Introducing Your Friends, Fans and Followers

Social Media is among many things, our gateway to discovery and interconnection. While social networking may seem trivial, truth is that we get out of it what we put into it. But this goes beyond the time and energy we spend on day-to-day participation. Our investment in social media earns its largest dividends when intent and purpose meet personification and engagement.

We are defined by what we share and who we know and in the world of business, media, and education, the architecture of a social network is already transforming social graphs into interest graphs. This isn’t about connecting with anyone and everyone; this is about connecting with the right people, at the right time, and in the right place. They are our social catalysts who will not only engage but more importantly, help us scale. As a result, our social network becomes a connected series of social nicheworks where each community around us is cultivated individually based on interests, motivations, and expectations. This is bigger than interpersonal relationships however.

Businesses in any industry, must also focus on direct connections. For brand managers, plugging into interest graphs is just the beginning. Actions speak louder than words and by focusing on the diversified needs and expectations of social consumers, we can indeed connect what I call the Last Mile of P2P person (customers) to person (representatives) online relationships

Brands + Social Consumers + Influencers = Brandgraph.

the goals for brands in social networks are manyfold…

1. Build communities and relationships

2. Create brand lift

3. Activate communities to take action

4. Establish goodwill

5. Evolve social from a cost center to also a profit center

Nice to Meet You

While it’s not enough to measure the success of social media campaigns by the quantity of the 3F’s, knowing who they are and what moves them is imperative. Once we understand who we’re reaching and why, we awaken to the reality that no one social media size fits all. We are, after all, identifying and connecting with the varying faces of social consumerism.

Understanding why consumers follow brands represents the ingredients for the development of a meaningful content and engagement recipe.

We recently peered into the looking glass to humanize the population of Twitter. Now, the team at Ad-ology shared another report to help us personify the 3F’s so that we can begin the diversification of our social programming.

Ad-ology interviewed a national sample of 2,111 Americans about their interests and attitudes about the presence of brands in social networks. Let’s take a look at the people behind the Likes and Follows.

Demographics

Age: Twitter

42.3% of those who follow a brand on Twitter fall between the ages of 25-34

21.1% = 35-44

19.7% = 18-24

11.3% = 45-54

Age: Facebook


Like Twitter, the majority of brand followers in social represent the 25-34 age group. Compared to Twitter however, there’s a large difference, 42.3% Twitter and 30.1% Facebook. The top age groups also follow Twitter’s composition…

27.3% = 35-44

14.8% = 18-24

13.7% = 25-54

Race: Twitter

The majority of followers who responded in this survey reported that they were white, 81.7%. However, culture is important to engage at varying levels and requires the balance of demographics and psychographic connections.

Race: Facebook

While Facebook follows the trend of ethnic makeup, we do see a variation in the percentages. On Twitter, English speaking Hispanics following brands represent 8.5%, the second largest percentage. On Facebook, they represent 4.7%, the third largest percentage, behind the African American community, which represents the second largest percentage with 10.2%.

Children: Twitter

56.3% reported that they do not have children while 43.7% of Twitter users who follow brands do have children.

Children: Facebook

Twitter and Facebook are practically identical in this category. Fans and followers without children outnumber those with children at home.

Twitter: 56.3%

Facebook: 55.3%

Marital Status: Twitter

Similar to those with and without children, we find that the majority of participants who reported following a brand are single (59.2%).

Marital Status: Facebook


On Facebook, the division between married and single people who Like brands is nearly equal 51.9% and 48.1%. On Twitter, almost 60% of users who follow brands are single.

Education: Twitter

According to the survey, 31% of Twitter users following brands have completed some college. 28.2% have earned their Bachelor’s Degree. And, 19.7% have continued to finish Grad School.

Education: Facebook



According to these numbers, Twitter and Facebook appeal to an educated group of people and over one-third, in turn, choose to connect with brands.

Gender: Twitter

On Twitter, more women than men follow brands, 54.9% vs. 45.1%. Women, in general, outnumber men on social networks and also boast the greatest amount of influence across the entire Twitterverse.

Gender: Facebook

Similar to Twitter, more women than men connect with brands on Facebook. Interestingly though, more women Like brands on Facebook than they do on Twitter, 65.8% (Facebook) vs. 54.9% (Twitter.)

Conclusion

Consumers are already indicating that they are ready to help you…they just need recognition, engagement, and most notably, empowerment.

It is those brands who understand who they’re not only trying to reach, but also those consumers trying to connect with them that will succeed in creating a meaningful and interactive community within social networks of relevance. Ultimately however, looking beyond demographics will enable brands to demonstrate empathy to engender the emotional connections that transcend economies and the network du jour.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Facebook

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If you’re looking for a way to FIND answers in social media, consider Engage!: It will help


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Image Credit: Shutterstock

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  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/internetmarketingnickstamoulis Nick Stamoulis

    My advice to people every day is, social media is a long term initiative, you must engage your audience every day, keep yourself fresh in their minds, and it will pay off! I like the way you put it, “you get out what you put in” so if you simply make a facebook page, and never use it, you’ll get nothing back. The mentality of “if you build it they will come” doesn’t apply here, social media requires work!

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Well said Nick!

    • http://www.tremployee.com/ Jerry Yu

      Yes, Nick, social media is just like a kitchen knife, use it, otherwise it will get rusty.

    • Devin De Roon

      Social media is an upcoming fad that is only going to continue to grow. Exchanging information using social media is a great way to get in touch with particular audiences. Like you said, you must initiate whatever it is that you want to accomplish.

  • http://dewita.biz/blog Dewitahs

    Thank you Brian. This is a great post!!

  • http://www.jonfmoss.com JonFMoss

    Thank you Brian. This is a great way to start off December and plan for 2011. Statistics are eye-opening, but the real fun starts when you begin to inject the info into a viable strategic plan to more effectively market a product/service. Lots to do…

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  • http://twitter.com/BGiffuni Blas Giffuni

    @Brian, Any reason not to have Spanish speaking US Hispanics? there’s a growing trend of companies serving in Spanish to this segment and these companies are already seeing great returns. I’ll recommend Latino Link from Joe Kutchera

  • http://twitter.com/ColleenIrish Colleen Irish

    Thanks for sharing this thorough breakdown of demographics. It’s great info to pass onto the higher beings of my company, as those levels are still trying to understand microblogs and tools such as Twiiter. Most important points of course are the percentages that are likely to buy when following a company/brand on Twitter and facebook, and the percent likley to recommend to others. That’s where these online communities are most beneficial, obviously…the viral effect.

  • http://desertstandard.com halfacat

    Excellent article driving home the demographics here. Clients are always suspicious when I tell them people on SM are educated, and of buying age. I will be using this in my presentations. Thanks!

  • http://www.DaveLianelli.com/resources.html Dave Lianelli

    Great research figures Brian. It shows yet again that there IS money to be made by using social media in the marketing-mix. However it takes time, lots of engagement and plain old entertainment in most cases to succeed. And that’s exactly what a lot of companies seem to miss.

  • http://www.DaveLianelli.com/resources.html Dave Lianelli

    Great research figures Brian. It shows yet again that there IS money to be made by using social media in the marketing-mix. However it takes time, lots of engagement and plain old entertainment in most cases to succeed. And that’s exactly what a lot of companies seem to miss.

  • http://www.websuccesscoach.com Demetria

    Interesting stats from Ad-ology. Proves that many people using Twitter are college educated as opposed to high schoolers, etc.. Thanks for sharing the demographics.

    • Devin De Roon

      From what I have seen and heard it seems like Twitter is more for older ages such as college and above, while Facebook is the one being used still with high school or for that matter even younger.

  • Dean

    Brian,

    This is a very important article for marketing professionals and companies looking to launch lead generation and brand awareness strategies in Twitter. Your quote:

    “Consumers are already indicating that they are ready to help you…they just need recognition, engagement, and most notably, empowerment.”

    I love this quote. We believe that brands must engage one on one with their consumers and prospective consumers; they can not rely upon traditional methods to scale a message that needs to be personal to each consumer.

    It is the very idea that social media “does not scale”, a quote we hear everyday from our clients, that helps us to understand that creating meaningful conversations and engagement will provide the biggest impact on the bottom line.

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  • Jeff Ryan

    Great stuff thanks for sharing or shall I say Engaging :-)

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      #Engage!

  • http://www.pammarketingnut.com PamMktgNut

    Brian, you know I am a fan of everything you write. This is a most awesome article. I have met some brilliant minds of which we are now partnered, serving as clients and friends with via Twitter. I can’t imagine my biz without it. To some it may sound crazy but those that “get it, get it”. I couldn’t agree with you and Nick more. Be real and engage authentically with a focus on value! Social media is not a magic wand or bandaid for a broken biz. It takes both art & science. Those that can grasp such will be who will succeed. I feel sorry for the folks sitting on the bench refusing to accept the bus is leaving and has left the station. Engage or be left behind.

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      You know…I wasn’t actually sure I would publish this post. Thank you Pam. that means a lot. Engage or die!

  • http://twitter.com/PriorityPR Priority PR

    This has been my favorite post from you. Thank you for all your hard work.

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      wow. ok…thank you.

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  • http://www.tremployee.com/ Jerry Yu

    Thank you for your meticulously prepared data. Brian. I am a man, 23, single, from China and have a bachelor’s degree. Oh, yes, I’ve got a plan :o)

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  • http://www.sharelomer.com SharelOmer

    This is a great post!

    The focus on 1. Build communities and relationships and 3. Activate communities to take action is super interesting and it was a true pleasure reading it!

    Thanks!
    Sharel

  • http://invisibleinkdigital.com Invisibleinkdigital

    It would be interesting to revisit the stats again in 3/6/9/12 months time. Shift in the digital space is increasing in its velocity. I wouldn’t be surprised if the figures you’ve presented shift as social media moves from early adapters to a wider demographic.

    But to Nick Stamoulis point, brands cannot afford to sit back and take a passive approach to social media. Like any successful venture, the more you put in the more you get out.

  • http://twitter.com/deannie Deanna McNeil

    I got to this phrase, “We are defined by what we share and who we know” and I started to talk to you via my monitor, “No Brian, really????” Phew! You had *much* more to say.

    I’m going to say something crazy that isn’t in your charts Brian, but it seems to me that those brands that choose to be niche agnostic (Coke, etc) can & are doing something really powerful: uniting consumers in a way that leaves them feeling attached to a brand. When you see an image of someone enjoying a coke, we don’t wonder what language they speak.

    The charts here speak volumes, really appreciate this view into these services.

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Thank you Deana…loved this line, “When you see an image of someone enjoying a coke, we don’t wonder what language they speak.”

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  • http://www.mkedave.posterous.com mkedave

    Great post here Brian. If consumers are ready to help our brands, then we (as communications consultants) should spend more time moving the already-bought-that group closer to the i’m-still-considering-that group. We should introduce the convinced to the unconvinced. As a marketing and communications pro, this is an obvious example that I need to worry less about persuasion tactics and more about putting the right kind of buyer into the right kind of network.

  • http://twitter.com/JohnBarlowe JohnBarlowe

    Sorry to be so boring but all I can think to say, Brian, is ‘wow, great post as usual’. Thanks for all you do.

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Thank you John…

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Thank you John…

  • http://twitter.com/JohnBarlowe JohnBarlowe

    Sorry to be so boring but all I can think to say, Brian, is ‘wow, great post as usual’. Thanks for all you do.

ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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