Study: Here are the specific uses people have for each social media channel they use

Social media advertising platform 140 Proof recently teamed up with IPG Media Labs to conduct a study on the social media habits of people, in particular how their behavior varied across the use of several different social media platforms.

Now we all know we use different social media networks to achieve different things. For me, LinkedIn is for growing my professional network, Facebook is for friends and family, Twitter for broadcasting thoughts and Instagram for gawking at the rest of the world. The study showed that I’m fairly close to how the typical American uses these social networks. Do these stats match up with your activity as well?

When it came to interests, there weren’t too many surprises in people’s habits. Facebook and Pinterest dominated the categories of personal interests such as food, hobbies, fashion and home decor. Twitter was the platform when it came to celebrity gossip and LinkedIn of course only led the way in Business and Industry.

It’s interesting to see that despite all the hue and cry about how Facebook is failing marketers, it still had the most engagement for brands, followed closely by Twitter and then Pinterest. Instagram jumped ahead of LinkedIn, which highlights just how big a part visuals play in getting engagement from customers. There’s definitely a lot of marketing activity on LinkedIn, but it’s more B2B and traditional lead-fishing techniques through written content.

People also used different social media networks to connect with different types of people. Here are the stats:

The most interesting categories for most marketers are of course are “Brands” and “People with Common Interests.” Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest once again lead the way in brand engagement, followed by Instagram and LinkedIn right at the bottom. It definitely underscores how important visuals are to establishing a brand’s presence, and although Twitter isn’t really visual, it provides a place where a brand can create a unique character and voice.

Tumblr is conspicuously absent from the “People with Common Interests” field which leads me to be a little suspect of this study. Tumblr is a platform that seems tailor-made for niche communities and weirdo fan clubs to congregate around similiar content. If there’s one place where brands can get through to consumers through shared interest marketing, its Tumblr.

In addition to the stats about social media usage, the study yielded some other interesting observations, including:

–  Likes and followers aren’t forever: Brands work hard on getting people to follow their presence, but they need to work at maintaining that following too. 61% of social media users reported unfollowing a brand they didn’t like or thought was adding to their experience on the platform.

– People like to be targeted according to stated interests, not their online behavior. The study showed that people are still a bit creeped out by super targeted ads enabled through cookie tracking. 58% said they would much rather get ads based on the interests visible on their social media profiles, rather than seeing ads based on their browsing history (22%)

– To get a really accurate picture of a customer, marketers need to create a holistic picture of them through all their social media activity, not just their behavior on any given social media.

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