Eight New Findings on Social Media

by Terrace Crawford

I feel like I’ve become a part-time student of social media—and I like it. I do a lot of research (particularly these days) on the subject, and because of current projects I’m working on, I suspect that I’ll be blogging more and more on social media. Recently two corporations (Arbitron and Edison Research) decided to collaborate and study how Americans are using Social Media. At Blogworld 2011 Tom Webster (VP of Edison) released some preliminary data in his talk and I wanted to share with you eight findings on how Americans use social media that you might find interesting:

1. Social Media’s Reach: More than 51 percent of Americans (ages 12 and up) are on one or more social media platforms today. Over 46 million of those Americans use their social media platforms at least once daily.

2. Demographics: The typical social media user is apparently a 35-year-old white (caucasian) woman. Only 43 percent of men use social media. Other numbers: 64 percent of caucasians use social media, while only 28 percent of African American and hispanics combined use it and only eight percent make up other minorities.

3. Mobile users fueling growth: More than half of social media users are using their smartphones to update their accounts. In fact, 64 percent of those who use social media use their (smart)phones to update their statuses.

4. Twitter vs. Facebook: Eight percent of those recently surveyed say they use Twitter, while 51 percent of users said they had a Facebook. Don’t count Twitter out—that eight percent translates to over 20 million Americans too. Are you on Twitter?

5. Location-based services and apps: Only about one third of social media users actually know what location-based services are. You know— Foursquare, GoWalla and the like. The number of users is expected to grow exponentially over the next couple years though!

6. Broadband users: Six out of seven American homes have broadband Internet access, while nine out of ten are online. Wonder how many of those connect (or will connect) through social mediums over the next few years? How are you reaching people who aren’t connected through social media?

7. Brands on Social Media: Social Media has really put brands on the map. Because of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, companies have made a ton of money! The question is, how will you leverage it? Recent research shows that one in four users are following a brand on social media.

8Facebook is influential: There is research to show that marketing via Facebook (whether business, church, organization) is profitable; however, it’s not enough. Webster mentioned in his talk that even though Facebook is influential it’s not enough to persuade the consumer to trust your product or offerings. You must use other social platforms and mediums to connect with your audience.

TC is a MENTOR to students and youth workers; COMMUNICATOR; pop culture junkie; NETWORKER; blogger; EDITOR at ChurchLeaders.com, and chicken wings CONNOISSEUR. This post originally appeared on Terrace’s blog, June 6, 2011. Used with permission.