social media was considered a fad. It would die out in a couple of years, and we’d move on to the next best thing. The same things were said about the Internet; it now plays a larger part in our lives every day.
The same thing can be said about social media. Most of its early adopters were younger high school and college-age kids. Now, millions of parents and even grandparents are getting set up on social media.
The Pew Research Center’s 2014 Social Media Update looked at the usage of social media platforms, and found some very interesting trends:
- More than half of all online adults 65 and older (56 percent) use Facebook; this represents 31 percent of all seniors.
- Among online adults, the percentage of those ages 50-64 who use Facebook increased 3 percent from 2013 to 2014; the percentage of those age 65-plus who use Facebook increased 11 percent from 2013 to 2014.
- Twitter saw the same type of increase. Twitter users 50-64 increased 3 percent, and users age 65-plus increased 5 percent
- The 50-64 and 65+ age groups also saw increases in usage on Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
What does all of this mean? It means a huge percentage of our population is increasing the amount of time they spend online, specifically on social media sites. However, this doesn’t mean you should automatically make a profile on every social media platform available.
Here are a few things to think about when selecting a social network.
Five Considerations When Choosing Social Networks
- Where is your target audience at online? You can use the Pew Research Center to find information, or you can simply ask.
- What are your target audience’s online habits? Again, simply asking may be the best way to find out. Try to frame the question as, “We’re looking to expand online, do you mind if we ask you a few questions?”
- What are your content creation capabilities? Do you have software to edit photos, create graphics or edit video?
- How much time do you have? Being active on social media isn’t a “five minutes here, five minutes there” type of thing. It does take time, so think hard about the free time you have to devote to social media.
- Can you do it yourself? If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, but still want to be active on social media, you have two options: 1) Hire someone if it’s in the budget, or 2) hire one of the many great companies available to post and monitor your page for you.
It’s important to ask yourself these questions to prevent “ghost” social platforms, or platforms you create profiles on and only post to regularly for a short time. They’re like ghost towns: Once promising, but now devoid of any activity.
When it comes to online perceptions of your business, barren social profiles that haven’t been posted to for weeks or months don’t do you any good. That’s why it is key to manage expectations, ask yourself the five questions above and get a strategy in place.
There are many resources about “rocking social media” widely available online. But the best thing you can do is recognize realities
, ask for help
when it’s needed and keep things simple
. This will ensure you can succeed on social media until a new “fad” comes along.