Which Social Media Platforms Matter Most?

Most hoteliers no longer need to be convinced of the value or staying power of social media. But not even the biggest brands have unlimited resources to devote to their social media efforts, making prioritization a key element of an effective social media strategy. While Facebook and Twitter are sometimes treated as the first and last word in social networking for brands, it’s crucial to periodically scan the social media landscape to ensure you are leveraging the full spectrum of social options. Consumers, after all, are notoriously fickle. Social networking startups have the potential to gain traction virtually overnight, and that social network that’s hot today may be a has-been tomorrow. Read on for a discussion of the consumer trends impacting which social media platforms matter most.

By the Numbers: Popularity of Key Social Networks

 

Social Network Type Metrics
Facebook General social network
  • 1.23 billion monthly active users
  • 945 million monthly active mobile users

 

YouTube Video sharing
  • 1 billion monthly active users
  • Over six billion hours of video watched each month – 40% via mobile
Google+ General social network
  • 300 million monthly active users
  • 20 million unique mobile monthly users
Twitter Microblog
  • 241 million monthly active users
  • 184 million monthly active mobile users
Instagram Photo/video sharing
  • 150 million monthly active users
  • 55 million photos shared per day
Pinterest Photo/Video sharing
  • 70 million registered users
  • 20 million active users (pins, repins, likes), June 2013

Size Matters: Facebook and Twitter have emerged as top priorities for brands, and for good reason. Despite assertions that the younger generation is giving Facebook a thumbs down, the network’s 1.23 billion users make a strong case. And although Twitter’s user base is one fifth that of Facebook, the hashtag here to stay. In fact, Twitter may become increasingly important given the growing consumer preference for short snippets of information (see below) like those delivered via the network’s microblogging format.

When gauging which social networks to focus on, user base is an important indicator – but it shouldn’t be the only indicator. While Google+, Facebook’s only real competitor among general social networks, is a distant second, the network’s deep integration with Google’s other products makes it worthy of attention.

Other notable social networking trends:

Visualize It: Visual content is the flavor of the day, and photos and videos are increasingly the currency of choice in the social media realm – good news for the highly photogenic travel industry. Video giant YouTube now has over 1 billion monthly active users, and the trend has fueled the rapid growth of photo- and video-sharing networks Pinterest and Instagram, both of which are rightfully getting increasing attention from hoteliers.

The M-Factor: The rapid rise of mobile devices is playing a significant role in shaping social media preferences, fueling a desire for both visual content and bite-sized interactions. A substantial portion of social network users are interacting via smartphones and tablets, a fact that should shape decisions about content and encourage hoteliers to explore emerging social networks tailored to the mobile set.

Short and Sweet: Services like photo- and video-messaging application Snapchat may be the next frontier for adventurous brands, enabling creative one-to-one interactions. Á la James Bond, users set a time limit for viewing messages ranging from one to 10 seconds … after which they disappear. Hoteliers should also consider Twitter-owned mobile app Vine, which enables users to share short looping video clips (up to six seconds) – perfect for those with a short attention span!

I Chat, You Chat, WeChat: In the “one to watch” category, Facebook in February announced plans to acquire mobile messaging service WhatsApp for a cool $19 billion USD. WhatsApp is a cross-platform paid app that enables users to exchange messages one-on-one or in groups, and it has prided itself on being 100% ad-free. Whether Facebook keeps the advertising ban intact remains to be seen, but the app’s 450 million active users and growing makes it a deal worth following. A similar service, Chinese phenomenon WeChat (aka Weixin) has provided tools for marketers and recently enabled transactions – opening up new opportunities for brands. Teens and young adults are flocking to messaging apps, and as with Facebook, where the teens go, the adults may soon follow.

Check out TrustYou’s social media user guides for best practices and tips to help you make an impact key social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and more.

Laura Badiu

Laura is a passionate bookworm and a gifted writer. Since joining TrustYou’s marketing team, she has embraced topics in the travel and hospitality sector with enthusiasm. Using her degree in Journalism, Laura creatively weaves words into insightful stories with a focus on reputation management.

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