Who Sees Your Message on Social Media?

Marketers and company leaders place great emphasis on message, design, graphics and other considerations. But in the digital age, knowing one’s audience may be the most important factor of all.

John McKie, Managing Partner of GodwinGroup, says audience targeting is certainly not new, but one should never assume “social media” is in itself a single audience segment.

“One size does not fit all, and understanding the demographic breakdown of your social media audience is critical to success,” McKie said. “This is especially true if your content is crafted for certain age groups, income-specific or gender considerations.”

A recent Pew Research Center project found that social media use among different audience groups is rapidly changing. Those born into the “texting culture” are entering adulthood, while smartphones, apps and utilities are creating exciting new opportunities for reaching certain audience groups. For example, Facebook remains the most popular social media platform, but it has peaked, with no significant growth since 2012. Younger audiences now dominate channels such as Instagram, which continues to grow in audience size. Likewise, Pinterest since 2012 has doubled its audience among females in nearly all age groups.

“Choosing the right channels for our clients’ content requires understanding the trends and usage patterns among these many audience segments,” said Shailee Bhatt, GodwinGroup’s Director of Digital Marketing and Social Strategies. “It’s definitely a moving target.”

Bhatt also noted that marketers should not count out the slow adopters. The number of senior adults (age 65 and older) using social media has risen dramatically. In 2005, just 2% of senior adults reported using social media, compared to 35% today. Pew reports the changing social media demographics are occurring because people are now seeking channels to serve a particular social need. It’s not just one big campfire any more, and understanding the rapidly changing audience profiles is critical.

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