Are You Speaking Where People are Listening?


At this point in the “Social Media Age” it is almost universally understood that whether you’re an operator, marketer, recruiter, or employee you cannot fully ignore social media and hope to be successful.  When done well, social media greatly increases awareness, and develops more attention and engagement with whatever message you are trying to deliver. 

Question is:  Are we communicating through channels where the people we want to target are listening?  It’s a common problem, but a much less common question being asked in today’s board rooms.  We all desperately want to want to connect with our marketplace; yet most of us are frustratingly missing their opportunity to properly engage a captive audience.

Luckily, one of the benefits of living in this internet/social media age is that we are armed with the data to solve all the problems we create for ourselves.

First, let’s start with a look at the numbers.  In Fall 2016 Pew Research Center (PRC) reported that the internet is used by 87% of adults.  They also reported last September, that 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites, showing a significant increase in the last two years.  In Fall 2017 released the top ten social media sites based on Market Share of Visits:

  1. Facebook 40.30%
  2. YouTube 24.23%
  3. Twitter 6.19%
  4. Reddit 4.73%
  5. Instagram 2.20%
  6. Pinterest 2.16%
  7. LinkedIn 1.57%
  8. Tumblr 1.16%
  9. Yelp 0.82%
  10. Quora 0.72%

Considering that 1% of market share is about 37.02 million visits per week, these statistic is yet another clear indicator that that social media is key to reaching large numbers of people at once, and generally at a low cost to your bottom line.

So, with that in mind let’s ask who are you marketing to?  Let’s take a look at three demographics and see what the data shows us. 


Millennials (people born between 1980 & 2000) now account for 25% of the world’s population.  At first glance of the data most people would look to engage this customer base on Facebook, considering that it holds more market share than its next 5 competitors combined. This conclusion is by no means wrong, but if you are trying to effectively target millennials you may be losing some messaging potential.

Facebook’s initial success as a college (millennial) only platform has spread to nearly 80% of online users (which accounts for nearly 70% of all US adults), but its wide reach has also made the demographics of their users equally wide.   According to a recent survey by Forbes, “41% of millennials still use Facebook every day, however Facebook was found to be more popular with Non-Millennials.”   Millennials are more likely to consume through other popular social media platforms, than to engage through Facebook.  This means they are engaging more often & more frequently through channels like Instagram, Snapchat & Twitter. 

College Graduates & High-Income Earners

If you are looking for College Graduate or high-income professionals your best bet is to focus your energy at LinkedIn.  While LinkedIn only holds 1.57% of the market share for all internet visits it’s still the “smart choice” for College Graduates (with 50% using the site) & high-income professionals (45% of online users with a household income of 75k+).  What’s more just over a third of online employed adults are using the site with about half of them using it at least once a week. 


Across the board women use social media considerably more than men.  Of the top 6 platforms, women users outrank their male counterparts on average by about 9%.  More impressive are women’s adoption of Pinterest.  Nearly half of all women online are using the online picture wall platform according to recent PRC data. Included in the data we also learn that about 56% of Pinterest users are using the platform at least once a week compared 48% of LinkedIn users.  The platform also holds nearly equal attention across all age groups, and socioeconomic backgrounds making it one of the best places on the web to find an actively engaged, diverse and creative network.


So, what do you need to do to make sure your making the best use of your energy and not waste time sending out information through channels no one pays attention to?

Establish first who you are talking to and then target them through the distribution channels they are engaging with and deliver the information in the right format. 

If you are a retail operator looking to capture the Millennial footprint, try to think beyond the width of Facebook’s reach and focus on the channels they are more often engaged with.  Millennials are more willing to consume content when it is delivered through newest features, so think of ways to package your content on the platforms featuring live or expiring video such as Snapchat & Instagram.

What if you’re an upscale or fine dining restaurant operator with a high average guest check?   Maybe look to target your high-income customers through LinkedIn over other channels.

If you’re a recruiter looking for your next top-level executive, why not develop interesting ways to engaged the untapped network of Pinterest where 50% of online women are already active weekly. 

We are all looking for ways to engage but as time passes, social media, like TV and radio advertising, may become more like background noise.  To attract the right type of attention for your business make sure you’re taking the time to figure out where your target demographic is truly spending their time and speak to them where they will listen.