Social Media Behavior In 2015

Social Media Behavior in 2015You must incorporate social media into your 2015 marketing plan as an integral element of your content, communication, interaction and promotion.

Concurrently, social networks continue to mature in their own product life cycles becoming serious businesses and media entities that must generate revenues, profits and returns for investors.

Therefore, think like an old school journalist to understand the social media behavior of your audiences. This encompasses your prospects, influencers, customers, users, employees, media, and investors.

Specifically, know the following about each of your key audience’s social media behavior in 2015. These questions are key to developing social media personas that should be updated at least annually.

  • Which social media platforms does your audience belong to?
  • Where is your audience active on social media?
  • When is your audience active on social media?
  • Who does your audience engage with on social media?
  • What content does your audience seek on social media?
  • What information do they share on social media?
  • What type of connected device (desktop, smartphone, tablet or other) do they use?

Based on 170,000 Internet users aged 16 to 64 in 32 markets, Global Web Index data provides broader insight than many other research offerings (including Pew Research’s results that we analyzed last week). It examines behavior globally across a broad cross section of platforms, many of which are often overlooked.

5 Key social media behaviors in 2015

Here are 5 key social media behaviors in 2015 that must be integrated into your plans to effectively leverage the power of these networks to support your marketing cost efficiently. (BTW, here are our 2015 social media predictions with 27 tactics.) Social Media Behavior in 2015

1. Social media network size counts.

Facebook still dominates social media globally based on size. YET, it trails Google+ in the Chinese market.

Globally the Top 4 social media networks in order of size are:

  1. Facebook
  2. Google+
  3. YouTube
  4. Twitter

While not Top 5 social media platforms, LinkedIn and Instagram are in the Top 10 globally (with and without China).

Excluding China, Pinterest, MySpace (a site most marketers considered dead) and Tumblr are Top 10 social media platformsSocial Media Behavior in 2015- Network size chart

Actionable Social Media Tip:

  • Include Facebook in your marketing plans for reach. (Note: We’ve said this before.) Digital markets are smaller and more fragmented than offline media. Therefore, large audiences like Facebook are important to build reach for your message.

2. Social media platform growth dynamics yield surprises.

Don’t limit your social media choices to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ or you may miss significant opportunities.

Both Pinterest and Tumblr increased active users over 95% in 2014.

LinkedIn participation increased. This matters for every type of business, B2B, B2C, not-for-profit and solopreneurs. UMass Dartmouth research focused on the Inc 500 revealed that LinkedIn was the top social media platform.

Actionable Social Media Tips:

  • Showcase your employees.
  • Publish content on LinkedIn Publishing.
  • Form an alumni group on LinkedIn.

Facebook was the only major social network where active usage dropped in 2014. Active Facebook usage declined 9% consistently across regions and age groups.  (To help your marketing, here’s how to deal with reduced Facebook visibility.)Social Media Behavior in 2015 based on network growth

Examining the Top 4 social media networks: Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter, underscores our prediction for video use exploding in 2015. 

Also, if YouTube and Google+ are considered together, they’re giving Facebook a run for their money.

Social MEdia Behavior in 2015- Top 4 platforms

3. Social media usage extends across multiple networks.

No one social media network “owns” your audience’s attention anymore.

To truly understand your key audiences, you must look deeper to appreciate how and why they use each platform.

  • The average Internet user has 5.54 social media accounts and is active on 2.82.
  • 16-24 year olds have the highest average number of social media accounts at 6.6.
  • 24-36 year olds are the active on the largest number of social media networks at 4.2.

Average Number of Social Media Accounts-Global Web Index-2014-Social Media Behavior-2

  • 8% of Internet users visited Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google+ in the past month.
  • One third of Internet users visited YouTube, Facebook and Twitter in the past month.
  • 90% of Facebook visitors also visit YouTube and almost half visit Twitter in the past month.

Multiple social media network usage is one reason total time spent on social media platforms increased from an average of 1.61 hours per day in 2012 to 1.72 in 2014.

Actionable Social Media Tips:

  • Have an active presence on the social media networks where your audience spends their time. Remember prospects need to see your marketing message multiple times before they believe it.
  • Be present when your audience is present, not when you’re at work. At a minimum, schedule your content for viewing when your audience is active. As other research shows, this isn’t necessarily when you’re at work.

4. Social media activity moves to apps.

Social media participants use apps to quickly find and easily dive into their experience.

Apps translate to mobile devices, mainly smartphones and tablets. This implies social media usage is a time filler, on-the-go activity, and/or dual device usage. This transition reveals where the action is and your audience’s focus is.

A deeper look at the Global Web Index app growth data reveals 2 interesting points.

  • Pinterest is the #3 social media app. Other research has shown that Pinterest’s app is where the action is on this social media platform. Users actively seek and collect new ideas and inspiration for later action.
  • Instagram is the #4 social media app. Despite it’s hot growth trend, it still trails SnapChat and Facebook.

Social Media App 2014-GWI-Social Media Behavior-1

No surprise, SnapChat continues to over index for teens.

Actionable Social Media Tip:

  • Adapt your social media distributed content based on your audience’s use and location when reading it. Your goal is to facilitate content consumption.

5. Participant motivation powers social media behavior.

To really understand your target audience and their use of social media, you must look at their age and related use.

Social media behavior and motivation for use varies by age.

  • 16-24 year olds: Suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) and seek information. Pinterest experienced a 90% increase in active usage among 16-24s.
  • 25-34 year olds: Share details of their lives, network and promote work.
  • 35-44 year olds: Network and promote work.
  • 45-54 year olds: Stay in touch with people and networking.
  • 55-64 year olds: Use social media out of habit and to stay connected with family and friends.

Facebook is the second-oldest social media network in terms of active user age and experienced the smallest decrease in active usage among their oldest users. (Note: This is consistent with the Pew Research.)

Social Media Platform Usage-GWI-2014

Actionable Social Media Tip:

  • Tailor your content and interactions based your audience’s social media motivations. Use this knowledge to re-imagine your content.

Social media behavior in 2015 is defined by a number of different attributes.

As a result, marketers must create and update their social media persona for each of their key audiences and assess where, when and how they engage on social networks.

What do you view as the most important social media behavior in 2015 and why do you think so?

BTW, you may be interested in how to drive measurable social media results.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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37 Social Media Marketing Facts (Charts)

Social Media Marketing 2015In 2015, social media is no longer just mainstream. 2015 Social media’s audience is mature in more ways than one.

Social media is not only mature in terms of its life cycle but also in terms of the age of participants.

Specifically, 56% of US online adults 65 and older or 31% of all seniors use Facebook according to Pew Internet’s “2014 Social Media Update,” based on research of the 81% of US adults 18 and above who use the Internet. (As a point of comparison, here is the social media marketing 2014 data.)

Social media marketing 2015: Where is your audience?

To succeed in 2015 and beyond, marketers must understand their audience and how they use social media as well as how social media platforms have evolved.

At a minimum, you’ll need to update your social media persona and use a mix of social media platforms. (BTW–Here’s the Ultimate 2015 Marketing Checklist to download.)Social Media Marketing 2015


71% of US Internet users are on Facebook. Unlike other social media platforms that experienced high growth during 2014, Facebook’s proportion of Internet users remained flat with August 2013.

Facebook users continue to interact on the platform.

  • 70% of Facebook users engage daily with the social network, up 9 percentage points from 2013.
  • 45% of Facebook users engage with the social network several times a day.
  • Facebook acts as a social media homebase for its users.

Who do people consider their friends on Facebook?

From a marketing perspective, this is an important question to answer since it yields insights into how deep these relationships are.

  • 93% of Facebook users are Facebook friends with family members other than their parents or children.
  • 91% Facebook users are Facebook friends with their current friends.
  • 87% Facebook users are connected to friends of theirs from the past
  • 58% Facebook users are connected to their coworkers.
  • 45% Facebook users are Facebook friends with their parents.
  • 43% Facebook users are friends with their children on Facebook.
  • 39% Facebook users are connected to people they’ve never met in real life. These people are looking to build their audience.

Primarily, people use Facebook to connect with people that are important to them in real life; who they view as peers with whom they’ll share unfiltered information. Hence the lower results for parents and children.

Among US Facebook users the median number of Facebook friends is 155, of which 50 are actual friends. These results fit almost perfectly with Dunbar’s findings, where the number of relationships an individual can maintain is 150 and close friends account for a third of that or 50. (Here’s further information on Dunbar via The New Yorker.)

As with other forms of social media and communication, Facebook attracts more women (77%) than men (66%).Facebook Data 2014

What does this mean for marketers?

  • Facebook’s composition by age is getting older. It’s important to note that this research doesn’t measure “Under 18 year olds,” the key social media demographic. As we said in 2013, Facebook is no longer the cool social media kid on the block.
  • Facebook is retaining its mass social media audience. It’s an important element of your social media and content marketing plans because of its reach. Marketers must still aggregate a variety of third party platforms to match television’s reach despite its declining advertising effectiveness.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Keep Facebook in your social media marketing mix. Sorry but size counts. That said, tailor your content and interactions to your Facebook followers.
  • Use targeted Facebook advertising to reach key prospects. Don’t just boost your posts. Take advantage of Facebook’s targeting potential. Check out Jon Loomer’s blog for specifics.


While the percentage of college educated Internet users using LinkedIn reached 50%, in general, LinkedIn users are visiting the social media network less frequently.

  • 13% of LinkedIn users visit the social media platform every day
  • 7% of LinkedIn users visit the social media platform several times a day.
  • 25% of LinkedIn users visit the social media platform weekly, down from 34% in August 2013
  • 61% of LinkedIn users visit the social media platform every few weeks or less often, up from 52% in 2013.

This reduction in LinkedIn visit frequency points to the use of LinkedIn mainly as a job search tool.

It overlooks LinkedIn’s expanded power as a publishing platform and lead generator/business driver. In our 2015 social media predictions, we call LinkedIn, the must-be destination for businesses of all types.LinkedIn Users-2014-Pew Research Center

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Incorporate LinkedIn Publishing into your 2015 content marketing plans. Create a separate strategy to ensure that your content shines on this platform. (BTW—In terms of 2015 content marketing predictions, we forecast that LinkedIn will grow its imprint.)
  • Leverage the power of your employees on LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid of making your employees look good on LinkedIn for fear of losing them. Instead think in terms of attracting more business, customers and employees.


Pinterest is social media honey that attracts women. 42% of online women use Pinterest and 13% of online men use Pinterest.

This shouldn’t be surprising since it’s the home of couch surfing for shopping inspiration.

  • 17% of Pinterest users visit the social media platform daily
  • 9% of Pinterest users visit the social media platform several times a day.
  • 29% of Pinterest users visit the social media platform weekly
  • 52% of Pinterest users visit the social media platform less than once per week.

Underestimate Pinterest’s ability to pull in shoppers and readers at your peril! It’s BuzzFeed’s number 2 source of social media traffic!!!

Pinterest Users-2014-Pew research Center

Actionable Social Media Tips:

  • Curate your content marketing on Pinterest, regardless of your business type. Take your cue from BuzzFeed. Make your content alluring with pin-friendly images.
  • Display your products on Pinterest where appropriate. Don’t forget to show prospects how to use your products and to show them in context.
  • Redirect Pinterest traffic for products that you no longer sell. Bear in mind that prospects may be looking at old pins.


Social media marketers should pay attention to Instagram because it’s unlocked the secret code to interaction. In 2015 and beyond, this playbook will be re-written for video, which people find easier-to-understand.

Make your information visual, useful, consumable, and shareable on a smartphone.

  • 49% of Instagram users visit the social media platform daily.
  • 32% of Instagram users visit the social media platform several times a day
  • 24% of Instagram users visit the social media platform weekly
  • 26% of Instagram users visit the social media platform less than once a week. 

Don’t assume that Instagram is just for consumer products. General Electric has been one of the early businesses to leverage the visual power of its B2B products and customers.

BTW, here are 4 key types of visual content marketing using Instagram.Instagram Users-2014-Pew Research Center

Actionable Social Media Tips:

  • Make your products and customers Instagram-friendly. Encourage your customers to share their images. There’s nothing stronger than seeing other consumers wearing or using your product.
  • Find the visual beauty in every aspect of your business. Think how you would explain your business to someone who had never seen before.


  • 23% of US Internet users are on Twitter, up 5 percentage points from 18% in August 2013.
  • 36% of Twitter users visit the site daily, down 10 percentage points from 2013.
  • 22% of Twitter users visit the site more than once a day.
  • 24% of Twitter users visit the site a few days a week
  • 40% of Twitter users visit the site less often.

Twitter continues to grow, but at a slower rate. Further, the combination of short message longevity and limited participation, translates to publishing your Twitter content when your audience is active and to publishing your content more than once.

Here are 27 super easy tactics to boost your Twitter strategy.

Twitter Users 2014-Pew Internet

Actionable Social Media Tips:

  • Take the time to understand your target audience’s use of Twitter. The goal is to maximize your ability to reach your prospects when and where they’re focused.
  • Slice and dice your content for Twitter. Your aim is to present your content differently to reach the maximum audience possible.

Multi-platform social media 2015

Multi-platform use is on the rise: 52% of online adults now use 2 or more social media sites. This is a significant 10 percentage point increase from 2013.

79% of social media participants who use only 1 platform use Facebook.Multiple Social Media Site Usage-2014-Pew Research Center

The percentage of Facebook users who also participate on another social media network has increased since last year. 94% of Instagram users also use Facebook. This is attributable to Facebook’s ownership of Instagram and to easy ability to share events via photographs with people participants are close to.

In terms of non-Facebook social media interaction, there’s significant overlap between Instagram and Twitter users. This is also attributable to the easy ability to broadcast your activity to others.

  • 58% of Twitter users also use Instagram.
  • 52% of Instagram users also use Twitter.

Social Media Cross Platform Usage-Pew Research Center-1

The bottom line: social media is here to stay.

Marketers must figure out where their audience is on social media. Then they must develop strategies to create tailored social media content and distribute it by platform.

Where is your audience on social media in 2015 and what are you doing to engage them?

BTW–Here’s the Ultimate 2015 Marketing Checklist to download.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

Social Media Marketing World — San Diego — March 25-27, 2015.Social Media Marketing World
Register Now and Save $380!   Limited time offer.


Register Now for the Intelligent Content Conference.

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