Social Media: Who Uses It and Why?

Would it surprise you to learn that the biggest gains in who’s using social media are among older users? According to a report in eMarketer, “consumer internet barometer” U.S. internet users who visited a social site in the 2nd quarter of ’09 rose 16% over last year. Females still lead males in usage and 70% of users were under the age of 35. The most popular sites in order were: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter.


US Internet Users Who Visit Social Networks, by Gender and Age, Q2 2008 & Q2 2009 (% of respondents in each group)

Now that we know who uses it, we can tackle the why.

According to a post in eMarketer, marketers surveyed by Marketing Sherpa in late 2008 found that increasing brand reputation and awareness, along with improved search engines, headed up the reasons why they thought social media was an effective tool. Blog or social media advertising, online news release distribution and blogging led the way as far as tactics they thought to be useful.


Social Media Tactics that US Social Media Marketing Professionals Feel Are Measurable and Effective, December 2008 (% of respondents)

Now based on what you just read, what do you think business executives think of social media?

Sean Callahan from BtoB online reported recently on a survey conducted by Russell Herder and Ethos business law that business executives were grappling with social media. The online survey of 438 executives showed:

  • 51% fear social media and that it could be detrimental to employee productivity
  • 49% said social media could damage the company’s reputation

At the same time they said:

  • 81% can enhance relationships with customers
  • 69% can aid in recruiting
  • 64% it could function as a customer service tool

About 70% say they are going to increase their social media, however only 33% had a social media policy in place.

I don’t know about you, but I think these guys are talking out of both sides of their mouth. The only thing they should do is support a social program. They should stick to what they know and do well and let the marketing departments do their jobs.

What are your thoughts?


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  1. Bren Parks

    Let’s face it, social networking and media are here to stay. Looking at the broader picture here, we need to recognize its development as part of the evolutionary process on a social level that our species is undergoing in response to our technological advancements.

    How we react to the process will determine its long term effects on us.

  2. Mark Yoder

    Social media is an ever increasing force in human interaction. It has always been the job of marketers to go where their customers interact in order to reach them. Social media has grown faster and reached more people worldwide than any other phenomenon. If your company has not begun using social media and is still thinking about its role. The boat left the dock and its gaining speed. Don’t wait too long to get involved.

    • tradesmeninsights

      Mark,I couldn’t agree more. The leaders of tomorrow are capitalizing on the social media experience of today. It’s all about building relationships and social is a great way to identify like minded people but also start a dialog with them. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Joseph Tamargo


    I do think social engagement is important to some degree but you have to be very careful when your looking for a good ROI.

    I see so many companies “go social” only to have it work against them or not convert.

    Its still a “new ground” and you have to be very very careful with social media.

    Just my thoughts and thanks for the article.


    • tradesmeninsights

      Joseph, Thanks for the comments. ROI will come but not necessarily in your time line but the readers. I think that’s where marketers get in trouble they promise their management so many results in a certain time period and can’t deliver.The 1st objective should be to gain trust as an authority in your space and then you’ll begin to build relationships and some may turn into business. You can’t “work” a social program like you would some other marketing tools.

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      • Tonya Goldbach

        Thanks for clearing that up! I understand that some of this content is still relevant to who uses SM and why, but I was totally thrown off when the link to this post was in the January 2012 newsletter. So much has changed and it just didnt feel timely…

        • John Sonnhalter

          I believe the newsletter listed the top posts from last year. Sorry for the confusion and you a certainly right on how fast things change. Have a good one.

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