Facebook facing facts: Twitter is trending

Social media is a big part of teenagers’ lives; Pew Research indicates that 95 percent of teens use the Internet, and 81 percent use social networking sites.

But while Facebook has been popular for the past six or seven years, it is slowly losing ground to newer networks like Twitter.

Image from Business Insider/Huffington Post

Image from Business Insider/Huffington Post

The graphic above represents what is likely to be an ongoing trend. Twitter is becoming more popular than Facebook. Instagram is also quickly gaining steam among teen users.

One reason for the slide away from Facebook is the prevalence of older adults on the social network. Pew Research indicates that 60 percent of Internet users 50-64 use Facebook, and 45 percent of Internet users older than 65 use the site. For comparison, less than 10 percent of adult Internet users older than 50 use Twitter, and even fewer use Instagram.

Most teens indicated they prefer sites that their parents, grandparents and other relatives aren’t using. A 19-year-old focus group participant said, “Yeah, that’s why we go on Twitter and Instagram [instead of Facebook]. My mom doesn’t have that.”

I can’t argue with that rationale; when I was in high school and college, there were probably things posted to Facebook that my parents would not have approved of.

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Emerging media — a social media beast

Before we can talk about emerging media, first we have to understand what it is.

Emerging media encompasses the ever-evolving world of media in today’s Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) landscape. Advertisers, public relations professionals, marketers, communication specialists and brand executives are constantly adjusting to keep abreast of the changing way consumers are engaging with one another and the brands they purchase.

One of the biggest, constantly changing forms of emerging media is social media. Brian Solis and and Jesse Thomas developed the conversation prism to offer a detailed overview of the emerging world of social networks:

The Conversation Prism was developed by Brian Solis and  Jesse Thomas.

As you can see, there are hundreds of networks out there, but they don’t all have the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, etc. The challenge falls to IMC professionals to figure out which of these emerging social media networks is being used by their target audience.

Social media is the current king of the emerging media playground. Although social media has passed the novelty stage, it is still an emerging area for IMC. A study by Adobe found that most marketing professionals say social media marketing is what they are most concerned about for the next three years.

Based on that analysis, Social Media Today listed its annual top 5 social media trends to watch for in 2014. Predicted emerging social media trends for the upcoming year are:

  1. Facebook will decline, Twitter will gain popularity
  2. Snapchat marketing
  3. Google+ popularity
  4. Collaborative economy becomes mainstream
  5. Video, video, video

As with anything, these are just predictions, and anything is really possible. While these are the most likely areas to emerge over the next 12 months, social networks that we’re not even aware of yet could surprise us all.

I’ll go more in depth into each of these trends, and how marketers can capitalize on them, in future posts, so check back.