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New Social Media Research for #Eventprofs

Traci Browne
Jan 13, 2016
social media research event professionals

Ten years ago you wouldn’t advertise your event on Facebook, post a promo video on YouTube, or send attendees to iTunes to download your event app. That’s because Facebook wasn’t open to the general public, YouTube was barely a thing, and the iPhone didn’t even exist.

We’ve come a long way since the early days of social media. Just how far have we come and what platforms should event organizers be focusing on today? A new Pew Research report has some interesting insights.

Who is using Social Media?

According to Pew’s research, 65 percent of American adults now use social networking sites. Social media affects the way most people get and share information about health, news, family, friends, and their communities.

While young adults (aged 18-29) are the most likely to use social media, our seniors are logging on more than ever before. Thirty-five percent of adults 65 and older report using social media. Back in 2005, that number was just 2 percent.

When it comes to social media, there is no battle of the sexes. Women and men are almost even when it comes to social media use these days. In fact, one of the only statistically significant differences in use, per the report, is between high income and low-income households. Adults in low-income households are less likely to use social media (56 percent compared to 78 percent in high income households), but their usage has been dramatically increasing over the last ten years.

Event Planner Takeaway: The next time someone tells you, "Our audience does not use social media," hit 'em with the facts. Even if your audience is low-income, rural, seniors there is a good chance quite a few of them are using social media.

Which Social Media Platforms Are The Most Popular?

Pew also surveyed which platforms people were using, and Facebook is in the lead for now with 62 percent of American adult Internet users logging on. However, there is a good chance that another platform will overtake Facebook one of these days, because that percentage has started to plateau over the past few years.

According to the research, Pinterest and Instagram are the most likely to make that leap. The number of Pinterest (31 percent) and Instagram (28 percent) users have doubled since 2012. Sorry Twitter, you are behind even LinkedIn with just 23 percent of online adults using your platform.

My money is on Instagram to catch up to Facebook as the photo platform has a very engaged user group. While 70 percent of Facebook users say they log on every day, Instagram users are not far behind with 59 percent of account holders using the site every day.

Event Planner Takeaway: If you are strapped for resources, stick to the major platforms for now. At the very least, it would be a good investment to start brushing up on your Instagram or Pinterest skills.

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