Sizing Up Today's Social Media Networks

Lauren MacEwen

Social media is filled with noise — noise of funny cats, political rantings, viral videos and, of course, porn. With more than a 1 billion people on social media, it is a major source of quality traffic and you want to capture as much as you can.

The question is how do you stand out above the noise? The key is to know where your audience is and how to target them.

Because millions of people are pushing content across these networks, it is that much more important for you to optimize your social strategy for the specific network, otherwise you are just more noise.

Facebook is by far the largest of all the social networks. With 1.19 billion users on the platform. Yes that is billion with a “B.” Facebook hosts 77 percent of all online U.S. adults. Due to saturating the user base, they have shown little growth in the past couple of years.

The under 30s continue to be the largest user base, despite rumors that younger users are fleeing en masse. Ironically though, a network that has its origins in higher education it is no longer as well educated as it once was.

And despite its roots in being a network for college kids trying to get laid, the social network has continued to be increasingly puritanical.

This poses a problem for the adult industry, significantly limiting what we are able to post. However, despite the grandiose size of the network it is not the wealthiest.

Most of Facebookers are under 30 and under $30,000. The question to ask is, is this an audience that will pay for porn? Facebook traffic does tend to convert for mainstream, but that does not always translate for adult. Where Facebook is concerned, personal profiles and groups remain strong when it comes to driving traffic. Though you can quickly get your profile suspended for doing business, or kicked out of groups for spamming, if you are not careful.

Twitter has 304 million users and is host to 23 percent of all online adults, according to Pew Research. They are the most balanced when it comes to female and male users, with a slight lean towards men. Twitter is bar far the most adult friendly of any of the social networks, despite rumors of a “pornocalypse.”

Tweeps also tend to be under 50 and over $50,000. Next to LinkedIn, Twitter boasts the wealthiest and most educated users. Though the network is ripe with free porn, the traffic that comes from Twitter is considered qualified because it is more likely to convert. Are Twitter users ready to pay for their porn? Yes they are.

Though Twitter does not offer groups, they do offer Twitter Chats. A good Twitter chat has been known to get hashtag impressions in the millions. The largest adult Twitter chat, #SexTalkTuesday, has gotten over 18 million impressions in an hour. Unlike Facebook, which restricts the reach of a post to often less than 10 percent of your audience, you can literally access an audience in the tens to hundreds of thousands, or more, on Twitter.

Instagram is the fastest-growing network with more than 300 million active users. Like Facebook, Instagram is predominantly female and is decidedly unfriendly to adult content. Seemingly, they are less friendly than Facebook. They not only ban images that have female nipples (male nipples are OK) and sexual content, but also ban hashtags like #curvy and #goddess because there was nudity being posted in association with those hashtags.

That being said, Instagram is becoming a strong network for brands that are focused on building awareness over clicks. You cannot link in Instagram, with the exception of on your profile. However, you can build brand awareness through active messaging. Many individuals and brands have found success on Instagram, as long as they are not defining success as direct traffic.

Pinterest continues to be dominated by women who post pictures of cats, cooking and crafting (CCC). Out of the CCC, cunt is not among them. Pinterest is decidedly anti-adult content. Even if you post images that are SFW, if you are linking to something adult, they will block your link.

Additionally, Pinterest traffic has been known to have a high bounce rate. The user base tends not to be looking for articles or sign ups, they are looking for more photos. If mid-30s women are your target, then this might be a good place to build your branding. If not, I would consider looking elsewhere.

Snapchat and Tumblr have the youngest audience of all the networks, with the majority being below the age of 24. Not surprisingly, this means education and income levels are equally low. Snapchat is definitely accepting of adult content. This can be a great platform for performers to give free content, or reward their followers with content. But brands continue to struggle on this network.

Tumblr is also accepting of adult content, though that seems to be shifting. There is a trend on Tumblr to block hashtags in search, and to come down on the more hardcore content. They are also not accepting of affiliate links, and are only useful for traffic if you can do direct links. People seem to have mixed success with this network. There are people who love it and swear by it, and others who won’t touch it. If you are targeting a younger audience, this could be a good network to try.

Discussion boards like Reddit, Digg and Slashdot are predominantly men. They can be a good place to get traffic as the forums are often adult tolerant. However, due to how the link and image shares often work on these sites, driving traffic can sometimes be tricky. It usually takes a while to build your reputation and find your niche, but once you do you can find some good success. The boards are not an overnight traffic source, but more a trial and error longer tail strategy.

LinkedIn has had some big growth over the past few years and is now up to 364 million users. Their user base is dominated by the college educated and has the highest income level than any other network. The majority of the users have a reported income of over $75,000. It is also the only network that has the majority of its users over the age of 30. Because LinkedIn is more for professional networking, it is not friendly to adult content. However, it can be a great place to make business connections both in adult and mainstream.

So what does all this information tell you? It can give you some good insight on where you should be posting your content. If you have great traffic from Facebook, but it is not converting, that may be because the users are too young and too poor. Reddit and Pinterest may be good traffic, but is it converting? It is not uncommon for Reddit and Pinterest to have bounce rates above 95 percent.

You need to look at what you want to get from your networks. If you are looking for models, go to where the under 30 and under $30,000 are hanging out. You may have a harder time driving conversion traffic to your site from those networks, but they could be a great place to find new models. If you are wanting to get the wealthier and more educated crowd, then go to the networks where they preside. Make sure that the content you are posting is of interest to that demographic. Use good grammar,complete sentences, and make thoughtful comments. If you want to dominate the photo sharing platforms, make sure your photos appeal to the audience. Use filters, hashtags, and post frequently.

It is not enough to start using a social network. You need to be aware of the user behaviors, and the demographics. You need to know how often to post, the kind of content, and the user behavior expected of you. Because millions of people are pushing content across these networks, it is that much more important for you to optimize your social strategy for the specific network, otherwise you are just more noise.

If you are unsure about which networks to utilize, and how to manage them, I recommend talking to a social media strategist who can help you figure it out, or manage it for you.

7 Veils Media manages social strategies for brands and individuals in both mainstream and adult. We would be more than happy to answer any questions about your social strategy.

Lauren MacEwen operates, providing social media strategy and management for the adult entertainment industry. Her Twitter handle is @7_veils.