By Rieva Lesonsky
If your small business is targeting niche markets such as specific minority groups, age groups or other demographics, it’s important to know what social media tools these individuals are likely to use. New research from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project examined what social media networks are most popular with different user groups. Here’s what they found:
Overall, social media use is widespread. More than two-thirds (67 percent) of all Internet users use at least one social networking site. Those 18-29 are the most likely of any age group to do so (83 percent), but even among the 65-and-up age group, nearly one-third (32 percent) use social media. Women are more likely than men to use social media, and urban residents are more likely than rural Internet users to do so.
What sites are most popular? Pew took a look not only at the “biggies,” but also at some up-and-comers.
Facebook is still the most popular social networking platform, with two-thirds of online adults on the site. Women are more likely than men to be Facebook users (72 percent vs. 62 percent), and the 18-29 age group is most likely to use it (86 percent).
Twitter is showing steady growth, with the percentage of Internet users who use this social media site doubling since November 2010, to 16 percent. People under 50, and especially those 18-29, are more likely to use Twitter. Urban residents are more likely than both suburban and rural residents to use Twitter. African-Americans are the most frequent users of Twitter, with 26 percent reporting they use it, compared to 14 percent of white Internet users and 19 percent of Hispanics.
Overall, 15 percent of Internet users use Pinterest, but this site is especially popular with the youngest cohort (18 to 29), those with higher educational attainment, and upper income consumers. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of Internet users with household incomes between $50,000 and $74,999 use Pinterest; so do 18 percent of people with incomes of $75,000 or above. Women are five times as likely to use Pinterest as men (25 percent vs. 5 percent).
Photo-sharing site Instagram is popular with 13 percent of Internet users overall. Women and younger users (under 50) are the most likely to use it; so are urban dwellers, African-Americans and Hispanics.
While Tumblr is still the least popular social networking site users were asked about—used by just 6 percent of Internet users—keep in mind that just a few years ago, Twitter had similar numbers. In addition, Tumblr is far more popular among younger users, with 13 percent of 18-to-29-year olds blogging on the site. However, Instagram, which offers similar photo-oriented functionality, has become twice as popular overall in a shorter period of time.
What do these stats mean for your business?
- If you’re targeting younger customers, you definitely need to be on social media—and you need to be checking out the newest up-and-coming sites. Whether that’s Instagram, Tumblr or something even newer, take the time to explore it and see if your target customers are there.
- No matter who you’re targeting, you probably need to be on Facebook. With even the 65-plus-crowd hanging out here, Facebook is a smart marketing tool for just about every consumer-oriented small business.
- Trying to reach women or high-income customers? Get familiar with Pinterest, since a high proportion of those customers spend time there.
Image by Flickr user eldh (Creative Commons)Google+