According to latest online research 64 per cent of adults currently use Facebook, 12 per cent use Twitter and 8 per cent use LinkedIn. This highlights how PROs will reach more people by concentrating marketing efforts on Facebook rather than on other networking sites.
Which social media sites do consumers use?
The research also looked at how often users accessed the sites:
Of those currently using Facebook, 60 per cent say they access Facebook at least once a day with 33 per cent of Facebook users accessing the site multiple times each day.
Of Twitter users, 44 per cent access the site at least once a day with 26 per cent of them accessing the site more than once a day.
Of LinkedIn users, 19 per cent access the site at least once a day with only 7 per cent of making multiple visits.
Not only do more people use Facebook, but they use it more often. Gregory Absalom, from Opinium Research, says that Facebook‘s domination of social networking is no passing fad: “With 60 per cent of Facebook users accessing the site at least once day the nation’s love affair with the site looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.“ However, he points out that PROs must not forget that a sizeable section of the population can’t be reached online: “Social networks aren’t for everyone and there is a third of the online population yet to sign up to any form of social media.”
But when you are focusing on social media, Facebook is the one to look at first. James Warren, chief digital creative officer at PR firm Weber Shandwick says: “Thanks to its stellar and continued growth, Facebook is rapidly becoming media shorthand for social media. Yes, Twitter has a critical role to play in getting stories out to the media and other influential individuals, but Facebook is where your ultimate audience is (and this is rapidly becoming as true for enterprise audiences as it is out-and-out consumer folk).”
Warren says prioritising Facebook has other advantages: “The good news is PROs can do so much more in terms of creative content within Facebook than in Twitter.“ However, Warren is careful to underline that Twitter should not be ignored, “This isn’t a one-or-the-other issue. We’d recommend that PROs use both Twitter and Facebook, indeed all relevant channels, to drive as much awareness and interest in their campaigns as possible.”
Many PROs may love spending time on Facebook and Twitter, but how often are they using the sites productively? Sandy Eifion-Jones, director at editing and PR agency SEJ, says it is vital to be focused: “Most business people Tweet away, not knowing what they are really doing, wasting time. That’s why it is important to be trained to manage social media.”
It is also important to use each site appropriately. Keren Burney, founder of PR consultancy Compege, says that she approaches Facebook and Twitter quite differently: “I enjoy using Twitter in my work for several reasons. It allows direct contact with influential and interesting individuals to whom one would not normally gain quick access. I have 'met' people such as journalists, PR and marketing professionals.
“Facebook to me is more of a potshot at friends of friends of friends – a round-the-houses approach. You can say more on Facebook, and build huge groups, but Tweeting can be faster. Although there are journos on Facebook, I don’t look for them there as it seems a less professional space..”
Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,022 UK adults aged 18-plus from 8-10 December 2010. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.
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