What Is Your Social Media BFF? 42% Of Adults Now Use Multiple Social Sites

The term Best friends forever (BFF) is a close friendship developed by teenagers and young people. We may be friends with a few or a lot of social media sites, but I bet you have your favorite.

The Pew Research Center’s Social Media Update gives us a look into how social media use is evolving. As of 2013, 73% of online adults used social networking sites. Facebook was many people’s BFF in terms of number of users. But Pew Center Research also found that a striking number of users are now diversifying onto other platforms.

Results of the survey indicate that some 42% of online adults now use multiple social networking sites. What’s more, Instagram users are nearly as likely as Facebook users to check in to the site on a daily basis. Have you starting exploring personal, career, or business relationships beyond Facebook?SocialMediaSitesBut even this information from the Pew Center Research study can be limiting. It only looked at Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. We know there is a lot more out there. It seems that every month another social media star is rising. Lately you may have been hearing about SnapChat or Quora, and Digg reinventing itself and gaining ground. Plus, you can never count out Google+, which keeps adding features to gain users. Let’s face it, social media can be overwhelming.

The key to success is realizing you don’t have to be in every social media channel to see real results. How do you choose? Start by organizing them into categories. You probably have high school and college BFFs, family BFFs, Work BFFs and neighborhood BFFs. They are all your friends, but you do different things with each. Below are the main categories of social media that I have developed with a list of the main players in each

Social Media Categories:

Social Networks – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+

Blogging and Forums – WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr

Microblogging  – Twitter, Pinterest

Media Sharing – YouTube, Flikr, Instagram

Geo-location – Foursquare, Facebook Places, Google+ Locations

Ratings and Reviews – Yelp, Citysearch, Google+ Local

Social Bookmarking – Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg

Wikis and Social Knowledge – Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers, Quora

Podcasts – RSS, iTunes

For personal, business, or career, you have to decide who you want to talk to and what you to say and how you want to say it. Wikipedia says BFFs are common when you are young, but you may grow out of them as you get older. Perhaps it is time you grew out of your social media BFF and start exploring some of these other options.

Cause Marketing’s Future Is Engagement Through Social Media

In the last 25 years cause marketing has created greater awareness of brands, nonprofits and the marketing method itself. Cause marketing has proved itself and future generations appear to be even more supportive of cause efforts. After hearing about a corporate-charitable partnership 88% of Millennials would be likely to switch from one brand to another brand if the other brand is associated with a good cause (compared to an average of 79% for all adults). They also are more likely to donate their money, participate in an event and volunteer compared to all adults. So the future looks bright, but sometimes too much success can cause backlash.

On the other hand, cause campaigns have flooded the market creating terms like “pinkwashing” referring to seemingly unrelated products like floating beer pong tables using pink simply to sell. Skepticism over pink products has grown into an entire organization and website called “Think Before you Pink.” Simply being pink or red will not be enough in the future. To stand out and get buy-in, successful cause campaigns will need to demonstrate genuine commitment to the cause by providing new ways for consumers to get involved.

That future involvement lies in social media. The interactivity, engagement and transparency that social media allows enables consumers not only to support cause marketing campaigns but to help shape them. Funny videos are one way to create guerilla marketing, but giving people a cause that they care about increases the pass along factor greatly. Cause marketing combined with social media turns word-of-mouth into crowd sourcing – a more powerful medium. Crowdsourcing taps members of the general public to perform important business tasks like research, product development, and marketing. Cause marketing has access to this powerful tool.

Moving beyond traditional media to engagement is something Pepsi Refresh did in the 2010 Super Bowl. They ditched their expensive traditional Super Bowl ads for a cause marketing plan built on a social media. Instead of spending millions on commercials, Pepsi created the online cause marketing campaign that asked consumers how the company should give away its grant money. People all over the web began spreading the word about the campaign encouraging others to vote for their cause via the likes of Twitter and Facebook.

Social media also provides opportunity for research, recruitment and service. Companies like Comcast and AT&T use sites like Twitter as a customer service tool turning negative comments into positive customer service experiences. Why wouldn’t cause marketing be able to benefit from the same? Everyone was impressed with the money the Red Cross raised for Haiti with their texting donation campaign, but how sustainable is that support after the news coverage has died down? Monitoring Twitter for talk about issues your cause campaign helps provides opportunities to engage and recruit new supporters already interested in your cause. TV, magazines and direct mail can’t deliver that kind of targeted audience.

What does the future hold? Many are aware of cause marketing. Now it is time to engage them through the Croudsourcing power if social media.

Can Millennials Save Us Through Cause Marketing?

Cone, Inc. specializes in cause marketing and has released some interesting information on important role of “Millennials” in corporate social responsibility. They are considerably more active in new media forums when it comes to learning about and supporting causes, but are also more receptive to cause marketing and are more likely to act. After hearing about a corporate-charitable partnership 88% would be likely to switch from one brand to another brand if the other brand is associated with a good cause (compared to an average of  79% for all adults). In addition, 51% have bought a cause-related product or service in the last year (compared to 38% for all adults). They also are more likely to donate their money, participate in events and volunteer compared to all adults.

This Millennial bent toward social cause becomes even more apparent when you compare it to the other generation’s attitudes. Baby Boomers are characterized as the “me” generation and are described as being narcissistic, intellectual and judgmental. Gen Xers became disillusioned cynics who are cautious and skeptical, alienated, searching for self and confrontational. In contrast, Millennials are seen as optimistic and confident achievers. They are disciplined and accepting of authority, well-educated, competitive, upbeat and open-minded.

How will this impact cause marketing? I think it will improve, grow and expand cause marketing efforts. Obviously this is the generation more open to and looking for social benefits. But cause marketing efforts will have to expand beyond traditional media and talk to Millennials the way they are used to talking. This is something Pepsi has already started with the Pepsi Refresh project by ditching their Super Bowl ads for a social marketing plan.

Instead of spending millions on commercials for this past year’s game, Pepsi put its money in the Refresh Project, an online cause marketing campaign that asks readers how the company should give away its grant money (Schwartz, 2010).

The cool thing about Pepsi Refresh for Millennials is that it takes advantage of their social media usage. People all over the web are spreading the word about the campaign encouraging others to vote for their cause via the likes of Twitter and Facebook.