Vende Buzz: New news on social media news

by Ray Larson
  |  June 8, 2016  |  
June 8, 2016

Social media stats are important in knowing where to put time and money for marketing but the environment is rapidly changing so keeping up is difficult.  The most recent, overview of social media statistics came from Pew Research in 2015 – but were about the year ending 2014.  In case you aren’t counting – that’s two years.

Since then, Google plus has fallen off significantly and the platform is no longer being pushed.  Google also unlinked user profiles from YouTube and other applications so businesses don’t have to use a Gmail account to sign up.  Twitter and LinkedIn use have gone flat and the top three now include Facebook (of course), Instagram, and Pinterest.  Younger users have made Snapchat number one in the teen category.

In addition to demographics and penetration, every platform has also changed up operations with new algorithms and new features including ad platforms.  Fortunately for those of us using social media marketing, Pew has issued a new report. It isn’t comprehensive but still provides some new info.

The most recent report is about news – quite timely after the Facebook “scandal” in which the platform was accused of monkeying with their newsfeed algorithm.   The takeaway is that the majority of U.S. adults get news on social media – 62% in fact.  This isn’t just social media “users” – it is all adults.  Remember that about 80% of all adults are on social media, which means that only a few people don’t get news there.

Some of us get most, if not all of our news on social media and about half use more than one platform.  Naturally, Facebook leads the pack – about two-thirds of FB users get the news there (which makes the impartiality subject really important) or equivalent to 44% of all adults.  Twitter ranks high with 6 out of 10 users checking out the news – translating to 16% of the population.  News access has grown on every social media platform and once again – Facebook is the winner with over 30 percent growth.  In addition, about half to two-thirds of users on every site get the news without looking for it…they “happen upon it”.

The news on social media news doesn’t stink at Pew Research.

What’s the point?

First – know that when it comes to statistics, Pew Research is pretty much incontrovertible.  They do research on everything and like other surveys – they aren’t biased, reporting the facts – good or bad.  If you want know the real story – look to Pew for real data.  For you as a business, they have an ongoing study in social media use and this recent report hopefully means that we will get updated usage figures soon.

Second – Seeing these numbers, is it any surprise that actual news sites like dying-but-not-dead Yahoo, WSJ, HuffPo and others are losing a grip?  Since a growing number of people are using mobile to access the internet, most people use apps rather than a browser – and one can only use so many apps.  It is way too annoying to jump from app to app – so they just get it through the social media site.  For business – social media is where your ad budget should be going.

Third – You probably get tired of hearing it (we do) but Facebook is still the king.

Twitter – good news – at least we think so

No, Twitter’s stock hasn’t taken a jump, and their numbers haven’t gone up either but still – good news…at least for us.

It has been about a year since Twitter-founder Jack Dorsey returned to the helm.  Since then, multiple execs have left, stock has plummeted, user growth has flattened, and Twitter has issued a number of edicts which have seemed kind of like a chicken with no head (if you haven’t ever seen a headless chicken, trust us – it’s gross!), they have been flapping and flopping with no direction.

None of these changes have had a big impact and some have made people downright angry.  Everyone hates algorithms – Twitter got one, members were unpleasantly surprised when newly introduced auto-run videos ate up a lot of phone data, Shopping on social media hasn’t really taken off but Twitter introduced the “Buy Now” button … and probably the biggest change was just a rumor, until now.

A few months ago – the word was that Twitter was going to abandon the 140 character limit…some said up to 10000 characters – some said “no limit”….wait for it…wait for it…boom, outright condemnation from every corner.  Part of the appeal of Twitter has been the tight space.  You know: Be succinct with tweets.  Get to the point.  Grammar police need not apply.  Punctuation is overrated.

Despite that appeal, photographs, @usernames and links have sucked up a good bit of that character count – leaving even less for messaging.

Well, they finally did something about it – and it’s really the best of both worlds.  The 140-character limit is still in place – but – photos and @usernames don’t count anymore, meaning you can post more photos, and tag more people.  You still have 140 characters for your message.

Get the character count straight from Twitter.

Point is:

Tweets should still be succinct so get to the point quickly.  Some statistics show that character count should be way less than 140 characters for maximum response – but you have a bit more room than before.   You still need to use a url shortener like bitly.com or owly.com but now you can use some of those exciting adjectives you had to abandon.

you can also include GIFs and Videos at “no charge” in character count.  This might make your social media plan a little easier.

Oh -and we didn’t mention it but no one will be shopping on Twitter (they weren’t anyway) because they ditched the “Buy now” button.  A Twitter “store” probably wasn’t in your plans but cross that off your list just in case.

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