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Facebook #8212 To use, or not to use That is the question

Facebook notifications.-(THINKSTOCK)

I think I’m going to delete Facebook.I mean, sure, Facebook — especially for a millennial — can still be incredibly useful for things such as growing one’s personal brand or involvement in community organizations.

And, as a journalist, it is still an important tool for tapping into the collective mindset and coming up with new ideas (while navigating the pitfalls of “fake news”).

But frankly, its near daily use has become so overwhelming that it causes anxiety and fatigue. It has caused me to re-evaluate friendships with those who create false online personas of themselves for external validation. And, let’s face it — it causes more arguments than it does anything else.

I long to live my life without feeling the incessant need to experience it through the lens of social media. I look forward to the resurgence of in-person interactions. And, I cannot wait to forget about FOMO (fear of missing out) altogether.

So, here is why that matters to the business community: I am not the only one.

In fact, statistics show that I am part of the growing majority.

According to customer acquisition platform Fluent, 43 percent of millennials ages 18 to 34 still use Facebook every day. However, that is 18 percent lower than non-millennials.

That number continues to drop to 36 percent when speaking about younger millennials (ages 18 to 24) and millennial men, in particular.

Millennials, in general, are re-evaluating their usage of social media and becoming more selective of which platforms they want to participate on and what kind of content they want to consume.

For consumers, the answer is no longer, “I need to be on them all.” The question is now, “Facebook or Twitter? Twitter or Snapchat? Snapchat or Instagram? Instagram or YouTube?”

This should not only force businesses to reconsider the methods they use to engage with their customers via social media, but also, where, when and to whom.

For one thing, millennials are no longer the heaviest users of social media.

According to the 2016 Nielsen Social Media Report, Gen-Xers are.

Millennials ages 18 to 34 spent about six hours and 19 minutes each week on social media last year — a respectable increase of 21 percent over 2015; however, Gen-Xers ages 37 to 52 spent an additional 39 minutes (an increase of 29 percent), and Baby Boomers ages 50-plus increased their social media usage by 64 percent, spending about 4 hours and 9 minutes each week.

You would think those numbers would have boosted the success of “traditional” marketing on social media, such as providing additional product information, offering discounts and access to VIP opportunities and encouraging customer reviews, however, less than 40 percent of social media users engaged with brands that way. 

In fact, less than 30 percent followed to became a “fan” of something or someone, and just 13 percent of heavy social media users clicked on an advertisement.

Last year, brands that especially increased targeted advertising and video capabilities more successfully built brand loyalty and advocates across generations and gender.

That is because more than 50 percent of social media users were active in multimedia by posting and sharing photos, watching videos and commenting on posts.

Easily shareable content — whether that be photos of motivational quotes, the creation of live video for Q&A’s or real time events, or even memorable memes — make it more likely that brand advocates showcase their support.

So is mobile optimization. At this point, that is no longer an option for anyone. Ever.

Across the board, 70 percent of social media users of all ages utilize their smartphones to access social media.

Why? They multitask across multiple screens.  

“A whopping 61 percent of unique Facebook users who are interacting about something TV-related on Facebook are female,” Sean Casey, president of Nielsen Social, said in the report. “And when it comes to connecting with social TV audiences, bear in mind that using multiple devices at once is the new normal and reaching out while this group is watching TV is vital to capturing their attention.

“Keeping an eye on what female Gen-Xers are watching when it going to be key to finding them.”

That advice does not simply apply to brands seeking more women consumers.

According to the Nielson data, the best time to engage on social media is Sunday during primetime television — including televised sporting events. Facebook engagement increased by 43 percent at that time and Twitter by 33 percent.

All of this information can be overwhelming in itself and for most companies represents a complete 180 of the data they may once have used to construct social media campaigns.

Unfortunately, that is the fast-paced nature of online technology today. It is a necessary evil for most businesses, one that must be carefully controlled, monitored and created to be highly adaptable — but, it can also sometimes be fun and challenging.

Sounds like the perfect task for a restless millennial as they seek to decrease their time perusing social media and increase their time creating more original content for brands.

Meg Fry