For many retailers, social media has replaced traditional advertising. Fading away (if not gone completely) are newspaper, radio and television ads for stores, replaced by content spread all over social media, ranging from Facebook and Pinterest to Instagram, along with Twitter and LinkedIn.
The trick for store owners in this fast-changing world is deciding which social media platform does the best job for their companies. For gourmet kitchenware retailers and other smaller stores selling housewares, it is not just about selling product: social media is also about selling an image and encouraging customer interaction.
It helps then, to see how consumers use social media to seek out information and interact with others. In a recent overview of that topic, the Pew Research Center found that the big winner has been Facebook, with Facebook usage on the rise among Americans while other platforms are holding steady.
In a report, Social Media Update 2016, researchers found that other platforms are maintaining consumer support, but Facebook continues to be America’s most popular social networking platform by a substantial margin. The recently updated study has been going on for the past decade.
According to the study a majority of Americans now say they get news via social media (half the public turned to these sites to learn about the recent presidential election.) Americans are also using social media in the context of work–both to take a mental break from the job and to seek out employment.
The report found that nearly 8-in-10 online Americans (79 percent) now use Facebook, more than double the share that uses Twitter (24 percent), Pinterest (31 percent), Instagram (32 percent) or LinkedIn (29 percent). And Facebook use is fueled by the growing number of–get this–older adults who are going the site.
While young adults report using Facebook at high rates, older adults are joining in increasing numbers. Some 62 percent of online adults ages 65 and older now use Facebook, a 14-point increase from the 48 percent who reported doing so in 2015, the Pew report says. In addition, women continue to use Facebook at higher rates than men: 83 percent of female internet users and 75 percent of male internet users are Facebook adopters.
Other social media sites are holding steady in usage: About 24 percent of internet users use Twitter and most are likely to be younger Americans ages 18-29; 29 percent of internet users use LinkedIn and tend to have household incomes of more than $75,000; and 31 percent of internet users use Pinterest, with women using the virtual pinboard twice as much as men do.