At least once a year, a new study is released which shows that younger users are abandoning Facebook at a rapid rate, and suggests, in summary, that Facebook is slowly but surely going to become obsolete.
However, with 2 billion users and counting, Facebook's reported a 71% increase in profit year-over-year. It's not likely to be going anywhere anytime soon.
That said, it is important to consider usage behaviors by different demographics. The social media landscape has become more diverse and competitive, enabling users to spend their time in a range of different places.
- Monthly Facebook users will rise 2.4% in 2017, but the 12 to 17 age group will decrease by 4%, the 2nd consecutive year of decline for that age group (there was a 1.2% decrease in 2016)
- Snapchat projects 2017 user growth of 8% in the U.S., with users between 18 and 24 rising by 19.2%
- Snapchat's projected to overtake both Facebook and Instagram in the 12 to 17 and 18 to 24 age groups with its share of U.S. social network users surging to 8%
- Instagram's projected to grow 23.8% in the U.S., with users under 12 increasing 19% and the 12 to 17 year-old demographic rising 8.8%
So what does this all mean - do marketers need to abandon Facebook in order to cultivate the younger demographics?
Based on these insights, here are some tips on what you should do to prepare your social media marketing strategy:
1. Put This Data into Perspective
If you want to target teens and tweens, consider including their parents as well. The "I want" comes from the kids, but the "I can buy" comes from the parents. It's good strategy to cover your bases.
2. Test the Waters on Other Platforms
Consider incorporating Instagram and Snapchat into your social media brand bundle. Instagram notoriously sees more brand engagement than any other social channel.
3. Be Cautious with Snapchat
Younger users like using Snapchat to connect with other younger users, while also avoiding the watchful eyes of parents. Does that mean that they want your finance company or travel agency content in that channel? Probably not.
Meet the users with content that's appropriate for how they use the social channel - if your bread and butter audience is teenagers, seriously consider putting increased effort into Snapchat.
4. Stay the Course with Facebook
Facebook offers the most robust advertising management system available for social networks. Since they own Instagram, you can use those capabilities to target teens on Instagram, as well as their parents on Facebook, all from one place.
5. Don't Panic
Usage of these channels will ebb and flow over time. When the newest social network comes out, there'll be studies that say Snapchat is dead too.
Keep calm, keep executing your strategy and be open to experimentation.