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  • Writer's pictureJames Cullen

Why Social Media Statistics Can Act as a Branding Pitfall

Social Media Statistics - Are They Any Good?

I’ve seen a lot of social media statistics over my time as a marketing professional and freelance copywriter. Some are somewhat useful, such as those which qualitatively analyse content for each social network. Most are useless. I'm talking about the ones that claim consumers spent 34% of their time on Facebook, or that Twitter's market share has dropped since it's inception. The reason for this is because the method for the statistic is flawed. By comparing Twitter with Whatsapp, Reddit, and LinkedIn, you aren’t really achieving anything. Consumers that are viewing brands on Twitter are likely not going to be the same audience for a brand’s output in LinkedIn, and Whatsapp and Reddit are inherently redundant when it comes to comparing social network use and brands.

What about Dark Social?

Whatsapp trades in dark social media i.e. sharing and commenting that cannot be tracked, so marketers are unaware as to how much or how little proliferation there is for a particular post. The audience for Reddit is wholly different, and to create a Reddit strategy for a brand is to go completely under the radar. Reddit can be a key part of influencer strategy, but it almost boils down to social media espionage with brands infiltrating discussions and finding out what people think of them and pushing an agenda in a very subtle way. So to compare social networks like that is valueless.

Take Care When You Compare

Snapchat may have received a faster uptake and greater revenue burst in its short tenure, while Twitter grew exponentially yet more slowly. But to compare the two, which use very different social media strategies and tactics is redundant. Plus, with the recent happenings, Snapchat’s flourish may have been it’s burning bright but burning fast moment.

Comparing Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram does create more of a level playing field. You can post the same thing on each with the same goal. An image of a product would obviously do better on Instagram to create some product and brand awareness. While Twitter can mobilise the engagement of fans to further brand identity in terms of the product. Facebook can be more straightforward for the more mature audience and of outlining in greater detail.

What Social Media Should I Use?

Choosing the social networks that your brand should be on is completely down to what your brand does and who your brand needs to connect with. If you’re a tutoring service for post-16 study, LinkedIn would be a critical platform to show your expertise in the area and to connect with those who are interested in furthering their careers and who may need your help. If you’re running an online shop for a specific fandom, infiltrating Reddit could not be more useful, although the Reddit audience are extremely savvy. Pinterest works wonders for visual brands such as fashion, food and travel based-companies. But a dairy farm would probably be wasting their time there.

So, what should you do when choosing a social media platform:

  1. Identify your target market, who you want to connect with and who is relevant

  2. Find where your target market are online and research the social media platform

  3. Tailor your strategy to that network while retaining your core brand messages

  4. Develop a blow-by-blow plan and deliver it utilising cross-platform marketing

  5. Monitor for successes and failures taking into account more than just vanity metrics

Each brand or company is a case study in progress and should be dealt with individually and with the care that will ensure they have the best possible outcome on social.

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