Social Media Network Demographics: What Brands Need to Know

Social media has changed how consumers relate to brands, interact with friends, build relationships, get their news, and so much more. Sixty-five percent of adults use social networks, up from just 7 percent 10 years ago­. Smart brands understand the importance of making adjustments to their segmentation strategy to ensure that the right message is reaching the right people at the right time. Posting the same copy and link on Twitter does not mean it will perform the same on Facebook or Pinterest. Knowing which social networks your target audience prefers and how they use them are key factors in building a successful social media presence. Let’s take a look at what social media demographics are most responsive to four of the most popular networks:

Facebook

This remains by far the No. 1 social network . As of August 2015, researchers found that 72 percent of adults online use Facebook.

Facebook User Demographics

  • There are more than 1.44 billion monthly active users on the site
  • 77 percent of women use the service, while only 66 percent of men do
  • 87 percent of people ages 18­–29 are on Facebook, while 56 percent age 65 plus use it
  • It has the most evenly distributed demographics of any platform
  • Its popularity among older users is growing

Facebook users come from all countries, races, religions and cultures, and their age has fluctuated over time. Some research says it’s starting to skew older. Facebook has experienced an 80 percent growth in ages 55 and over, while teenagers are gravitating toward social apps like Snapchat and Instagram, which might be a more ideal channel for those who don’t want their grandparents “liking” their posts or seeing updates from mom and dad in their feed. Facebook appeals to older generations because of their desire to stay connected to family and old friends. In fact, 92 percent of people over 50 use Facebook to stay in touch with loved ones, while 48 percent use it to share updates and photographs.

Should your brand be on Facebook?

Yes! It has the largest, most diverse demographic spread, and the majority of online adults use it. Be mindful that Facebook isn’t all about selling; it’s about presenting your company in a social manner and engaging with people interested in your industry, business, brand and/or services. Use Facebook to create awareness about your brand by posting content like engaging videos, photos and interactive carousel ads that take people to any page on your website.

Instagram

About 28 percent of online adults use Instagram. The app-based social network has 400 million monthly active users and continues to grow at an impressive rate.

Instagram User Demographics

Instagram has become the most-used social media platform for teens in the U.S. In fact, 32 percent of that group cited it as their most important social network. Why the popularity among nonwhites? Because it creates a level playing field for getting African American’s voices heard says Wayne Sutton, a social-media consultant and blogger at SocialWayne.com.

“With the history of our culture, we now have an equal channel like anyone else,” he told USA Today. “We’re also some of the largest consumers of entertainment and sports. And that’s a lot of what is said on social media by us.”

African Americans’ usage of Instagram (23 percent) also outnumbered that of Hispanics (18 percent) and whites (11 percent), according to Pew Research Center.

Should your brand be on Instagram?

If you’re looking to provide your target audience a peek behind the scenes and promote your brand through engaging visuals, Instagram could be for you. Fashion, food and home décor brands tend to do well on this social network, but that doesn’t mean your tech company or content marketing agency can’t reap the benefits of posting to the ’gram. Think about what makes your business look awesome and post about it!

Need another reason to get your brand on the network? Instagram delivers engagement rate of 4.21 percent per follower. That’s 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook!

Pinterest

About 3 percent of online adults use Pinterest, a leading visual bookmarking, discovery platform and online community all rolled into one. More than 100 million people sign on to the site each month to pin, post and get pin-spired.

Pinterest User Demographics

Some studies have reported that women use Pinterest as a wish list, while men use it more as a shopping cart. Women may pin clothes and beauty products as inspiration for what they’d like to buy, while men pin products they plan to buy. 

Should your brand be on Pinterest?

Fashion, photography, design, DIY–related businesses, and home décor—if your business falls into one of these categories, your brand could do well on Pinterest. This image- and product-driven platform was made for visually appealing brands. Another bonus: Pinterest can help generate sales through product pins, which include more business links, the price, availability and where to purchase the item. Research shows that Pinterest users are some of the most engaged social media users, and many rely heavily on the platform to help decide what to buy. Eighty-seven percent of users have purchased a product because they saw it on Pinterest while 93 percent have used Pinterest to plan purchases.

Twitter

Twitter is the second-most used social media platform, and similar to Facebook it mostly appeals to a younger audience. The site is host to more than 320 million active users per month.

Twitter User Demographics

  • 37 percent of adults 18–29 years old use Twitter, followed by 25 percent of adults 30–49
  • More men than woman use the service (24 percent vs. 21 percent)
  • Only 9 percent of Twitter users are in the 50–64 age group

For those who like to keep close tabs on trending topics and breaking news, Twitter is the place to be. According to Pew Research Center, following public figures online is something that Twitter users especially like; they tend to enjoy it more than social-media users who don’t use Twitter.

Should my brand be on Twitter?

Sports teams, news outlets, retail brands and marketing agencies may find Twitter to be a top choice for their company. Twitter is all about the here and now. If you want to deliver in-the-moment updates on developments at your B2B or B2C company, discuss topics and get in on the conversation happening about trends that impact your target audience, Twitter is a great option.

For many brands, Twitter is an essential tool for customer interaction and communication as well as social campaigns. For example, Apple recently launched a Twitter account for its customer service team to give consumers quick, real-time answers to questions about their Apple products. This savvy approach allows brands to empathize with consumers and build a friendly rapport while addressing customer service needs at the same time. When customers experience friendly service, they’re 76 percent more likely to recommend a brand.

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By now you should have a good idea about which demographics tend to use the top four social networks, why and how they use them, and the platform best suited for your brand. However, it’s smart to choose more than one. Being only on Facebook (or whichever network you decide) will make it difficult to address all your business needs. It’s important to evaluate your goals and determine which networks would will help your brand reach and engage your target audience.

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