I overheard my sister and her former colleague discussing the value of social media and digital marketers within the tech industry. As they both worked in tech I expected they would find the roles useful. Unlike companies specializing in travel and merchandise their products were not very sexy and their services did not inspire jet-setting photos. Surely, anything their digital marketer can do to put their name out there would help.
Their verdict was summed up with two words.
Why would their companies need Instagram when what they were doing was not based on visuals? Why would they need a huge Facebook following when their only followers were current employees? More importantly, why did their companies hire people who only knew how to grow an Instagram and Facebook presence? Why didn’t they get someone who knew how to improve their SEOs instead?
While Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and LinkedIn are the leading social media platforms tech companies use, there are others that may be more beneficial. They are smaller, but arguably more focused. After bumbling around the internet I learned of three, less obvious platforms that might help.
I know, I know, the Front Page of the Internet is not exactly a “professional” social media platform, but hear me out. According to a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 18% of the American population (I’m using America because that was the country whose population was polled) used Reddit. While this number is far less than the percentage of polled Americans who use Youtube (81%), Facebook (69%) or Instagram (40%), it pays to consider who makes up that 18%.
It turns out the demographics of Reddit skews nearly 2:1 male to female (perhaps even higher). They are approximately 18-29 years old with the majority of them being college graduates. The percentage of those making less than $30k a year is slightly higher than the American national average for the same income bracket (10% Reddit users make less than $30k vs. approximately 8.9% Americans), but that can be explained by how the platform attracts mainly younger users.
Meanwhile, what are the demographics within the tech industry? According to a 2021 Statista study, men outnumber women in tech positions by nearly 4:1. This comes as no surprise and while there are efforts out there to increase the diversity in tech that’s not the subject of this article.
What we want to know is why tech companies should consider building a Reddit presence. The biggest reason is hiring. Here’s a platform composed of young male college graduates and it looks like they might want a job. Given the similar demographics of both Reddit and the tech industry it makes sense for tech companies to put themselves where they can be found. They can use ads to attract talent, post industry specific content in the appropriate subreddits and provide links to their company blog for potential candidates to explore.
Just don’t read the comments (For God’s sake don’t read the comments!)
If Reddit can be used to attract young interest and talent, Quora can be used to vet and engage with potential hires and clients. While the following statistics are a few years older than Reddit’s, it still bears consideration.
According to Alexa.com, approximately 35% of Americans used Quora compared to Reddit’s 18%. They are also 37% more likely to hold a management position within their company. This leads us to one of the most attractive traits among Quora users and that is their income level. While 26% of Reddit users made more than $75k a year, that number jumps among Quora users with 54% of them making more than $100k a year!
This is where tech companies can find and engage with high level professionals in their industry. More importantly, this is a platform where they can provide value to people and businesses looking for their services.
For those who are unfamiliar with Quora, it is a platform where people ask and answer questions. Tech companies can provide value on day one simply by answering questions. By freely (yes, freely) helping fellow users, a tech company can show itself as an authority within its space and raise its profile. This engagement combined with the use of Quora ads to grow its presence will allow a tech company to reach more clients and appear more attractive to management and C-Suite professionals around the world.
Bing (yes, Bing)
While not technically a social media platform, what shows up on search engines is just as important, if not more so, than a company’s brand. Google is the industry leader among search engines commanding 92.03% of the market share as of August 2021 (well no sh*t). If a digital marketer is worth their salt, they should be working damn hard getting their company onto the first page of Google and keeping them there.
Guess which search engine comes a distant second? Bing-o.
But with only 2.48% of the market share, Bing barely has any clout. Why should digital marketers look at it, let alone twice? Because Bing still accounts for 500 million searches per month in the US and 1.08 billion monthly visitors around the globe. If everyone else is neglecting Bing in favour of Google then that’s an opportunity for tech companies to step in and get in front of 1.08 billion eyes.
The same argument can be made for other search engines. For example, if a tech company does business in China then it should find a way to get onto Wechat, Weibo and Baidu. If it’s doing business in Russia it should find a way to get onto Yandex. Digital marketers should be able to keep their companies showing up first no matter what country it does business in.
I think it would be fairer to say that my sister and her former colleague were frustrated less about the role social media and digital marketers play in their industry and more about the poor fit of the hire. So many tech companies hire these professionals expecting them to improve and promote their brand. But if the person has no background in tech, how can they begin to choose the platforms their company will find most valuable? Also, if the company does not know what it wants to achieve, how can it communicate its expectations and measure the progress?
Perhaps if tech companies hired based off a candidate's experience working with similar companies instead of on how many followers they have on Instagram the role of the social media/digital marketer might make more sense.
Again, I repeat I am neither a social media nor tech professional but the subject was interesting enough for me to look through some charts and share my findings with you. I hope you found it interesting too. And if you are a social media/digital marketing or tech professional, I hope you found this piece somewhat amusing and I apologize for all the toes I stepped on.
Auxier, B., & Anderson, M. (2021, April 7). Social Media Use in 2021. Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2021/04/07/social-media-use-in-2021/
Foundation Team. (2021, January 7). 21 Quora Statistics Marketers Need to Know For 2021. Foundation Marketing. https://foundationinc.co/lab/quora-statistics/
Johnson, J. (2021, April 29). Bing - Statistics & Facts. Statista. https://www.statista.com/topics/4294/bing/#dossierSummary__chapter2
Richter, F. (2021, July 1). Women’s Representation in Big Tech. Statista Infographics. https://www.statista.com/chart/4467/female-employees-at-tech-companies/
Search Engine Market Share Worldwide | Statcounter Global Stats. (2021, August 31). StatCounter Global Stats. https://gs.statcounter.com/search-engine-market-share
Who uses YouTube, WhatsApp and Reddit. (2019, June 12). Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/chart/who-uses-youtube-whatsapp-and-reddit/