Use data to find your social media audience.

Find Your Social Media Audience

In Build Support by lisavgray

Social-media use in the US is changing, according to polling firm Edison Research’s 2019 Report, The Social Habit. Get the headlines and the full report here, because it’s chock full of fascinating information about how we’re talking to each other with our little hand-held computers. For nonprofits, there are so many ways to connect: follow the data to find your social media audience.

Use data to find your social media audience.


In case you’re hoping the study shows you don’t have to worry about Social Media anymore, I’m sorry (not sorry). The study doesn’t say that. The study says in 2019, 79% of the U.S. population (223 million) is using Social Media. Seventy-nine percent is down a tick from the 2017 high of 80%, but Social Media is definitely still a thing in the US. And Social Media should definitely still be a thing in your organization’s media mix.

According to Edison Research, 79% of Americans are using social media in 2019.


And that’s where it gets interesting. Facebook and Instagram (owned by Facebook) still dominate the overall use. But Snapchat now challenges Pinterest for third-place honors. LinkedIn has bested Twitter, and WhatsApp brings up the rear.

According to Edison Research, Facebook is still the most popular social media platform among Americans.

So as long as you’re on Facebook and Instagram, you should be OK, right?


Over the last three years, Facebook’s audience has shifted. And take a look at this shift:

According to Edison Research, Facebook use has declined sharply among users 12-34 years old.

Among the 35-54 year old cohort, Facebook usage has remained steady in the last two years. And usage has grown in the over-55 age group, to 53% of that population. Perhaps these stats explain the significant 3-year slide in Facebook usage among the 12-34 year olds. At 62%, that’s still a lot of young people. But is Facebook your best bet if you’re pursuing the ever-elusive Millennials?

According to Edison Research, Americans 12-24 years old are moving their social-media patronage from Facebook to Snapchat and Instagram.

Probably not, though the data displayed here is a little problematic. For many nonprofits, the 12-24 year old demographic is much less important than 25-34, and The Social Habit study doesn’t drill down for us. But taking this large swath as a group, we can see their favorite hangouts. Snapchat and Instagram are the big winners here, with Facebook use declining significantly since 2015.


So The Social Habit study proves again there is no one-size-fits-all to finding your social media audience. Take a look at the breakdown by platform and by age. Pick at least two from this group, and think about stretching a little.

Edison Research details the favorite social media platforms of Americans, aged 12 - 55+.

If you need to go younger to find your audience, try finding your audience on Instagram. Since it’s owned by Facebook, it may feel almost familiar. Some local nonprofits to follow (and learn from) include the Carolina Raptor Center, the Harvey B. Gantt Center, the Humane Society of Charlotte, Goodyear Arts, and Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation.

If you navigate in the corporate world (corporate sponsorships, corporate partners) – and especially if you have proprietary information to share (studies, surveys, articles), trying finding your social media audience on LinkedIn. This platform also looks a lot like Facebook (with follows and likes and posts), but given its popularity in the 35-54 year old set, this may be a good place to join folks already talking about your Cause. Check out Charlotte Rescue Mission, Queens University of Charlotte, and Communities in Schools of Charlotte Mecklenburg.

There’s lots more stuff in The Social Habit (again – get it here) to help you find your audience and engage them on social media. Start small, listen, engage, and share stories your fans want to share. Need to talk about it first? Email me!