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Do you remember the person who consulted with you about social media and told you that brands are having tremendous success on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest? That's the type of person that you're reaching the most according to a report by NBCUniversal Integrated Media.
The report is designed to show how consumers who are part of GenX and GenY are digesting their influences. It took a split approach to the study which consisted of 2,500 people - 2,000 were average respondents age 18-49 and the other 500 were "digital trendsetters" in the same age group which represent 5% of the national population who are "first adopters" of technology and are highly active on social media.
Could it be that the real people you're actually reaching with social media are the same ones who are telling you that social media can reach people? It sounds like a double-talk question but it's important to understand based upon your business. If you're selling a trendy footwear product or pushing a music discover service, there's little doubt that the trendsetters are the ones you want to be able to hit. What if you're selling cookware? Is social media a valid venue?
The answer is yes and no. On one hand, you have 39% of regular people saying they interact with companies on social media while 67% of the trendsetters are engaging. This means that the people who live on social media are the ones that are accepting the messages being put out by brands and according to the study, that's only 5% of the population. On the other hand, 39% isn't a small amount. It's not ideal, but it seems to be growing.
On average, people are following 27 brands on social media. This might seem like a low number and a challenging group to try to get into if you're selling cookware, but considering that in 2011 the number was 9, we're heading in the right direction.
In the end, it really comes down to what your brand is doing and how successful you can be on social media. It's worth a valid attempt and a bit of effort to see if it's going to work for your brand, but I wouldn't be sinking big chunks of my marketing dollars into social media if my target customer is 55+. While the older generations are starting to get into social media and it's the fastest growing demographic, it's also the one that is least likely to be using social media for anything other than seeing pictures of little Timmy sliding into third base.
Here's a graphic from NBCUniversal that breaks down a good chunk of the findings.
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"Trendsetter" image courtesy of Shutterstock.