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Social Media

social media marketing hero photo by Vix on Pexels

Social media marketing (SMM) uses images, videos, words, and links on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to connect companies, brands, products, events, and content with customers, supporters, and stakeholders. Internet marketing has evolved through several phases.

From 2000 to 2015, online marketing focused on content and search engine optimization (SEO), bolstered by email marketing and paid search. However, as more content chases the same amount of attention, content marketing and SEO become less effective as shared on our Content Marketing services page.

From 2016 to today, social media platforms powered by smartphones are capturing more attention, time, and resources. But, unfortunately, you're behind if you aren't sharing on at least one social media platform. 

A B2C Social Story

fictional b2c social story hero image with John, Fran, Robert photo by Dmitriy Ganin from Pexels

John's Hiking Dreams & Family

John turns thirty in four days, and this is his fictional business-to-consumer social story. He is married to Fran, and they have a son Robert who is five years old. John, an NC State graduate, works long hours writing code for a Raleigh, North Carolina, healthcare startup. Teaching computers to think like patients is proving a more significant challenge than John realized, but he likes his job, his boss, and his team. He wishes he had more time to take Fran and Robert hiking and camping.

John wants to thru-hike the Appalachian Trial (AT), but having a son and joining a startup put his dream on hold, so John lives vicariously through others. He subscribes to several YouTube hiking sites, but his favorite is Kyle Hates Hiking (find links in Resources). He followed Kyle's abortive attempt to thru-hike the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT).

John and Fran don't watch broadcast television, but they spend hours on their iPhones, iPad, and Apple laptops watching YouTube and Instagram videos. Fran likes to cook and thinks of herself as a "foodie," so she spends a lot of her online time visiting her favorite recipe and cooking sites such as Allrecipes and Williams Sonoma. 

They subscribed to the DisneyPlus streaming channel because their son Robert loves Pixar's, Toy Story. Robert received a talking Woody doll on his fifth birthday. Robert calls Woody his "brother" as he walks around the house talking to the character. John and Fran didn't renew their Dish subscription to save money to take Robert to Disneyland. Still, after watching Kneon and Geeky Sparkles on Clownfish TV and discussing how much Disneyland rates had increased, they decided not to travel to Orlando.

Buying New Winter Camping Gear

John and Fran decided to go winter camping instead of heading south. John and Fran are REI members. John and Fran upgraded their camping gear with money saved from not going to Florida. John found a great REI article about winter camping in North Carolina - Top Picks for North Carolina Fall and Winter Camping. Since Hanging Rock State Park wasn't far from Raleigh, with drive-up access, they could bring their dog, Marley, as long as they leashed him.

John decided to buy two new Zpacks Solo Plex tents for $599 each from Zpacs.com after watching Kyle Hates Hiking's review. He liked that Zpacks had thoughts on their site and the back-and-forth between reviewers and Zpacks.com. He bought two tents so Robert would eventually have his tent.

John was going to buy an Arc'teryx Proton LT jacket at REI for $279 after watching FutureProof discuss the company. Still, he visited the Fjallraven site and loved the FJÄLLRÄVEN POLAR 2023 content. So while he didn't register to become an arctic explorer, he explored the collection buying an EXPEDITION X-LÄTT SHIRT M for $185 and a Singi Down Jacket for $600. Fran purchased the women's Singi Down Jacket too.

a social story image featuring Jacques Slade sneakerhead and Kyle Hates Hiking

Fran's New Goldtouch Bakeware

Fran used $500 of their not going to Florida "savings" to upgrade with a handful of William Sonoma Goldtouch Bakeware, including a six-piece essential set, a half-sheet roasting set, and a nonstick corrugated half-sheet. Fran had a little left over, so she took John and Robert to see Minions: The Rise of Gru. Robert brought Woody and asked why Woody didn't need a ticket. In addition, Fran watches several YouTube cooking channels, including Pro Home Cooks, Peaceful Cuisine, and Marion Grasby.

Buying New Sneaks and Ipad

After watching another favorite Company Man, another favorite YouTuber, John decided to spend some of the money he and Fran saved by not going to Florida on a new Ipad so he could give his iPad to Robert. The latter ends up playing with it most of the time, anyway. He and Fran decided to go to the Apple Store after receiving a notice his LeBron James XX sneakers had arrived at Dick's Sporting Goods. John is playing winter basketball in a league of startup companies, so he needed new kicks.

John thought about buying his new Nike at Goat.com but decided he wanted to wear these sneakers HARD instead of keeping them in the box. John's sneaker collection hasn't grown much since marrying Fran and having Robert, but he still thinks of himself as a "sneakerhead," so he watches Jacques Slade on YouTube. Slade's review of the new Lebron XX sneakers convinced John they were what he needed to shoot winter hoops against other startups.

ZPacks and iPad Unboxing Videos

John has a YouTube channel but doesn't have much time to create content. He looks at his channel as a way to communicate with friends. After discussing Kyle Hates Hiking and his plan purchases with friends at work and on his basketball team, Kyle decided to create an unboxing video when his new Zpacks tents arrived. One of his friends saw his video and texted John to ask if he and his partner could join their Blowing Rock expedition. John and Fran said sure, the more, the merrier. Frank and Jerry plan to bring their Alaskan husky Blue Eyes. Blue Eyes and Marley get along and play for hours as only dogs can.

John created an unboxing video when his new iPad Pro arrived too. His friends loved his five-year-old son's reaction to having his iPad. Robert ran around the house shouting, "It's mine, all mine," hugging John's old iPad like a long-lost friend. John shared why he bought an iPad Pro and the accessories he added, explaining why he added each addition. Friends commented on his "accessory reviews" the most saying they followed several of his recommendations.

Influencing Friends of Friends

Frank and Jerry shared John's Zpacks Plex Solo unboxing video with hiker friends on LinkedIn. Art and Mitch, friends of Frank and Jerry's but people who don't know Frank, Jerry, John, or Fran, shared John's Zpacks Plex Solo unboxing video with twenty of their hiker friends. Two friends decided to upgrade their heavy tents with Zpacks Plex Solo because they're planning a PCT thru-hike next year. Nineteen of those twenty friends subscribed to Kyle Hates Hiking because Art and Mitch shared context for John's decision to buy new tents sharing a link to Kyle's PCT episodes.

John's iPad unboxing got shared with hundreds more friends and friends of friends than his tent unboxing. In addition, more than twenty people followed John's accessory recommendations deciding to upgrade their iPads and accessories too.

Adding It Up

John and Fran spent $4,400 with all purchases made online. They made a single visit to a store when an order they placed online with "ship-to-store" arrived. They watched YouTube videos, read online reviews, and explored company and social media websites on their iPhones, iPods, and laptops.

Their unboxing videos and other posts influenced hiking and techie friends and their friends to buy more than $20,000 in new tents, iPads, and accessories. The almost $25,000 in primarily online sales without seeing or being influenced by a single broadcast television commercial. Instead, this B2C social story featured social media channels watched, subscribed to, shared, and commented on by John, Fran, and friends of their friends. The only ads John, Fran, and most of their friends see come with a "skip ads" button, which they click fast and religiously.

John and Fran plan to film more detailed reviews after returning from Blowing Rock, so the influence, friends of friends, and the social content wheel turns and turns. 

Cord Cutters

cord cutter infographic

Social Story Infographics

Our B2C social story about John, Fran, Robert, and their friends illustrates ideas, trends, and information successful online brands incorporate and use in digital marketing. Let's look at trends from cord cutting to video marketing sure to impact your efforts to build online brands.

Cord Cutters

Cord cutters don't pay for broadcast television supplied by cable or dish, so they've "cut the cord." Five million cable and dish subscribers will cut the cord this year. An estimated twenty-five million cable subscribers have left since 2012. Adults from 18 to 29 represent the largest group of cord-cutters today. As cable and dish monthly bills creep toward or exceed $200 a month, expect the cord-cutting trend to continue and not be limited to Gen Z and Millennials.

Two crucial trends live inside the cord-cutting trend: the end of interruption as an effective marketing tactic and the splintering and fragmentation of every marketing. For example, commercials that split movies and TV shows into fifteen-minute increments are over.

Viewers used to on-demand commercial-free streams of their favorite shows aren't likely to opt back into being interrupted except in exceptional circumstances - sports and events come to mind. Sports requiring hours and lots of commercials to pay for their expensive fees may be more trouble than they realize. Many sports fans watch game highlights on YouTube and other services, trading twenty minutes, a few ads for four hours, and hundreds of car, beer, and truck commercials.

Cable TV's decline, Digital TV Research forecasts 60 million American pay TV subscribers by 2027, down from 105M in 2010, is social media's gain. Statista estimated that 302 million Americans used social media this year, with 327 million projected for 2027. That means more than 90% of Americans use social media. Commercials and interruptions are over.

That's not to say social media isn't chock-a-block full of ads, but two trends live inside that truth: skip ads and blended calls-to-action. We've always been able to cut interruptive ads, but muting the sound or leaving the room pale next to the friendly power of the "skip ads" button. Pressing the skip ads button gives viewers a sense and perception of control never experienced with several minutes of commercials stacked on top of one another. The skip ads, designed to get viewers to upgrade, still contain psychological benefits - the perception of power over interruption, at least. 

We discussed how one of our favorite YouTubers Devin Stone and his masterful video editors create blended calls-to-action (CTAs) in Content Marketing - telling video stories. Blended CTAs blend your "ad" seamlessly into your video's storytelling. Devin's LegalEagle YouTube channel has ads, but they are so well crafted, funny, and blended into his stories. Devin's ads feel less commercial, and more like content, so they are less distracting and less of an interruption.

SMM Chasm & Appification

social media marketing infographic

Social Media Isn't Just for Kids Anymore

More than 90% of Americans use social media; Moore's adoption curve is firmly in our rearview mirror. Geoffrey Moore explains the product adoption life cycle in a book we recommend almost as frequently as Blue Ocean StrategyCrossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers is focused on the chasm between early adopters and the early majority. Many products, companies, brands, and ideas break up on the chasm's perilous rocks.

social media marketing infographic

Social Media is a Commitment

Many small-to-medium-sized businesses and startups want to be on every social network, but not every social network will suit your business. And there's a more significant issue - every social media icon you include on your website is a commitment.

Your commitment says you'll consistently share fresh content. Want to create potential customer confusion and dissonance fast? Linking to a social network with stale content breaks your promise. When the content on your social networks is old potential customers extend the logic. They'll think your company, brands, products, and services are stale too.

Better to consistently share content on a single social platform where you think about and analyze what works best (on that network). Find ways your social marketing can support your websites and vice versa. Best to create exceptional marketing on a single channel than stale, dull, or ordinary marketing on every social network.
social media marketing infographic

The Mobile Web & Appification

With more than half of Internet traffic coming from mobile devices and more than 60% of Google's close to 90B searches coming from phones the "mobile web" has crossed Moore's chasm too. Initially, the "mobile web" meant creating a separate site for mobile traffic. Responsive web design and the impracticalities of maintaining multople sites as sreen sizes multiplied closed the door on the initial mobile web definition. 

Today's "mobile web" has two parts - responsive web design we cover in detail on another page and mobile apps. As Forbes John Koetsier noted earlier this year:

Astonishingly in 2022, mobile is still growing, more than a decade after the era of the smartphone began.

While we aren't as astonished as Koetsier we understand his point - projecting another 100M plus app download year after billions of downloads over the last ten years speaks to the appification of just about everything. Perhaps not, as business appificaiton lags well behind games.

Business App Advantages

The slow adoption of business apps by small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) is confusing. What would be your answer if we asked your company and marketing team if they would like these advantages?

  • Direct Line To Your Customers
    Apps mean no email authority blocks your customer communication for using "free" or "buy," and you don't have to spend millions on content and search engine optimization (SEO) because you communicate without search engine results pages (SERPs).

  • Personal Experience
    Your app's personalized customer experience increases conversions, loyalty, and engagement.

  • Speed
    Your customers love their experience using your app because it's faster and easier to use than your site. Small screens force design efficiency and optimization that create customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) benefits such as fast-loading pages, easy navigation, and knowing what to do and why to do it.

  • Game-like
    Apps feel like games, so there are a reason games crush business app downloads, but don't walk by the most crucial point - apps can make your company, brands, and products feel like games. Gamification is another critical trend we discuss in our next section, but what marketing team doesn't want the increased engagement, loyalty, and involvement games create? Answer: none that we've met, and good luck to those who eschew the appificaiton's game-like benefits.

  • Branding
    Most marketing directors want their brands on something so indispensable to contemporary life that it is usually within reach for customers who've signed up for instant, unfiltered communication and updates.

Apps aren't easy, but then what digital marketing can be described as easy anymore? Developing an app your customers will love enough to download, share, and use takes patience, expertise, testing, courage, and imagination. Is an app suitable for your company, brands, and products? Yep, you guessed it; we're creating an app for that.

Playing Games and Videos

video gamers infographic

Video Games as Marketing Archetype

You may not sell anything close to video games, only a few WTE customers create video games, but video games create an essential marketing archetype every online brand should use. Our Social Media Not Just For Kids section discussed how phones, particularly smartphones, make engagement game-like. If phones, apps, and the mobile web create the most significant digital marketing tsunami, then gamification is a following sea.

Your company's next generation of customers' expectations will be set by smartphones, video games, streaming habits, and one or all of the above.

  • Millennials
    There are 75.6M 18-34-year-olds in America, so there are almost 29 million video gamers in that age bracket alone.

  • Smartphones
    95% of Millennials own smartphones, so there are almost 72 million18 - 34-year-olds armed with smartphones.

Video game mechanics applied to online marketing, employee training, employee retention, and branding is called gamification. Examples of gamification include:

  • Frequent Flyer programs
  • SalesForce's Hunting Game
  • LinkedIn's "Your Profile is 85% Complete."
  • Nike Run Club
  • Audible's Badges
  • Frequent Buyers Rewards - your free coffees, subs, and pizzas are examples of gamification

As discussed in Content Marketing - Community in a Box, developing online communities is a critical success factor for most companies and brands, and gamification is the following sticky sea.

Gamification is the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.
Oxford Dictionary

After customers asked WTE for gamification assistance, we decided to create an app for that, and we're betting you saw that coming. Our Rideology.io platform for car lovers to share their rides, modifications, and track cars they used to own combines our Community in a Box ideas with gamification. In addition, Rideology's code and gamification mechanics will make creating engaged online communities in other businesses such as high-end audio, healthcare, food trucks, restaurants, and ecommerce easier because soon there will be an app for that.

video gamers infographic

Your Videos

Videos are the most critical content on your website and social media. Almost eight out of every ten of your customers watch online videos weekly, and more than half watch them daily. In addition, more than 80% of all Internet traffic will be videos this year, and if those numbers sound like the kind of content shock we discussed in Content Marketing: Content Matters, we agree.

Learning to tell engaging video stories is essential, so we'll repeat tips we learned for Devin Stone's skilled video LegalEagle video editor LegalEagle YouTube editor:

  • Branding
    LegalEagle's branding components such as Devin's dapper dress, easy narrative manner, and using a law office-like backdrop create contrast with Awkward Anthems funky dress including her Awkward Anthems tee, less polished backgrounds, and easy narrative manner. Branding can be any consistent thing.

  • Calls-to-Action
    We've discussed the importance of asking your customers to take actions because if you don't know what you want your visitors to do confusion is the result. LegalEagle's ability to build and blend their CTAs provide great lessons in effective conversion your videos and websites should steal.

  • Pattern Interrupts
    Breaking up videos with jokes, graphics, and fly ins that keep or shock attention back to your video story. We agree with Amy pattern interrupts are an art. We would pay to attend Amy's Masterclass in the art of pattern interrupts and how to use Easter Eggs to keep your viewers guessing.

  • Sponsor Seques
    Smoothly blending sponsorship ads into your video storytelling, even if you are the sponsor of those "ads", is another art LegalEagle masters.

  • Production Mindset
    Amy discusses the most challenging thing in a production video storytelling environment - staying on deadline with passion and commitment. Amy's discussion of optimizing her video editing environment while rolling with the inevitable punches any production environment brings or "stumbling a lot until you find your rhythm."

WTE faced a video marketing dilemma. When we finally got around to updating our website, like most tech companies, we cobbled customer shoes before our own; we knew how vital videos would be. So we did an unsuccessful search for a video creation partner. Unfortunately, video demand outstrips supply; asking someone else to create our videos would take too long and be costly.

Our social marketing and graphic designers got mad when they heard we searched for videographers, and they were right. WTE's teams are so focused on customer projects we thought asking for their help would be an unreasonable imposition. Luckily, they viewed working on WTE.net as an opportunity, not a burden. Our team's fantastic creation convinced us of two things - we already had the expertise needed. We may lock them in the basement, feed them, and toss the next video project down because there is video marketing in our and your future.

A B2B Social Story

b2b social story featuring Amy Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

A Fictional B2B Social Story

Amy's thirty-first birthday is in four days. Her birthday present to herself was Brené Brown's book Atlas of the Heart (find links in Resources). She's listened to every Brown book, usually while driving to work. Amy lives in the Kansas City burbs, but she has worked downtown since earning her master's in business administration from Harvard.

At Harvard, Amy worked on the Harvard Business Review for a year, first as a writer and then as a contributing editor. Amy rarely buys books because she's moved several times since leaving college, and books are a pain to pack, lug, and store.

Amy's single because who has the time? Amy works eighty hundred-hour weeks as a routine, but she thinks of her work as a cause. After losing her mother to breast cancer when she was at Choate Rosemary Hall, Amy made a promise to help cure cancer. As an undergrad at Vassar College, Amy wanted to be a doctor. Still, organic chemistry and her favorite professor, Brett, head of the English department, convinced Amy she should figure out a way to write for a living. That's why she joined healthcare startup PatientsVoices.net last year as a marketing director, her third startup in five years.

Amy is a cord cutter deciding not to have a Dish installed when she moved to the carriage house she rents in the country. Amy loves to ride horses, and doing so was her motivation to move into the country, but she has less time for riding than romance, reading, or working on her Horse Hands Medium blog these days. Amy has the latest Galaxy smartphone and works furiously on her Google Chromebook. Amy knows how to code but puts writing code behind other things she doesn't have time to do, like finding a new boyfriend, writing, and reading her new book.

Amy bought a Chromebook because she uses a mobile Virtual Private Network (VPN), a personal cloud, Google Drive, DropBox, and GitHub eliminating the need for a large hard drive. She likes accessing her files with any device from anywhere at any time. She used the Flipboard, Feedly, and Quora applications program interface (API) to write a simple news-gathering and Q&A algorithm that decides what news to send to her smartphone, blog, or read-later folder can't remember the last thing she read later.

Amy doesn't speak on her phone nearly as much as she texts, and she isn't on Facebook. Amy and a few friends from Harvard created a social community application using Disciple, and that's how she stays abreast of what classmates and friends are doing. Amy and her friends used the Disciple API to create a personalized social network that doesn't track, follow, or spam. 

PatientsVoices popped up in Amy's feed with a post about teaching computers to think like patients. Amy read the post, followed PatientsVoices CEO Mary Kay O'Connor on LinkedIn, and included PatientsVoices in her alerts and news feeds. When the patient experience (PX) startup she worked for failed to convince enough investors to complete their series B round, she asked Mary Kay if she could email her resume.

Mary Kay felt like she knew Amy because she consistently commented on and shared PatientsVoice's LinkedIn posts. Mary Kay was glad to follow Amy after seeing Amy's invitation to connect on LinkedIn. Mary Kay asked for help and advice on a webinar for C-level healthcare executives.

Amy shared several recent posts from her news feed explaining how she used an algorithm to mine LinkedIn, Feedly, and Flipboard. Mary Kay was fascinated and shared several of Amy's suggestions using LinkedIn's @AmyHBR to share credit in Amy's direction and to say thanks for such great advice. 

b2b social story billboard featuring Brene Brown, Quicksprout, Michael Litt, vidyard, Tim Stoddart, vidyard

Reaching Amy

It's impossible to disrupt a message into Amy's hectic life. Amy's inaccessibility fortress has two cracks - her automated news and Q&A search and her friends. Amy's fortress dosn't mean she isn't open to persuasion. Amy can be persuaded particularly when content falls into two categories - tech education and creating a work and life balance. Amy knows she works in a rapidly changing field where advantage exists on the margin between learning something new and rapid adoption. The need to know or the fear of missing out (FOMO) drives Amy's relentless search.

PatientsVoices post about teaching patients to think like patients included tags and keywords Amy's LinkedIn algorithm searches for including #patientexperience #px #ai #healthcare, and #healthcareai. Inside of Amy's news search tools such as Feedly are real simple syndication (RSS) "subscriptions" to online marketing blogs including:

  • Harvard Business Review - HBR
  • Michael Litt's VidYard Blog
  • Tim Stoddard's Copyblogger Rainmaker FM podcasts
  • Malcolm Gladwell

SMM at Scale

Social Media Marketing at Scale

We like to create causes instead of marketing campaigns (mostly) because asking for Help engages people who want to join, contribute, and share. There's an inflection point in online marketing. Your role needs to shift from content creator to curator and builder to general contractor. No company, brand, product, or website can create content fast enough, as we shared in Content Marketing: Community in a Box.

Your marketing team's content needs are always more significant than your ability to write and create. That's why you should consider your social media marketing at scale, ask for Help, and develop self-sustaining communities as much as possible.

Things can happen fast online, so the online scale is different. Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks have billions of active visitors daily. Creating social media marketing at scale requires developing self-sustaining (mostly) online communities, so your online marketing team curates at least as much as they make. 

Social media networks are self-sustaining online communities. While your website doesn't need to be Facebook or LinkedIn, stealing a few tips from social media networks is a good idea.

  • Think Platforms and Community, Not Sites
    Think about your website as a community; your role is to encourage and curate user-generated content.

  • Ask For Help
    The 1-9-90 Rule says 1% of your visitors are willing to contribute when asked, so ask them, appreciate their contributions, and publicly define their "Ambassador" role (9% will share your content significantly when contributed by a 1%er and 90% of your visitors read).

  • Reward the Brave
    It takes courage to trust you enough to contribute, so make sure you appreciate those prime movers willing to help shape your causes, community, products, brands, and company.

  • Do Less, Listen More 
    Listening is a great way to shift from creator to curator, so ask questions, praise responses, and create community and change together.

We have a weekly Key Performance Indicator (KPI) meeting to review progress against goals, adjust content or causes, and evaluate if we've reached the creator-curator inflection point. How do we know when we get the creator-curator inflection point? That's a secret we'll be glad to share face-to-face.


Social Media Marketing with User Personas

Marketing is a specific not a general art form. That's why we develop archetypical users to represent the needs of larger groups. These user personas are fictional, but created to solve a real problem - make sure our content converts visitors into customers. 

Converting visitors into customers isn't easy. Most websites convert 1% to 3% of their visitors, and conversions take many forms from joining a newsletter mailing list to buying a product. Content generally and social media content particularly must speak to the psychology, goals, skills, attitudes, and needs from different groups. Here are two WTE persona examples.


John Parker

Digital Marketers

Chief Marketing Officier (CMO) at ABC Healthcare startup

Age: 32       married       One two year old daughter with a brother or sister on the way

Friendly, always learning, collaborative. 

John wants to become wealthy at a young age via stock options, learning and improving his resume, and working hard with people he trusts, admires, and wants to become.

Fear of Missing Out, getting fired before stock options vest, and not providing a better life for his growing family.

John is analytical, he wants to know how to measure success to find repeatable plug-and-play patterns that bring more visitors to ABC's website, increases conversion rates and other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

John's small team can't seem to create enough great content, would like to know more about Instagram and social media marketing, and must dramatically scale ABC's website on a shoestring budget.

John went to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh where he majored in Computer Science. After working as an intern for a year at DEF Healthcare startup John went to The Fuqua School of Business at Duke earning a Masters in Business Administration. John worked for Procter and Gamble for five years after business school and before joining ABC Healthcare.

Reaching John
John's FOMO makes him a great candidate for Tech Tuesday, his desire to learn more about Instagram marketing means he should be on our next Social Media Marketing Webinar invitation list, and John's need to scale on a shoe string budget makes secrets shared on our Content Market page could motivate John to call WTE to learn more.

Smartphones & Social Media

smartphone ownership graphs

Smartphones Driving Social Media Platform Growth

You hold why social media is exploding in your hands – smartphones. As Statista (linked in Resources) explains:

  • Smartphones
    This year the number of global smartphone users will be 6.6 billion, a 4.9% increase over the previous year.

  • Consistent Growth
    Global smartphone users grew at an average of 10.4% annually, with the most extensive Growth of 21% in 2017.

  • Smartphones Dominate
    77% of all mobile phones are smartphones.

As the chart below using Wikipedia active users statistics illustrates, TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform. Still, TikTok has a way to go before eclipsing Facebook's 2.91 billion or YouTube's 2.29B active users.

social network growth chart

YouTube’s almost 5% growth in 2021, adding 112M users, creates the most dramatic increase behind TikTok. YouTube and TikTok take advantage of two unrelenting trends – online video consumption and smartphone ownership and usage growth.

Why and How Social Media Networks Grow

  • Platform Bouncers
    The average person bounces between seven social networks per month.

  • More Time on Social
    At an average of 95 minutes per day, social media usage time is higher than ever.

  • Fastest Growth
    TikTok is the fastest-growing social network growing users by 105% in the US over the past two years.
  • Facebook Slowing
    Facebook usage has decreased by six minutes a day over the last five years, from 39 minutes a day in 2017 to 33 minutes last year. Growth Versus Installed Base.


B2C Social Story

YouTubers our fictional B2C story couple John and Amy follow:

  • Kyle Hates Hiking - watched Kyle's attempted thru-hike of the PCT and gear recommendations John likes that Kyle isn't perfect.
  • Zpacks.com - John followed Kyle tent saga and decided to buy two new Zpacks Plex Solo tents after watching Kyle's review. 
  • Clownfish TV - Kneon and Geek Sparkles helped John and Fran decide not to go to Disneyland due to rising prices and crowded parks.
  • Fran's Cooking Channels - Fran likes to cook so she watches Pro Home Cooks, Peaceful Cuisine, and Marion Grasby
  • REI's Blog - John visits REI's blog and clicks on links when they appear in his Google searches that's how he and Fran decided to winter camp in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
  • FutureProof - John decided not to buy the Arc'teryx Proton LT he wanted after watching FutureProof discuss Arc'teryx's "street cred after visiting the Fjallraven Polar Explorer pages. FutureProof's The Truth About Fjallraven is how John and Fran discovered the brand. 
  • CompanyMan - John decided to upgrade his iPad after watching Apple the Rise and Fall and Rise again and he gave his old iPad to his son Robert. 
  • Jacques Slade - John loves watching Slade discuss sneakers and decided to buy a pair of Lebron James XX after Jacques' review. 
  • Goat.com - John would have purchased his new kicks on the Goat, but they were much more expensive and he wanted to actually wear his newest pair of sneakers so he bought them online with a ship to store option at Dick's Sporting Goods. 

Cord Cutting & Social Media Not For Kids

Cord Cutting Infographic

Social Media Trends infographic

App installs Forbes

Video Gamers & Videos

Video Gamers infographic

Videos Why Make More This Year Infographic

B2B Social Story

Tools  Dropbox,  GitHub,  Flipboard,  Feedly,  Quora,  Disciple. LinkedIn

Influencers  Brené Brown,   HBR,  PatientsVoices,  Michael Litt's VidYard blog,  Tim Stoddard's Copyblogger Rainmaker FM podcasts, and Malsolm Gladwell

Smartphones Drive Social Media

Smartphone, laptops, ereaders, and desktop computer ownership Pew Research charts.
Smartphones dominate Statista
Sprout Social Social Media Statistics

WTE Magazines

WTE on Flipboard
WTE on Flipboard
WTE Ecosystem Magazine
WTE Ecosystem Magazine
Techno Magazine
Techno Magazine