Where's Waldo: Social Media Edition

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While waiting for a recent flight at Indianapolis International Airport, I indulged in a little people watching and was reminded of the many characters that struggle through departure gates daily. As I sat, I zoned in on one major detail - what everyone was doing on their phones. I saw a teenager sending a Snapchat, a man in his 20s scrolling through live Twitter feeds and an older couple viewing a new Facebook album of what I can only assume was photos of their granddaughter. All the while, I was searching sleek living room designs for my new Pinterest board. One airport gate captured the segmentation of audiences we see on social media today.

Have you done any people-watching of your own advocates lately? Knowing where your audience lives online - and why they use each platform - should be a vital part of your digital strategy.


Facebook remains the most popular social media platform, with 1.19 billion users worldwide. And while speculations have swirled for years that it's losing traction with younger audiences, 87% of adults 18-29 still use the platform. Experts expect to see big gains in Facebook with users 65 and older as well. The older audience uses the platform to reconnect with old friends, join discussions about chronic disease, play social games and bridge the generation gap within their own families.


18% of the total U.S. population uses Twitter. The little blue bird remains especially popular with college-educated individuals under age 50 who use the platform to stay up-to-date on news. In fact, nearly 9 in 10 Twitter users say they use it for news, and the vast majority of those (74%) do so daily. If your organization watches trends and successfully implements newsjacking strategies, Twitter can become an invaluable tool.


LinkedIn boasts 400,000,000 registered users. Of those, 23% are adults, making it more popular than Twitter for that demographic. But here's the kicker: students and recent college graduates have become LinkedIn's fastest-growing group! If you want to engage with young adults just starting their career- start here. As you probably know, LinkedIn is more business-oriented than other platforms. Your advocacy organization can use it to build your position as a thought leader, connect with other like-minded organizations and share open positions.

Analyzing which social media platforms to include in your digital strategy is a multi-step process. Who makes up your audience? What platforms work best for your content? Tell us in the comments. And for resources on making the most of social media, check out the Digital Advocacy Institute.