Age Concerns: Social Networks for Specific Demographics Part 1

Let’s face it; social media has indubitably altered how and when we communicate with each other. It has created global communities and affected how we behave. But for many businesses, the big and loud digital frontier remains a quagmire of fear, apprehension and misunderstanding.

Understanding our customers – our audience – and their motivations is key to informing our decision of whether or not we ought to develop a presence on particular networks. In this two part blog, we’ll be looking at the demographics of the major social networks and analyse how and why people are using them.

Before looking at network specifics, we should look at user behaviours: recent research by the Harris Interactive showed social media users in the UK, on average, regularly use 2.6 platforms; we don’t exclusively one or the other these days, we use what fulfils our requirements. Worth taking into consideration is the rise and rise of mobile usage – Facebook alone is accessed by mobile by 89% of its user base. More than ever before, our clients and customers are likely to talk about us in-situ, as-it-happens.



Of the 1.44 billion global monthly active users, 24 million Brits log into Facebook every day and what’s more, they’re spending an average of 2 hours there each time. Unsurprising then that Facebook enjoys the greatest share of voice (the level of content and conversations about your business or brand).

With that in mind, consider your audience; consider that 27% of adults 18-29 years old have more than 500 friends in their network, while only 15% of 30-49 year olds do. Consider the potential impact for your business to be referenced in their conversations.

Though research indicates that over 95% of teens are active on Facebook, only 13% noted it as their favourite network, lending credence to the fact that newer, emerging social networks are gaining traction.



One such network gaining market share is Snapchat. With 100 million daily active users sending 400 million snaps (messages) each day, the phenomenal rise of this messaging app has been largely in part on the premise that users can send each other messages that self destruct, erasing any digital footprints that could be potentially embarrassing or incriminating. No surprise then that 71% of its users are under 25 – our research with schools in the North West indicated that it is the most popular network amongst millenials, with 100% claiming to use it.

Businesses are struggling with the ephemeral nature of the network, where creating lasting or enduring content is the very antithesis of Snapchat’s ethos. It’s a nut that marketers are eager crack, especially with Vodafone recently reporting that Snapchat accounts for 75% of data traffic in the UK.



Seemingly more accessible is the professional network, LinkedIn. However, ask any of the 18 million active users in the UK why they are on there and the most typical response, is, ‘I don’t know.’ Its fallibility is in its definition of itself; it aims to ‘connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful,’ and it does this through profiles, pages, groups, ads, news, articles and analytics.

For many this translates as a confusing experience comprised of connecting to people they have never met and being bombarded by email notifications from LinkedIn. However, for those who have a clear objective for using LinkedIn, at their disposal is a database of experience and information that can be used to benefit their career or their business. In fact, the fastest growing demographic of LinkedIn is students, which not only exemplifies the application of LinkedIn to discover, but hints towards a real opportunity to use LinkedIn as a devastatingly recruitment tool.


In Part 2, we’ll look at the Rise of Instagram, the purpose of Twitter and the point of Google+.


Tom Stables

 Tom is the Creative Director of 3ManFactory, a leading integrated marketing agency based the North West and lectures at the University of Central Lancashire in areas including digital marketing and online reputation management.

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1 Response

  1. 14/07/2015

    […] This two-part article looks at the demographics of the major social networks and analyse how and why people are using them. Read Part 1 here […]