Blog Post

Consumer Patterns Around Social Media Sharing


Understanding social media and social sharing trends is extremely important for business owners and marketers. There seems to be a lot of data on how people are using social media; hence, Adam and Chad wanted to take this opportunity to break down these insightful social media and social sharing stats. Watch this Daily Brown Bag, you’ll learn which social media website has the highest percentage of consumers that are participating in social sharing and what topics are being discussed on mobile versus on the desktop. We also share fascinating data on how people use social media, which can help marketers and our SEO reseller community to harness this knowledge on social when they’re in meetings with clients and prospective clients.

Also available on YouTube.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today we're going to be talking about some interesting new stats on social media sharing behavior. I'm Chad Hill, and I'm joined by Adam Stetzer.

Good afternoon. Welcome to the Brown Bag. We've been talking about social media for years, Chad, and there's lots of data. Every year, it seems like there's even more data, and we're trying to get our arms around it, of course, how people use social media and how marketers and our SEO reseller community can harness this knowledge and consult with their clients. So we have a lot of data here to try to plow through today, Chad, try to make some sense of this.

We're covering a Pew Research Institute study with a whole lot of new stats that I think are pretty interesting. First opener here is 73 percent of adults in the U. S. use social media networking sites. So penetration as we've been covering for years growing, growing, growing even bigger. Facebook is no surprise. It's still the dominant player here with 71 percent of online adults using Facebook, which is really just astounding if you think about it. But 42 percent of adults, Chad, are now using multiple sites. They go to multiple social media networking sites on a regular basis, which is also pretty astounding because things are not simplifying. They're getting even more complex. So this study's really interesting.

Some other folks are chiming in with data as well. ShareThis has just put out a quarterly look on social network sites, and they're looking at all sorts of interesting things including the spikes and trends of usage for social media sharing around different events. I know we're reviewing this right before the Brown Bag here, but they studied nine of the most multiple events from July to September. This includes the Isis conflict flare-up in the Middle East, Ferguson, Burning Man, the iPhone 6 Launch, Shark Week, NFL, the earthquake in Napa. They're just trying to understand where people go and when and what topics they like to discuss. The conclusion seems to be Facebook is still where people want to concentrate their time in general. 71 percent of sharing happens on Facebook. The number 2 is Twitter with 21 percent and Reddit's pulling up as number 3 with 6 percent.

But those social media sharing trends don't always hold 100 percent consistent, and it seems, Chad, that each social media channel lends itself to different topics and different areas of interest. We see that Breaking News is consistently on the Twitter side versus deeper concentrations continue to happen and persist longer on Facebook. Then, this social media sharing data gets even more interesting when you start to dive into, and we don't have time for all the details, mobile versus desktop, certain conversations like to happen there. News and politics, for example, happen more on the desktop. So what do we make of all this, and how can we sort this out and give some takeaways?

Well, I think, unfortunately, it means that you really can't use the said-it-and-forget-it type of approach, which is really what I think a lot of, especially small businesses, are hoping for. That there's some formula that they can just follow and it works. But, I think what you're reporting is that, that doesn't really exist. There's lots of nuances here about hours of the day, what kind of activity it is, and so, you know, we're really sort of confronted here as small business owners, in our case and in many of our clients' case of what do we do. So I think that the main thing is that we have to figure out where our audience really is, and we have to figure out, you know, how we can participate in that audience. You can't be all things to all people. If your audience tends to be more of a Facebook sharing, and I think you shared some good stats on where a lot of that initial social media sharing behavior happens, then maybe you need to focus more on your Facebook strategy and you may take away time for Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, or one of the other guys. But, if you have a very visual product, maybe Pinterest is the place you need to be concentrating when it comes to social media sharing. I think really what it means is you just need to, again, figure out the audience, where they are, and stick to that.

The other thing is don't ignore the idea that there are these mobile and second screen opportunities, meaning that people are watching the television, and they're using social media, tweeting along. Maybe there's opportunities and ways for you to participate in the social media sharing phenomena that people are now actually having a more interactive viewing experience. It's a way your brand or business can tag along and participate in social media sharing about what's happening on during some cooking show, if you're a local restaurant, or if you're a local grocery store or something. So, anyway, there's a lot of interesting ideas on social media sharing, and, unfortunately, as you said, Adam, it's only getting more complex. We've got to continue to search for the answers here and boil it down, but I think our advice today is to focus on and track your audience's social media sharing behavior, and don't use the set-it-and-forget-it strategy.

And I think, Chad, for our SEO reseller community, this social media sharing data is potentially good news. It means the role for the digital marketing consultant is even more important as this gets more complex and there's more layers to the data. I guess there's two sides of the coin. Those resellers need to learn and understand the dynamics of social media sharing, so they can be a good consultant during the sales process and telling them where they should be putting their money and their emphasis for social media, but it means that they can really have a trusted advisor role. So, perhaps an opportunity for us to go more in-depth on some of these things and do some more training for those watching the videos. Well, I appreciate you joining us today. We always want your comments, and we always beg for your subscription. We'll see you tomorrow.