Social media isn’t an all or nothing proposition. We each have our own favorite platform. Some of us excel at Twitter, while others find their social media voice on Facebook. But no matter how much you love a particular venue, it can be social media suicide to build a platform in only one place.
Here is a list of some of the most popular social media sites, along with the general audience for each.
Facebook: This platform prides itself on being a network that’s socially driven and self-contained. It allows people to connect in an informal setting, using photos, videos, and text content to interact with friends, family, and lastly, businesses. The focus is on person-to-person interactions, not person-to-business. And Facebook defines business as any professional page—that includes authors.
· Median Age: 46-56
· Engagement: driven by how many comments, shares and likes a specific update receives.
Twitter: This began as a text driven platform but has morphed into a platform that relies heavily on images and video to capture attention. Users are encouraged to interact in microbursts of information with a 280-character limit. There is more meaningful interaction than might first be imagined. Hashtags enable users to find and curate valuable content based on topic.
· Median Age: 25-35
· Engagement: driven by hashtags and retweets.
Instagram: This is primarily an image driven platform. Users snap photos, apply special image filters, and even text overlays. They share these images with followers, as well as other social media networks like Facebook and Pinterest. Instagram is currently one of the fastest growing networks and has a huge potential for authors and writers willing to learn the culture and engage regularly. It’s almost a requirement for anyone writing for younger generations.
· Median Age: 18-35
· Engagement: driven by image quality and likes, as well as hashtags.
Pinterest: This platform is an image driven network that allows users to pin images from the web to virtual bulletin boards. In truth it’s more important to consider this a visual search engine rather than a place where users engage in conversation. This platform has taken off in recent months and is the best platform for click-throughs. Users are no longer primarily women. Men and all large brands have a substantial presence here.
· Median Age: 30-45
· Engagement: driven by repins and follows.
YouTube: This video driven platform is a place where users can view, upload, and share videos. Users can create their own channel and subscribe to others as a way of interaction and engagement. This is the single largest search engine online.
· Median Age: depends on content.
· Engagement: driven by subscriptions and shares.
LinkedIn: This is a business platform. Users can strengthen and connect with others within their own sphere of influence. The tone on this platform is generally more formal and business focused than other networks. In the past, it’s been thought to be less valuable for fiction than nonfiction, but that assumption is no longer true. All writers can find on this network.
· Median Age: 30-50
· Engagement: driven by established connections.
Next New Thing: Truthfully, we don’t know what next new platform in this group will be. We only know there will be one. It’s less important to know what it will be, than it is to know how to interact on it. And the basic rules for effective engagement will never change.
1. Remember the WHY.
2. Focus on the relationship.
3. Don’t make it about you.
With social media, things are always in a state of flux. That’s why it’s important to have several pathways to get your social media message out to your audience. Relying too heavily on one network could prove catastrophic when the rules change and you find yourself left without a voice.
Edie Melson is the co-author of the bestseller Social Media for Today’s Writer. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and board member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.