In most cases the short answer to this question is yes. While there are a lot of cute kittens, selfies, and other less professional content out there, that shouldn’t be the deciding factor. The key is to recognize the separation between personal and professional and to understand the audiences of various social venues and how they use these sites.
I hear from people, surprisingly often in fact, that they don’t want to be on social media or that they don’t want their business to be associated with the content that is on social media. I do understand this. Even for a digital media professional, I’ve seen ebbs and flows to my social patterns. But to me Social Media is more about the people consuming the message and their interest than all of the other content. When it is working right, your content is showing up to people that are looking for what you are trying to say. So even if you can’t take another bucket of ice being dropped on a celebrity you’ve never heard of, the people that are seeing your message have shown an interest or desire for it.
Social Media has an audience and frankly, even at a local level, its a pretty sizable audience. Pew Research notes in a recent study on social media that 74% of all online adults use social media. Facebook is still king of the castle, by a lot, at 71% of online adults (58% of the total US population) according to another report by Pew on the demographics of the social audience. With Pintrest and LinkedIn coming in next with 28% each. Rumors of the big blue beasts demise with any age group are basically untrue. Its growth has slowed, but users do not appear to be fleeing. In fact it is growing in some key areas such as education. It experienced 6% growth between 2013 and 2014 in adults that have completed a college education. Older generations seem to be coming around as the 65+ demographic grew by 11% in that time period.
Twitter has seen strong growth over the past year. Especially in men and adults in households with total income greater than $50k annually. Instagram has really been growing in the 18-29 age bracket as well as the 30 to 49 bracket. Pintrest has seen been growing in the 50 to 64 and 65+ brackets. Both have seen growth in the higher income brackets as well.
LinkedIn isn’t growing as fast but is very notable for the type of content found there as well as its audience. A full 50% of college graduates use LinkedIn.
A big change in the social climate over the past year is the number of people using multiple social sites. Only 28% of adults reported using just one social site according to Pew’s data.
All of this tells us that the social audience is definitely worth reaching. How, where, and with what messages… those are topics for future posts.