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It’s official: despite their reserved reputation, Brits love social media. Here’s how to connect with your audience online.

Standoffish. Reserved. Distant. Rude.

Be honest: ever felt that way about the British?

It’s a well-worn stereotype. So you might be surprised at how ‘social’ us Brits actually are. With an enormous 67% of the population active on social media, we have an average of seven social media accounts each. And spend almost two hours a day using them.

Which is great news for brands. Of Instagram users, 83% use the site to discover new products and services. 53% will follow brands if they like the content, even if they’re not huge fans of the brand. And 87% take action after seeing product information – like clicking through to buy, or researching to find out more.

Instagram’s also just released a ‘Checkout’ feature in the US, allowing users to buy directly on the site. It’s only a matter of time before this expands to the UK – making the platform even more attractive for brands.

Instagram isn’t even the most popular platform. That honour belongs to YouTube, while 71% of UK adults can also be reached with Facebook ads. Suggesting, whichever platforms you’re using, UK social media should play an integral role in your content strategy, from boosting brand awareness to generating leads.

But of course, your strategy will depend on your target audience. And different demographics respond in different ways on UK social media. Here’s how to get your approach right – and some success stories to get the creative juices flowing.


59% of global social media users are aged between 18 and 34. From a statistical point of view then (without taking your target audience into account), it makes sense to skew young when it comes to social media content.

This is also true in the UK, but with a caveat. Here, 18–34-year-olds make up only 42% of the country’s social media users – meaning over 50% are aged 35 or older. Given only 26% of this latter group like branded social content, social media may not be your most fertile ground. If you decide to run social media campaigns for this older target audience, focus on Facebook, use celebrities sparingly and be highly targeted.

By contrast, Gen Z spend three hours a day on their mobile. Over a fifth of this is dedicated to social media: 30 minutes on Youtube, 14 using Snapchat, 11 on Facebook, and just 5 minutes for Twitter.

This breakdown reflects the fact that for Gen Z, social media is more about fun content than friends. Which is good news for brands, as they’re much more receptive to branded content and celebrity influencer marketing. In fact, using celebs in your ads can boost brand awareness by 16%.

Interactive ads are also popular with Gen Z, as are high-quality videos. (Check out how to localize your existing video content for the UK here.) Look into TikTok too, which is rapidly becoming the social media platform of choice for this generation.

Millennials also love social media. But for them, it’s all about sharing experiences. Don’t focus on pushing products. Instead, build a community and a brand experience they’ll want to be a part of. Win them over and you’ll turn them into ambassadors – they’ll share their purchases on social media.


Targeting a specific gender on UK social media? You’ll need to vary your approach.

Women are generally more likely than men to have a social media account. Even on Facebook, one of the most popular sites for both genders, there are 11% more females. And although Twitter and YouTube are fairly evenly split, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Snapchat and Instagram are more popular among women.

But just because there’s less interest among men doesn’t mean you should ignore them on social. Consider supplementing social media campaigns with another form of marketing to make sure you’re generating as much awareness as possible.


There are plenty of examples of brands launching great social media campaigns.

Take Spotify. In late 2017, they scrutinized their data, using it to come up with humorous ‘2018 goals’ based on the apparent thought process of their users. At the same time, the brand launched a promotion for its Premium service. The ads were displayed on billboards. For example:


(Source: The Drum)

People appreciated the billboards, so they started taking photos and sharing them online, boosting the campaign’s reach and engagement. The result? Revenues tripled in the next quarter, with subscriber growth outdoing expectations as well. It’s a perfect example of how a strong offline campaign can make a big difference online.

Taking a different approach, Spanish store Mango used influencers to increase their digital presence. They asked 20 influencers to wear Mango clothes from new launches and post photos on their own accounts.

The campaign was a hit, surpassing the company’s expectations and boosting brand awareness. Today, if you search #MangoGirls on Instagram, you’ll see hundreds of thousands of photos – 80% of them from real people.


UK social media offers huge potential for your brand. As ever, the trick is to know your target audience and adjust your strategy accordingly. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box either. Spotify and Mango saw big results from their quirky social media campaigns. There’s nothing stopping you either.

Need a hand establishing yourself on UK social media? Check out how we can help here, then get in touch with our digital team.

Photo by Nina LaMaitre on Flickr