Which social platforms should businesses use in 2019?
By now social media should be a cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy. The opportunities it offers to engage with, hear and, yes, sell to your target audience makes social an invaluable weapon in your arsenal.
However, with an ever growing number of platforms to choose from, it’s not always obvious which is right for your business (Hint: establishing a presence on every single one isn’t the way to go).
Even if your business is already set up with successful social media accounts, we’d ask you to consider the following:
- 2018 was the year that Facebook announced its giant algorithmic update, making it harder for your brand to be heard
- 2018 was the year of GDPR
- 2018 was the year IGTV went global
- 2018 was the year Instagram introduced shoppable media
See what we’re getting at? Things change in the world of social media, and fast. What worked last year might not achieve the same results in 2019. Consistently reviewing your approach is the best way to maximise the potential of social.
The good news? We’ve done the research that will help you plan for 2019. This article will give you the facts and figures on the top performing platforms, the need to knows on this year’s newcomers, as well as some questions to ask yourself when whittling down your shortlist.
The big guns
Once the undisputed ruler of social media land, recent years have seen Facebook’s competition really turn up the heat.
The numbers: As of September 2018, 60 per cent of Australians* have active Facebook profiles. Kiwis are even more keen with a whopping 73 per cent using the site**.
Key demographics: Globally, active Facebook users tend to be in the 25-34 age bracket, and overall there are more male than female profiles, according to Statista.
Which businesses should use Facebook? To put it simply, all of them. While Facebook is generally thought to be a B2C forum, every organisation should have a presence.
Top tip: Make use of video content this year. This medium is on the up, and live videos in particular, provide an authentic, in-the-moment way of sharing.
*All stats on Australian social media use are pulled from Vivid Social.
** All stats on New Zealand social media use are pulled from Statista.
YouTube is Facebook’s biggest competitor for our attention, and its ascendancy shows no sign of stopping.
The numbers: YouTube has overtaken Facebook as New Zealand’s social platform of choice, with 74 per cent of the population using it. Attracting 15 million unique Australian visitors per month, the video sharing site also carries serious clout north of the Tasman.
Key demographics: The key age group here has traditionally been younger, with the largest single category being 18-34, says research from Google/Nielsen. That said, the 35+ and 55+ age brackets are currently the fastest growing. Again, men slightly outnumber women here.
Which businesses should use YouTube? If driving organic traffic to your website is a key goal for your social strategy, YouTube is a brilliant option. Snappy and entertaining videos, with a relevant call to action, can grab the attention of your target audience, and turn them on to your brand.
Top tip: This year is predicted to swing towards micro influencers. While they have far fewer followers than the likes of Huda Kattan and Zach King, those who subscribe to their channels are generally highly invested.
Two large rollouts in 2018 (the introduction of IGTV and shoppable media), have given marketers new ways to exploit the potential of the popular photo and video sharing platform.
The numbers: In Australia, Instagram comes in behind Facebook and Youtube, boasting 9 million monthly active users. This position is mirrored in NZ, with 35 per cent of the population owning an account.
Key demographics: Over 70 per cent of the world’s Instagram users are under 35 years old, with 18 to 34 again representing the key demographic, according to Statista. There’s a 50:50 split between male and female users.
Which businesses should use Instagram? It’s a common misconception that you need a visual product if your business is to be successful on Instagram. Rather, creativity is the order of the day.
Instagram is great for businesses who want to build their brand recognition by posting fun, and engaging imagery, while also establishing a community by responding to customers’ questions and comments.
Top tip: On all platforms the use of stories is only increasing in popularity. In fact, some believe that these will eventually overtake the newsfeed as the primary way of sharing on social media.
Snapchat has been somewhat overlooked by businesses in previous years, but its popularity is making it increasingly hard to ignore.
The numbers: While there isn’t reliable data available for New Zealand, Snapchat has 6.3 million active monthly users in Australia, rounding out the top four platforms.
Key demographics: Females are more active on Snapchat then males, holding a majority of 59 per cent. (Statista) The audience is also particularly young, Snapchat is the most popular platform for 12 to 24 year olds, according to Edison Research.
Which businesses should use Snapchat? Snapchat is about authenticity, so better suits brands who are willing to show behind the curtain, over those with strict corporate messaging. It’s also a great way to demonstrate the fun side of your business or tease your newest release.
Top tip: Embrace geofilters. These are cheap and effective ways of getting your branding in front of users.
Twitter has seen a slight a revival recently, thanks in no small part to a certain political leader. Despite never quite recapturing its former glory, it certainly still holds a place at the marketing table.
The numbers: An average of 4.7 million Australians, and over one million New Zealanders, click on the little blue bird every month.
Key demographics: Twitter is used far more heavily by men than women (Statista), and the age-spread of members is interesting, with a mixture of millennials and older users.
Which businesses should use Twitter? Twitter is a good option for B2C companies to share updates on their products and services. It’s also become an essential customer service channel for taking on board and responding to feedback.
Top tip: Social listening is set to become even more important, and here Twitter excels. Tools like Tweetdeck make it easy to search for brand or keyword mentions, perfect for identifying pain points and even potential leads.
LinkedIn is still the go-to platform for professionals and B2B companies, and this look set to continue in 2019.
The numbers: There are roughly 4.5 million active monthly Australian users on LinkedIn, and 22 per cent of Kiwis also have an account.
Key demographics: As with Twitter, men are more heavily represented on LinkedIn, representing 57 per cent of users. The largest single age bracket is 25-34, and overall 63 per cent of members are aged 25 to 54, says MarketingMojo.
Which businesses should use LinkedIn? LinkedIn is a platform for B2B companies. This is the perfect forum for posting industry specific content, and for building relationships with potential leads and influencers through InMail, LinkedIn Groups and by following their feeds.
Top tip: Keep a close eye on which posts your followers are engaging with. As platforms aim to become more personalised, what appears on your users’ feeds will be based increasingly on what they interact with.
Predicting which new social media platforms will be successful for businesses in 2019 is a risky affair, but we’ll stick our necks out:
An easy way to share photos, TV, music, books and movies, Vero is a challenger to Instagram.
Perhaps the platform’s biggest USP is the way that users can choose to share content with either ‘close friends’, ‘friends’, ‘acquaintances’ or ‘followers’. You also have the option to group posts according to subject matter – i.e. places or books.
The platform doesn’t allow advertising, but offers marketers a great opportunity for social listening – building up a broader picture of customers’ interests.
While this may sound like an alternative to Spotify, Musical.ly is more in the mould of Snapchat and Vine.
It focuses on video content lasting 15 seconds to one minute, and allows creators to add soundtracks and effects to their visuals. Due to the modern emphasis on live content, it’s no surprise that Musical.ly also offers the option to create shorter “live moments”.
If you plan to emphasise video as the way forward for promoting your brand (and we highly recommend that you do), Musical.ly might be the outlet you’re looking for.
Questions to ask yourself
With these facts and figures fresh in your brain, here are a few questions to help you make a decision on the best social media platforms for your business in 2019:
- Who is your target audience? As we’ve seen, different platforms cater more to different demographics. You also need to consider whether you’re B2B or B2C, or a mixture of both.
- What is the goal of social media for your organisation? Are you looking to raise brand awareness or do you want to engage in conversations with your customer base? Video and photo based platforms hold great potential for the former, while Twitter and Facebook are great for listening and responding to customers.
- Is your industry known for this platform? If you’re the only representative from your industry on a given platform, you may want to take a raincheck. Either all of your competition is missing a trick, or you should reevaluate your consumer research.
- What content do you want to post? Knowing where to direct your content will stop you wasting valuable time and money. Look at what content is receiving the most positive interactions (and where it is), and tailor your future posts accordingly.