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Social media demographics and trends for 2022

Initially delivering escapism and mindless fun, social media has now become a bona fide, effective communication and advertising tool for businesses.

Diane Hall


buttons with facebook instagram twitter and ticktok logos

Different platforms provide different things for their users (because, if they didn’t carve out their own niche or bring something different to the table, why would anyone switch from their current favourite platform?). They all provide a hotbed of content—whether written or visual, or both. Some fall out of favour after being the bees’ knees, and new platforms can still manage to break through to be amongst the most popular.

So, what will 2022 bring? Will we see a shift in demographics or user numbers on some of the more well-known platforms? Will there be another new site like TikTok to snap at their heels?

This article by Charity Digital has some interesting statistics about the various demographics of social media sites and which platforms may prove the main players next year.

For instance, I would have said that Twitter’s heyday was definitely over. Whilst it was my favourite platform for both business and personal use around 2015, my interest and activity has positively waned since. It’s rare that I look at my feed, and it’s even rarer that I post content on there. What I do use it for, however, is to gauge people’s opinions. I might watch the outcome of Strictly, for example, then rush to Twitter to see if the general consensus of who should have won aligns with mine/the judges’ decision. Twitter is great for immediate news and the thoughts of others in a way that other platforms can’t match. It appears that my preference isn’t typical, however. Some people still use Twitter as a conversational/communication tool. Apparently, a quarter of the UK population is currently active on the site.

Social media apps in folder on iPhone

Social media apps in folder on iPhone

Instagram has seen a flurry of activity from its users over the last year or so. Its ‘live’ feature grew by 70% during the pandemic and ‘its recent shop updates have made it a frontrunner in the race to dominate social commerce – as many as 70% of consumers head to Instagram to discover a product’.

TikTok, the most recent social media success, has around 1 billion active users each month, which is staggering. The site is definitely aimed at a younger audience, with its biggest demographic being 18 to-24-year-olds. So, if you sell a product that’s for this age group, TikTok is one platform you should adopt this coming year.

Perhaps one surprise is the popularity of Pinterest. Again, a site that seemed to have had its heyday, Pinterest is once again rising in popularity amongst young people. Its integration with Spotify has clearly been a great decision; as well as adding the things they covet to their boards, users can click straight through to the relevant sites where they can buy the items. Shopify’s analytics also make it an informative and effective tool for businesses to advertise their products.

YouTube is often overlooked as a communication channel or platform on which to advertise, yet it is currently the second most popular social media platform. Whether adding video content for your business on the site or using YouTube’s advertising tools to reach your target audience, it’s not a platform that should easily be dismissed.

Facebook holds more than 44% of the UK population as regular users of its platform. With an older demographic, the spending power of its users is significant, which makes the site difficult to ignore, too.

As we mentioned in a recent article, few businesses have the time and manpower to consistently post on and service every social media platform in popular use. It’s much better to research which one is favoured by your target market and pour your efforts into that.

Social media is still a relatively new phenomenon, and it’s therefore heartening to see that a once-popular platform can come back into vogue with a new demographic, as demonstrated by Pinterest and, to some extent, Twitter. It’s not always about the new kid on the block. It shows that, if you find a platform that works for you and your business, it’s not worth ditching it for one that doesn’t suit you, even if everyone is raving about it. Whilst floating audiences may switch preferences, a platform’s hardcore fans will stay with you.

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