Over the past six months and into the foreseeable future, the way people use the internet continues to change dramatically. From working at home, to schooling, to how we connect with each other, the pandemic has pushed everyone to live a lot of their lives online.
This shift in consumer behavior will cause marketers to look more closely at how they use social media to more effectively reach their best prospects.
In a report released in July by the Ryerson Social Media Lab authored by Anatoliy Gruzd and Philip Mai, there is a good overview of where Canadians may be spending their online social media time.
Some of the highlights from the report indicate that Facebook remains the most popular platform at 83 per cent of online users, with messaging apps coming second, at 65 per cent, YouTube a close third at 64 per cent followed by Instagram at 51 per cent.
Further along the list the numbers for Twitter (42 per cent), Pinterest (40), Snapchat (27) and Reddit (15 per cent), all the way down to WeChat, at seven per cent, show just how fragmented social media can be. And the list goes on.
However, of greater interest for marketers is where the report demographically breaks down just exactly who is using each of the platforms. This is crucial to making decisions on just where time and energy should be spent in trying to reach a company’s target group or groups.
For example, the report states that while Facebook usage remains about the same for age groups over 34, the users aged 18-34 has dropped drastically, from 95 per cent to 84 per cent, indicating that younger adults are likely moving to other platforms.
Also highlighted is the fact that women have adopted Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and messaging apps in higher proportions than men. On the other hand, men have adopted YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Reddit in higher proportions than women.
The Ryerson report is not the only information out there in which to help make marketing decisions. Statista a Global Business Data Platform reports that there are 27.88 million social network users in Canada, with a projected rise to just over 32 million by 2025.
They also highlight the fact that different generations are drawn to different social media platforms, which is determined by what type of content they prefer and what they hope to gain from their online experience.
The pandemic has also suddenly shown how reliant we have become to working and learning from home. The growth in usage of such platforms as Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams are pointing us in a new direction in terms of work habits and even office space.
The reality over the next few years is that until COVID-19 comes under some kind of control, there are going to be a variety of ups and downs that will impact the business environment. The one thing we do know is that social media will become an even more important marketing tool. Getting a handle on how it can work for you is crucial to your success.
Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email email@example.com