73% Of U.S. Adults Use Social Networks. Pinterest Passes Twitter In Popularity

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You already realize that SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing all need to part of your 2014 internet marketing strategy but you wondering how you’re going to come up with a strategy to execute and then efficiently manage this strategy on the many social networks you’ll be using.

You may also be wondering which social media networks to focus on. Especially because you’ve heard that younger people are moving out of and away from Facebook and over to the “new school”, short, micro format social networks like Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine. The good news is Facebook is still alive and kicking and doing fairly well, thank you very much, among adults in the United States.

According to a new study released December 30, 2013 by the Pew Research Center, 73% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind and Facebook is the dominant social platform based on the number of users.

What’s even more interesting to me is that a striking number of users are now starting to diversify and become active on other social media platforms. The Pew Research says 42% of online adults now use multiple social networking sites.

“In addition, Instagram users are nearly as likely as Facebook users to check in to the site on a daily basis. These are among the key findings on social networking site usage and adoption from a new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project. Despite recent growth by services such as Pinterest and Instagram, Facebook remains the dominant social networking platform.”

Adults in the United States Love Social Networking

This is fairly important data to consider when planning your social media marketing strategy for 2014. An overwhelming majority of American adults (73%) are using social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and/or Instagram to communicate, share, and creep on each other every day.

Let’s put that into perspective and remember why Facebook is still a major marketing platform. Facebook, the world’s largest social network with likely over 1.19 billion users, is the most popular social platform in the United States and now has over 71% of the U.S. adult population posting, commenting, sharing, and liking several times a week.

It’s important to note that the PEW research shows that the numbers of U.S. adults using Facebook has increased 4 points from last year’s 67%.

social media site usage 2012-1213

Social Networks Of Choice

As we start a new year, many of us social media marketing agencies, SEO consultants, and content marketers are taking a long hard look at the many changes in digital marketing and search engine optimization that we were dealt with in 2013. It’s clear that Facebook is dominant with American adults, but what about the other social networks?

The chart above shows LinkedIn at #2 increasing by 2% from last year. This translates to 22% of U.S. internet users who use it. But what I find more interesting is that Pinterest is at #3 with 21% of American adults pinning and is also crazy close to being tied for #3 with LinkedIn!

Even crazier is the fact that Pinterest overtook Twitter to take the #3 spot. Twitter has increased in US adult users by 2%, which is 18% of US adults. Then check out Instagram who is ready  to overtake Twitter next hanging in there at 17% of U.S. adult users.

Notice a major social network missing from this study? What about Google+!!?? Pew didn’t include G+ in this study’s questions. I wonder why as well, but PEW says it was NOT due to the network’s lack of popularity.

So we’ve looked at the Top 5 but does everyone use all 5 regularly? A substantial amount of respondents in fact don’t use multiple social networks. 36% of respondents say they only use one social network. The Pew Research noted that 22% did not use any of the five specific sites we asked about.” Which could possibly suggest that they used social media services like Google+, Snapchat, Vine, or nothing at all.


Usage, Frequency, and Engagement

For brand marketers and SMBs, metrics like social platform usage, number of active users, and levels of engagement are all critical factors that need to be considered and measured for a successful social media and content marketing strategy. The Pew Research continues to get more interesting. When they looked at the frequency of use for these Top 5 social networks, the rankings were much different.


Facebook + Instagram

Frequency Of Social Media Site UseThe chart on the right shows Facebook remaining on top with 63% of people logging in daily and 22% weekly. Facebook’s “other” company, Instagram moves from last place (in the chart above) to a solid second place behind Facebook at 57% of people accessing it daily and 20% snapping and editing on a weekly basis.

Interesting side note: check out how similar the numbers are between Facebook and Instagram. Their daily, weekly, and less often usage numbers are crazy close. TechCrunch suggests that this is why Facebook was keen to acquire Instagram: “their usage patterns are very close.”


Twitter + Pinterest

If you recall from above, Pinterest flew past Twitter in terms of the number of U.S. adults who use each social network over a year, which indicates that Twitter sees less users than Pinterest.

For me as a content creator and social media marketer, engagement is a key metric. The chart indicates Twitter sees much more daily usage as 46% of people tend to check in daily to tweet, RT, or creep their followers profiles, blog posts, Vines and photos.

Pinterest has a much lower daily user rate at 23% but 45% of people login and Pin every week.


Multiple Daily Use

Of course many people check in to one or more social networks each day. Pew says that a significant number of users login to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter multiple times each day. This makes a ton of sense and should come at no surprise, but check out PEW’s numbers for perspective:

  1. Facebook: 40%
  2. Instagram: 35%
  3. Twitter: 29%

This is why you must post at least 1-2 times a day and remain relevant and active on these three popular social networks – if not all 5 platforms in this study. Remember, many people login to check to see what’s up in their digital social world multiple times a day.

Repost blog articles, tweet compelling content 3-5 times per day. Post a an image or two on Instagram while you’re at it. Post with social media optimization (SMO) and appropriate keywords and hashtags in your descriptions, link to your website, and watch the engagement and website traffic start to increase.


The Social Media Matrix

The Pew Research explains Facebook’s dominance by stating the obvious. Facebook has been around the longest, essentially created the social media template, and has the largest appeal to a wide range of users. The other social networks, while large, aren’t as fortunate.

Pinterest is well known to be huge with females. Four times as many women use Pinterest than men. Twitter as well as Instagram are both popular with the urban centred younger crowd. The largest demographic using all these social networks (other than LinkedIn) are 18-29 year olds.

The Social Media Matrix

The Wrap

No matter what you’ve heard about Facebook, it’s clearly still the number one social network in the world and is enjoying life with older, adult users. Their other company, Instagram, is gaining control of the younger demographic as is Snapchat, Vine, and don’t count Twitter out. If you’re marketing to women, Pinterest needs to be in your social marketing mix.

If your business has a great Facebook following, use that to build out a few other social media networks. Just because Google+ wasn’t used in the Pew study doesn’t mean your business shouldn’t use G+. Spend some  time getting a good SEO consultant to build and optimize your companies Google+ profile as well as your Google Local Business Page! This will bring you so much “good” in the near future and well beyond, trust me.

Get into Pinterest if you haven’t already. If you’re wondering if Pinterest Marketing is for your business, please read my article on Pinterest Marketing Tips for Brands and Businesses.

If you’re posting images on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, don’t stop there!! Get that image up on Instagram while you’re posting to your other social channels. Hashtag it and use appropriate keywords that people would use to search for your products and services.

Never forget your Social Media Optimization (SMO). To understand SMO, please read one of my most popular articles, How Social Media Supports SEO.

I know this can sound overwhelming not to mention very challenging in a time-crunched world. If you’d like some help with your social media, content marketing, and website content optimization please contact me and I’d be happy to buy you a coffee and discuss how we can reach your goals.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this Pew Research, please leave them in the comments below.


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