10 Surprising and Important Social Media Stats You Need To Know

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We love to make decisions and form strategies based on statistics. It’s why we A/B test and how we change directions on our social sharing.

Who doesn’t love a good statistic, especially one that has an actionable next step?

You’re likely to find a sea of statistics for social media—I know I’m amazed at how many are out there. My favorite finds are those that are just a bit surprising or unique or even counterintuitive.

I’ve saved some of the best social media stats I’ve found over the past few months and I’m happy to share them here with you. Keep reading to see some fun, surprising, and (you guessed it) actionable stats for how you can better share on social media. Got any stats that you’ve found helpful? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

1. Your biggest advocates have the fewest followers

When looking at your social media monitoring strategy, note that your brand/company mentions on social will likely not come from social’s biggest players. Very few, in fact, will.

Social monitoring website Mention analyzed over 1 billion social mentions from the past two years, and in their analysis they found that 91 percent of mentions come from people with fewer than 500 followers. 

Social mentions by follower count

And these are potential brand advocates—only 6 percent of the mentions in this study were deemed overtly negative.

What you can do with this stat: Putting this stat another way, fewer than 1 out of every 10 mention will come from a power user. You can prioritize these power users if you want, but it’s also important to give a quick and delightful response to those with few followers—the vast majority of those talking about you.

2. Twitter has 6 distinct communication networks

The Pew Research Center and the Social Media Research Foundation combined on a report that analyzed thousands of Twitter conversations to come up with six distinct communication networks. Which of these six do you most closely identify with? Twitter 6 communication networks What you can do with this stat: Tight crowds and community clusters seem like apt groupings for brands interested in a lot of engagement. Support networks, too, can be a type of communication network for brands, especially if you are doing customer support on Twitter. Analyze your own place in these Twitter networks to see where you fit and if you need to change your strategy to mix with a different group.

3. Marketers say written content trumps visuals

Social Media Examiner’s annual survey of nearly 3,000 marketers leads to a ton of insights into how marketers think about social media and sharing.

Interestingly enough, in a social landscape dominated by visuals, it is written content that most resonates with marketers. Over half of marketers (58 percent) claim written content is their most important form of social content. Visual content came in second (19 percent.) Content for marketers

What you can do with this stat: Original written content can be a great opportunity for thought leadership, authority, and brand awareness. When you’re creating new content to share, keep in mind the power of storytelling. If you’d rather zig while the others zag, this stat shows you some fertile ground for developing lesser practiced strategies, like focusing on visual content.

4. You have less than an hour to respond on Twitter

Consumers expect a lot from you on Twitter, as recent research by Lithium Technologies confirms. The real-time nature of Twitter has led to incredible expectations. According to Lithium, 53 percent of users who tweet at a brand expect a response within the hour. The percentage increases to 72 percent for those with a complaint. Lithium-Twitter-Report-Response-Time

What you can do with this stat: Tools like Must Be Present can help you track your response time on Twitter, or you can invest in software like Spark Central to stay on top of your customer support tweets. At the very least, consider the timeliness of your response to your Twitter followers: Either grab a monitoring service to manage your timeline or get really good at checking your Twitter email alerts.

5. Late night is the best time for retweets

TrackMaven analyzed over 1.7 million tweets to come up with data behind the best practices for earning a retweet. The best time of day to tweet for a retweet? After-hours, between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. ET. Best time of day for retweet This advice follows the Late-Night Infomercial Effect (share when share volume is lower, and your content has a greater chance to stand out), so it makes sense to see that engagement after hours would be highest. Track Maven also found that Sundays are the best day of the week to get retweets and that tweeting with the word “Retweet” or with all caps or exclamation points leads to more retweets.

What you can do with this data: Test out the after-hours theory with some of your own tweets and see how engagement changes based on the time of day and day of week that you tweet. If you’re feeling particularly bold, you can try all caps and exclamation points, too.

6. Fridays are Facebook’s best day for engagement

The Social Intelligence Report from Adobe analyzed over 225 billion Facebook posts from the past two years to come up with some data-backed recommendations for Facebook marketers. Their research on the best day to post pointed to a clear winner: Fridays, which receive more comments, likes, and shares than any other day of the week.   Facebook Friday   What you can do with this stat: Be sure that your posting schedule includes a Friday post, and you might even consider saving your best stuff for the end of the week.

7. Photos drive engagement on Facebook pages

It’s likely that a stat about the power of visual content is not surprising to you, but how about a stat of this magnitude? According to Social Bakers, 87 percent of a Facebook page’s interactions happen on photo posts. No other content type receives more than 4 percent of interactions. Facebook page interactions by post type

What you can do with this stat: The obvious takeaway here is to post more photos—and not just any photos. Choose photos that support your post or tell a story on their own. Certainly, Facebook pages are already embracing photos as posts: 75 percent of page updates are photos.

8. Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter drive the most traffic 

Social sharing site Shareaholic revealed an interesting split in the way that social media sites refer traffic back to a website. Turns out, the data points to social being a source of either quantity or quality.

In terms of quantity, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are the top three referrers of traffic. The Shareaholic study looked at a four-month period of data (December through March), covering more than 300,000 websites. In their study of engaged traffic, the lowest-performing sites for referral volume came out on top for engagement.

YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn ranked as the top three sources for referrals in terms of time on site, pages per visit, and bounce rate. Social referrals engaged What you can do with this data: Get involved in social media accordingly. If you’re after a big reach and spreading brand awareness, go with Facebook and Twitter, and think long and hard about joining Pinterest, too. If you’re interested in more qualified traffic, then be sure to invest time in Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. These stats recommend a broad social strategy, if you have the time and resources to pull it off.

9. Aim for 28, 118 or 385 interactions per post (it depends on your total fans)

As Facebook page reach has declined, we marketers are left wondering what constitutes good engagement these days. Earlier this year, Social Bakers analyzed more than 40,000 pages to see exactly where the average engagement lies for pages of all sizes. Pages with 1 to 9,999 fans: 28 interactions per post 10,000 to 99,999 fans: 118 interactions per post 100,000 to 499,999 fans: 385 interactions per post Social Bakers Interactions for Facebook Pages Interactions represent the total of comments, shares, and likes. In addition to the benchmark data above, Social Bakers also found that interactions on a particular post are directly correlated to a post’s reach. The more engagement a post gets, the more people will see it.

What you can do with this stat: Measure your Facebook page’s success against the benchmarks in this Social Bakers study. As time goes on, reach and interactions may continue falling, so these targets could be great to aim for but not the end of the world if you miss.

10. There’s a best day for everything on Pinterest

The Pinterest blog recently revealed which categories get the most engagement on each day of the week. Here’s how the calendar lays out:

Monday: Fitness

Tuesday: Technology

Wednesday: Inspirational quotes

Thursday: Fashion

Friday: Humor

Saturday: Travel

Sunday: Food and crafts

Pinterest day-by-day data What you can do with this data: If possible, create a Pinterest board that touches on each of these seven topics, then build this sort of specific sharing into your Pinterest schedule.

Recap

Data and statistics like these can give you a good starting point for testing out your own action steps and strategies. Start with these stats, test them for yourself, and find the best system that works for you. Then come back and share! I’d love to hear how it goes for you.

Which of these social media stats stood out to you? Which ones might you act on? Do you have any favorite stats that have driven your social media decisions lately? 

Image credits: photosteve101, Social Bakers, Social Media Examiner, Pew, Adobe, emarketer, Track Maven, Shareaholic, Pinterest, Mention.

  • http://www.GregVaughn.com Greg Vaughn

    Looks like the marketers mentioned in #3 should pay attention to #7.

    • amp1976

      Totally. I’m a writer and am all for words trumping visuals…but that being said, I know never to question the viral power of a sparsely worded cat meme. :-)

      • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

        You got it! Quality words make quality visuals all the better (cat memes excluded)! :)

  • http://www.moneysavingexpert.com Andrea Hirai

    Nice article, very useful. Thank you!

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Thanks, Andrea!

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      My Name is Marti Settle ,i live and work in London UK. I will love to share my testimony to all the people in the forum cos i never thought i will have my girlfriend back and she means so much to me..The girl i want to get marry to left me 4 weeks to our weeding for another man..,When i called her she never picked my calls,She deleted me on her Facebook and she changed her Facebook status from married to Single…when i went to her place of work she told her boss she never want to see me..i lost my job as a result of this cos i cant get myself anymore,my life was upside down and everything did not go smooth with my life…I tried all i could do to have her back to all did not work out until i met a Man when i Travel to Africa to execute some business have been developing some years back..I told him my problem and all have passed through in getting her back and how i lost my job…he told me he gonna help me…i don’t believe that in the first place.but he swore he will help me out and he told me the reason why my girlfriend left me and also told me some hidden secrets.i was amazed when i heard that from him..he said he will cast a spell for me and i will see the results in the next couple of days..then i travel back to US the following day and i called him when i got home and he said he’s busy casting those spells and he has bought all the materials needed for the spells,he said am gonna see positive results in the next 2 days that is Thursday…My girlfriend called me at exactly 12:35pm on Thursday and apologies for all she had done ..she said,she never knew what she’s doing and her sudden behavior was not intentional and she promised not to do that again.it was like am dreaming when i heard that from her and when we ended the call,i called the man and told him my wife called and he said i haven’t seen anything yet… he said i will also get my job back in 2 days time..and when its Sunday,they called me at my place of work that i should resume working on Monday and they gonna compensate me for the time limit have spent at home without working..My life is back into shape,i have my girlfriend back and we are happily married now with kids and i have my job back too,This man is really powerful..if we have up to 20 people like him in the world,the world would have been a better place..he has also helped many of my friends to solve many problems and they are all happy now..Am posting this to the forum for anybody that is interested in meeting the man for help.you can mail him on this e-mail;bravespellcaster@gmail.com i cant give out his number cos he told me he don’t want to be disturbed by many people across the world..he said his email is okay and he’ will replied to any emails asap..hope he helped u out too..good luck his email;bravespellcaster@gmail.com,or kindly visit he website http://bravespellcaster.yolasite.com .

  • VerbalDude

    Um … if words trump visuals, shouldn’t we be saying so with a table rather than a pie chart? Or is it a case of nice colors trumping the universal suspicion that 79.63% of all statistics are made up? :-)

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Haha, good one! Maybe in this case, the valuable written content is the report that the visual is based on?

    • Vanaukener

      Marketers say it is there most important form. So to the marketers written content is worth more, more time spent on it, ect. Unfortunately it is visuals which get the most attention so marketers need to re prioritize.

  • Abby Bartlett

    I love reading all your blogs Kevan. Please keep it up!

  • http://captainkinnard.com/ Ben Kinnard

    I think the key to the first chart is wrong, should be 500.
    Point 3, doesn’t all data show that adding a photo to a blog increases engagement etc., doesn’t that go against what the marketers think? Maybe some self interest going on if they are already focused on written content?

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Nice catch, Ben! You’re exactly right about the first chart; it’s fixed now. :)

      Point 3 and Point 7 are really interesting contrasts for me, too! It could be that marketers see the ROI from written content in their conversion data whereas engagement stats point to the value of visuals. Maybe it comes down to measuring two different things?

  • http://writespeaksell.com jeannettepaladino

    Thanks for these very valuable insights. Quantity is not the goal, in my view, unless your a consumer products marketer. If you make soap then everyone quantity equals quality because it’s someone everyone uses. If you’re a B2B marketer, then quality and referrals is much more important. That’s why LinkedIn and Google+ have become important to me.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Great insights, Jeannette!

  • http://www.prosemedia.com/ Justin Belmont

    Thanks for sharing, Kevan. These stats show marketers a bigger piece of the social media picture. At http://www.ProseMedia.com, we encourage our clients to keep stats like this in mind, because they really do help you to figure out how to be most effective with social media marketing.

  • Sudharshan CM

    Thank you Keven Lee! It is a brilliant article which gives
    insights to derive strategies & bench marking.

  • Antonio Fernandez

    Thanks for sharing this interesting information on ways to control the statistics on social media …

  • http://Troyann.com/ Troyann -Breakthrough Speciali

    I’ve “shared” this article on my social sites with the note that it
    contains “a lot of USEFUL and USEABLE information.” Thank you veryyy
    much for this veryyy helpful information!

  • http://www.wiredhealth.org WiredHealthOrg

    Interesting article about Social Media Stats. Useful. Congrats

  • John

    Wow outstanding article! I actually read the whole thing!

  • http://davesteinsblog.esresearch.com/ Dave Stein

    Just a suggestion… When I clicked on the Twitter icon, this came up: “10 Surprising and Important Social Media Stats You Need To Know http://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-stats-you-need-to-know via @buffer”

    Why give them credit? I changed it to, “10 Surprising and Important Social Media Stats You Need To Know http://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-stats-you-need-to-know via @kevanlee.” So you get credit, not them.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Hi, Dave! Thanks for the “extra credit” on that one! It’s awesome you went the extra mile to change that!

  • http://linkd.in/1mq5215 Kylon Gustin

    great insights. thanks. and I agree. they are actionable.

  • David Delamare

    Nice collection of stats, Kevan. Sharing on Facebook and LinkedIn.

  • Lily Lee

    Awesome. Thank you. Great #Socialmedia #stats.

  • tlmaurer

    Thanks for sharing this useful information Kevan. Will be sure to pass it on.

  • Abhishek Sharma

    Thanks for valuable piece of knowledge. Nice article.

  • http://www.marcinkonkel.com/ Marcin Konkel

    Another great article. Keep it going !

  • Hussain Adel Al-Essa

    Ok I love the part about “written content”

  • vicdougherty

    Interesting, but the info on visuals was vague. What about context?

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Hi there! I hope I’m headed down the right path with this response. Definitely let me know!

      I think the “written content vs. visuals” stat can be a bit misleading. First off, it’s a survey, so there’s a bit of a different context there than a straight data analysis. Second, I got a bit tripped up at first with exactly what the stat was saying. Marketers called written content their “most important,” which is quite different than “most engaged” or “most clicked” or “best ROI.” My gut here is that “most important” means that this type of written content is the basis for so much else that marketers do. It begins with written content, then you can build visuals off the words, videos from the words, followup posts from the words, etc.

  • Goleng Lucky

    WOW!! This is unbelievably amazing!!! Really cool article I must say ;)

  • http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/ Michael I

    Keevan, thank you for this information. Some information makes sense, some of it did surprise us! Excellent range of information as well. On a side note, one little tid-bit to add is that the best day for press release distribution is a Tuesday! ;-)

    We had no idea that there were such dedicated days for Pinterest and activities. Wow. Again, excellent article, thank you for the share.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Hi Michael! Thanks for the comment! That’s a cool stat about press release Tuesday! Just curious, what do you think is the cause for that?

  • Aaron Musoke

    Great Kevan, lots of insight.

  • Erica Cottrill

    Fantastic content! Love the thought about the importance of content…

  • Chris Mikulin

    I totally disagree with Friday as the best day for Facebook posts. This is a page by page basis and shouldn’t be a blanket statement. My page’s best day is Wednesday. We historically always get the most engagement on Wednesdays.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Hi Chris! I completely see where you’re coming from. Sounds like you’ve done an amazing job of following the data to find your ideal day to post. That’s the perfect way to go! I’m thinking maybe Fridays would be a helpful starting point for folks looking to test some theories? I’d love to know your process for arriving on Wednesday. Did you try out a bunch of different days?

      • Chris Mikulin

        There are a few tools I have used to see when our fans are most engaged. Agorapulse.com has a good one that shows which days we get the most reach and which days we get the most engaged fans. For Facebook it says that Wednesday is our best day. I assume this is when most of our fans are on Facebook. Mondays are really good too, but I think it’s mostly because most of our posts happen on Mondays.

  • Pjotr van Lenteren

    I really enjoyed this post, thanks.

  • http://seedsclub.averagepersongardening.com Mike the Gardener

    This is a great list … I think a combination of good visuals in your content goes a long way as well

  • Faizan Tariq

    Your article contains highly valuable information for social media professionals. These are the best stats and facts I’ve come across in any SM related article. Thank you for share. Well done for the write up! :)

  • http://www.costcoauto.com/ DJ at Costco Auto

    Great information here. We all love statistics, now to put them into practice.

  • @victorimarm

    Really like this post, thanks for sharing !!!

  • TonyaD

    Really enjoyed reading this one, and as it’s 1am and I’m on Twitter (with my eyes half closed) I’m glad to see that #5 applies to me!! Cheers :)

  • Thomas Burton

    Very informative. What’s your take on Instagram? We use it to promote our TV Station. I think it’s great letting the younger audience know about the brand. Thanks for your time.

  • http://www.military.com/spouse/military-deployment/reintegration/returning-to-home-life-after-deployment.html unexpected miracle

    How to restore a broken relationship and marriage

    My Name is Marti Settle ,i live and work in London UK. I will love to share my testimony to all the people in the forum cos i never thought i will have my girlfriend back and she means so much to me..The girl i want to get marry to left me 4 weeks to our weeding for another man..,When i called her she never picked my calls,She deleted me on her Facebook and she changed her Facebook status from married to Single…when i went to her place of work she told her boss she never want to see me..i lost my job as a result of this cos i cant get myself anymore,my life was upside down and everything did not go smooth with my life…I tried all i could do to have her back to all did not work out until i met a Man when i Travel to Africa to execute some business have been developing some years back..I told him my problem and all have passed through in getting her back and how i lost my job…he told me he gonna help me…i don’t believe that in the first place.but he swore he will help me out and he told me the reason why my girlfriend left me and also told me some hidden secrets.i was amazed when i heard that from him..he said he will cast a spell for me and i will see the results in the next couple of days..then i travel back to US the following day and i called him when i got home and he said he’s busy casting those spells and he has bought all the materials needed for the spells,he said am gonna see positive results in the next 2 days that is Thursday…My girlfriend called me at exactly 12:35pm on Thursday and apologies for all she had done ..she said,she never knew what she’s doing and her sudden behavior was not intentional and she promised not to do that again.it was like am dreaming when i heard that from her and when we ended the call,i called the man and told him my wife called and he said i haven’t seen anything yet… he said i will also get my job back in 2 days time..and when its Sunday,they called me at my place of work that i should resume working on Monday and they gonna compensate me for the time limit have spent at home without working..My life is back into shape,i have my girlfriend back and we are happily married now with kids and i have my job back too,This man is really powerful..if we have up to 20 people like him in the world,the world would have been a better place..he has also helped many of my friends to solve many problems and they are all happy now..Am posting this to the forum for anybody that is interested in meeting the man for help.you can mail him on this e-mail;bravespellcaster@gmail.com i cant give out his number cos he told me he don’t want to be disturbed by many people across the world..he said his email is okay and he’ will replied to any emails asap..hope he helped u out too..good luck his email;bravespellcaster@gmail.com,or kindly visit he website http://bravespellcaster.yolasite.com .

  • Lily Lee

    Thanks Kevan. Your articles are very insightful.

  • Goldberger

    Hi! Kevan Is it possible to know the context and the year of the visual scheme of “5. Late night is the best time for retweets” from TrackMaven? :) thanks2U

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Hi there! The research looked at 1423 Twitter accounts and 1.7 million tweets, all the accounts had at least 1,000 followers. Looks like the report was published last year.

      Does this context help?

  • ronellsmith

    Kevan,

    Many thanks for this post, for it confirms some ideas I’ve long had about who shares our content and the best ways to get in front of them. Too often we’re looking to connect with the “apex predators,” in hopes that they’ll share our content with their audience, thus expanding our reach. The better play is to connect with the most socially active members of the “apex predators'” audience, then create content these folks will share based on what they have shared in the recent past.

    RS

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Hi Ronell! Thanks so much for this comment. I love your use of “apex predators.” Neat way to sum this up!

  • http://loyaltepays.com/svisw1 Jiri