socialmedia2013Businesses consistently dismiss the importance of social media, and in many ways, for good reason. It’s challenging to quantify, and even tougher to manage. You can’t do social halfway – either you’re tackling this landscape with a full throttle approach, or you’ve dipped a toe in and haven’t seen an iota of movement.

One of the most difficult aspects of social media is the ever-changing landscape. Riding on assumptions and intuition about social demographics and trends is a fatal flaw. To be effective in the social stratosphere, you have to stay on the pulse of what’s trending. And that varies from platform to platform. What Pinterest users are going batty for will not match up with the latest Twitter tweets. So be prepared to stay on top of social media’s latest and greatest, or you won’t see your efforts pay off.

If you’re just kicking off your social dominance, or you’re ready and willing to make changes to your strategy, feast on the new statistics below. These will help you be up to date on what’s shaking in the social scene.

The Most Popular Activity on the Web

Reuters reported ages ago that social media is more popular than online nudity. The cardinal rule of marketing is to meet people where they’re at. Right now, people are watching videos of cats eating pizza and people falling on their bums in droves. They’re also tweeting about #androidgames, things that tick them off (#igetangrywhen) and the recent #ama awards. Make your content relevant to these millions of users, and you will absolutely see results.

If you’re still one of the naysayers who feel social media just doesn’t work, explain that to 93 percent of marketers – only 7 percent of marketers don’t use social media. If it were a failing entity, those numbers would likely be dwindling, not epically rising.

The Demographic is Wider Thank You Think

Yes, it’s true that 50 percent of the world’s population is now under 30, and most of those folks literally grew up using social media. But here’s a stat that will blow your mind – the fastest growing Twitter demographic is between the ages of 55 and 64. Since 2012, these Boomers have grown 79% on the platform. Those in the 46-54 year old bracket are the fastest growing for Facebook – a 46 percent year over year jump.

This is critical data, as so many marketers think if they’re not targeting teenagers, social media isn’t feasible. This is proof you can run a grown-up campaign and see it take off like gangbusters, if you’re committed.

TV, You’ve Been Targeted

Television is no longer the big dog of marketing. According to Jeff Bullas, YouTube now reaches more adults in the 18 to 34 age bracket than any cable network. This means that if you’re trying to reach the younger audience, having a strong video marketing strategy is a no-brainer. YouTube now boasts over 1 billion unique visitors each month, consuming over 8 billion hours of video watching. This is a 50 percent increase from March to August this year – this trend doesn’t seem to know any limits just yet.

Small Screens Rule

Smartphone access is just as hot as the social media dominance. This is especially critical if you’re trying to reach that aforementioned younger audience. Facebook now states that mobile generates over 30 percent of their ad revenue. Since over 50 percent of all Americans now have smartphones, it’s readily apparent this trend is only going to increase. If you aren’t incorporating phone-friendly content into your efforts, you’re potentially missing over half of your demographic.

The plot thickens when it comes to mobile too; unlike large screens, smartphone users don’t like to let their connection source out of their sight. In fact, 25 percent of 18-44 year old phone users can’t remember not having their phone nearby. By combining social efforts with mobile-centric content, you not only dramatically broaden your horizons, you access folks who want to be continuously connected.

Engagement is Your Friend

Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of social media platforms that are springing up. If you’re just starting out, you don’t need to focus on all of them. You need to choose the ones your audience is using, and specifically target those with the highest engagement.

LinkedIn, as an example, is a tempting prospect – every second, 2 new folks sign-up on the professional platform. Yet only 51 percent of LinkedIn users are active. They may have the numbers, but LinkedIn doesn’t have the level of engagement that you need. Google+ has 60 percent engagement; they’re even a better prospect for most companies. Unless you market directly to executives and professionals, there’s no need to own the LinkedIn space.

The big dogs are still Twitter and Facebook. You need to be on these sites. Factor in Pinterest if you’re after women (they are the dominant active users of this platform), and if you’re cutting edge, jump on Vine; this new 6-second video site is blazing a very hot trail.

Regardless, do not underestimate the power of a well-planned social media strategy. By utilizing these key statistics, you are empowered to find your loyal and active audience – treat them well, and they will make your wildest revenue dreams come true.

What latest social media trends are you curious and excited about?