ARTICLE - Is your consumer using social media?

Nine Profiles of Who Your Targets Are and Where They Might Be Online
By Beth Snyder Bulik

This article published by AdAge on May 5, 2008 lists various groups that are more likely to be online getting news and information from social networking sites. Below is a summary:

Clearly they prefer to buy products in recycled packages and eschew products that pollute. They are average users of social networking, blogging and podcasting but slightly above average in message boards. They are older (50-plus) and are most likely to go online for health or financial information. And, in the spirit of their eco-friendly attitude toward trees, they're 23 percent more likely to send electronic greeting cards.

These people are generally unhappy with their lives and feel alone. They're 12 percent more likely than the average person to use blogs, message boards or social-networking sites.

They use social-networking sites to meet like-minded people, express their views, get music and entertainment recommendations, and keep in touch with family and friends. They rate average in e-mailing friends and co-workers but above average in using e-mail to communicate with their parents. They are 23 percent more likely to instant message and download music.

The majority are under 50. They prefer reading blogs over posting comments or creating their own blogs and prefer to read about TV shows, video games, music and art/literature. They also like social-networking sites: More than one-fifth visit the sites more than twice a month.

This group shies away from buying unknown brands just for a bargain and prefers to buy brand-name goods. They're very average social-media users, but some subjects of interest drive them to social media more than the average person: They're 21 percent more likely to read environmental blogs and 22 percent more likely to use professional-networking sites to make new contacts.

They're 25 to 49 and have at least one child living at home. They visit parenting blogs five times more often than average. They're also active on social networks, blogs and chat forums but tend to stay away from podcasting. They visit blogs once or more a week and create their own blogs at a higher-than-average rate.

These 50-plus consumers with college degrees and household incomes of more than $100,000 are low-level social-media users.

Experian found that this under-35 set also includes very active social networkers, bloggers and message-board users. They also rank high in texting, podcasting and business networking. They use social networks to keep in touch but also to find information.

Women are more likely to visit social networks than men. Divorced women are also 20 percent more likely to buy something online, while men are 52 percent more likely to visit sports sites. Neither is into blogs or chat forums, but women communicate more than average via text message, while men use e-mail 45 percent more than average to communicate with their children.

Simmons Research, an Experian company, has chronicled the predilections of consumers in its National Consumer Study since 1960, and recently added social media to its survey. That includes social-networking sites, blogs, message boards, podcasts and e-mail. Simmons agreed to slice and dice its volumes of data for Advertising Age to identify social-media consumer profiles.

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