Americans Using Social Media Are More Engaged

Gen Y Spends an average of 33 hours per month on social networks – 10/2009

According to poll results announced by The Allstate Corporation and National Journal, Americans believe participation in social media makes them more informed and influential as both consumers and citizens.

Key Findings:

  • 65% of American adults surveyed used social media in the last month.
  • Social media users are somewhat younger, more educated and more affluent than non-users.
  • However, social media users report significantly higher levels of political and community activity, including:
    1. Volunteering for a community organization (69% versus 49% of non-users),
    2. Signing campaign or community petitions (68% of users versus 50% of non-users).
    3. Attending a campaign rally (32% of users versus 22% of non-users).
  • Social media users also are more likely to consult with others about buying a product or service (79% of users versus 60% of non-users)
  • They are more likely to change their minds about a product or service because of others’ opinions (64% of users versus 47% of non-users).
  • On average, they closely align with the overall American public in their opinions about politics and the economy, as well as their perceptions of major institutions.
  • 65% of social media users, and 60% of all Americans, believe the Internet and social media have made it easier for them to be well-informed consumers.
  • A plurality of Americans (47%) and social media users (55%) say these technologies have made them more well-informed and active as citizens and in the political sphere.

Receptive to Social Media Reach

They recognize the value of information they receive from you via Social Media. However, they do have some skepticism about the trustworthiness of the information they receive from institutions on Social Media. Key findings:

  • 64% of social media users say they’d like to see companies use social media for customer service purposes.
  • 59% say that corporate use of social media makes them more likely to see a company as “accessible and responsive.”

The degree of trust Americans in general place in various media is as follows:

  • 75%: Public TV and radio
  • 71%: Newspapers
  • 70%: Cable News
  • 64%: Network News
  • 57%: Magazines
  • 53%: Talk Radio
  • 51%: Company Websites
  • 37%: Advertisements
  • 34%: Blogs and Online Forums
  • 30%: Social Media Sites

Why You Must Engage Social Media Users

A recent article from ReadWriteWeb deemed Gen Y as the generation with the greatest impact on retailers. Not only are they a huge demographic wave, but their greatest impact will be in changing the relationship between the businesses and its consumers.  For service, automated menus will become a thing of the past. Younger customers are  telling businesses how, when, and where they communicate, and businesses need to provide customers with communication options beyond traditional phone support, such as on mobile devices, email, and social networks.

“…it took the Internet four years to garner 50 millions users. Facebook had 200 million users in less than a year. This is the user base that is changing the rules of customer service.” –Mikkel Svane, ReadWriteWeb

Implications for Marketers

Social Media users do not fit the mold of Americans in general who place high trust in newspapers and magazines because they are likely to get more of their information online. According to a study by the Participatory Marketing Network (PMN), conducted in partnership with  Pace University’s Lubin School of Business’ IDM Lab, Gen Y spends more time emailing, texting and social networking online than talking on the phone, watching TV or reading magazines.

They are a lucrative market of younger, more affluent consumers who are likely to be influential in affecting the decisions of other users, and are likely to act if you engage them, and Social Media users’ savvy means that they are looking for solid content.