Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

Introducing Your Friends, Fans and Followers

Social Media is among many things, our gateway to discovery and interconnection. While social networking may seem trivial, truth is that we get out of it what we put into it. But this goes beyond the time and energy we spend on day-to-day participation. Our investment in social media earns its largest dividends when intent and purpose meet personification and engagement.

We are defined by what we share and who we know and in the world of business, media, and education, the architecture of a social network is already transforming social graphs into interest graphs. This isn’t about connecting with anyone and everyone; this is about connecting with the right people, at the right time, and in the right place. They are our social catalysts who will not only engage but more importantly, help us scale. As a result, our social network becomes a connected series of social nicheworks where each community around us is cultivated individually based on interests, motivations, and expectations. This is bigger than interpersonal relationships however.

Businesses in any industry, must also focus on direct connections. For brand managers, plugging into interest graphs is just the beginning. Actions speak louder than words and by focusing on the diversified needs and expectations of social consumers, we can indeed connect what I call the Last Mile of P2P person (customers) to person (representatives) online relationships

Brands + Social Consumers + Influencers = Brandgraph.

the goals for brands in social networks are manyfold…

1. Build communities and relationships

2. Create brand lift

3. Activate communities to take action

4. Establish goodwill

5. Evolve social from a cost center to also a profit center

Nice to Meet You

While it’s not enough to measure the success of social media campaigns by the quantity of the 3F’s, knowing who they are and what moves them is imperative. Once we understand who we’re reaching and why, we awaken to the reality that no one social media size fits all. We are, after all, identifying and connecting with the varying faces of social consumerism.

Understanding why consumers follow brands represents the ingredients for the development of a meaningful content and engagement recipe.

We recently peered into the looking glass to humanize the population of Twitter. Now, the team at Ad-ology shared another report to help us personify the 3F’s so that we can begin the diversification of our social programming.

Ad-ology interviewed a national sample of 2,111 Americans about their interests and attitudes about the presence of brands in social networks. Let’s take a look at the people behind the Likes and Follows.


Age: Twitter

42.3% of those who follow a brand on Twitter fall between the ages of 25-34

21.1% = 35-44

19.7% = 18-24

11.3% = 45-54

Age: Facebook

Like Twitter, the majority of brand followers in social represent the 25-34 age group. Compared to Twitter however, there’s a large difference, 42.3% Twitter and 30.1% Facebook. The top age groups also follow Twitter’s composition…

27.3% = 35-44

14.8% = 18-24

13.7% = 25-54

Race: Twitter

The majority of followers who responded in this survey reported that they were white, 81.7%. However, culture is important to engage at varying levels and requires the balance of demographics and psychographic connections.

Race: Facebook

While Facebook follows the trend of ethnic makeup, we do see a variation in the percentages. On Twitter, English speaking Hispanics following brands represent 8.5%, the second largest percentage. On Facebook, they represent 4.7%, the third largest percentage, behind the African American community, which represents the second largest percentage with 10.2%.

Children: Twitter

56.3% reported that they do not have children while 43.7% of Twitter users who follow brands do have children.

Children: Facebook

Twitter and Facebook are practically identical in this category. Fans and followers without children outnumber those with children at home.

Twitter: 56.3%

Facebook: 55.3%

Marital Status: Twitter

Similar to those with and without children, we find that the majority of participants who reported following a brand are single (59.2%).

Marital Status: Facebook

On Facebook, the division between married and single people who Like brands is nearly equal 51.9% and 48.1%. On Twitter, almost 60% of users who follow brands are single.

Education: Twitter

According to the survey, 31% of Twitter users following brands have completed some college. 28.2% have earned their Bachelor’s Degree. And, 19.7% have continued to finish Grad School.

Education: Facebook

According to these numbers, Twitter and Facebook appeal to an educated group of people and over one-third, in turn, choose to connect with brands.

Gender: Twitter

On Twitter, more women than men follow brands, 54.9% vs. 45.1%. Women, in general, outnumber men on social networks and also boast the greatest amount of influence across the entire Twitterverse.

Gender: Facebook

Similar to Twitter, more women than men connect with brands on Facebook. Interestingly though, more women Like brands on Facebook than they do on Twitter, 65.8% (Facebook) vs. 54.9% (Twitter.)


Consumers are already indicating that they are ready to help you…they just need recognition, engagement, and most notably, empowerment.

It is those brands who understand who they’re not only trying to reach, but also those consumers trying to connect with them that will succeed in creating a meaningful and interactive community within social networks of relevance. Ultimately however, looking beyond demographics will enable brands to demonstrate empathy to engender the emotional connections that transcend economies and the network du jour.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Facebook

If you’re looking for a way to FIND answers in social media, consider Engage!: It will help

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

50 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Introducing Your Friends, Fans and Followers”

  1. My advice to people every day is, social media is a long term initiative, you must engage your audience every day, keep yourself fresh in their minds, and it will pay off! I like the way you put it, “you get out what you put in” so if you simply make a facebook page, and never use it, you’ll get nothing back. The mentality of “if you build it they will come” doesn’t apply here, social media requires work!

  2. Dewitahs says:

    Thank you Brian. This is a great post!!

  3. JonFMoss says:

    Thank you Brian. This is a great way to start off December and plan for 2011. Statistics are eye-opening, but the real fun starts when you begin to inject the info into a viable strategic plan to more effectively market a product/service. Lots to do…

  4. Blas Giffuni says:

    @Brian, Any reason not to have Spanish speaking US Hispanics? there’s a growing trend of companies serving in Spanish to this segment and these companies are already seeing great returns. I’ll recommend Latino Link from Joe Kutchera

  5. Thanks for sharing this thorough breakdown of demographics. It’s great info to pass onto the higher beings of my company, as those levels are still trying to understand microblogs and tools such as Twiiter. Most important points of course are the percentages that are likely to buy when following a company/brand on Twitter and facebook, and the percent likley to recommend to others. That’s where these online communities are most beneficial, obviously…the viral effect.

  6. halfacat says:

    Excellent article driving home the demographics here. Clients are always suspicious when I tell them people on SM are educated, and of buying age. I will be using this in my presentations. Thanks!

  7. Great research figures Brian. It shows yet again that there IS money to be made by using social media in the marketing-mix. However it takes time, lots of engagement and plain old entertainment in most cases to succeed. And that’s exactly what a lot of companies seem to miss.

  8. Great research figures Brian. It shows yet again that there IS money to be made by using social media in the marketing-mix. However it takes time, lots of engagement and plain old entertainment in most cases to succeed. And that’s exactly what a lot of companies seem to miss.

  9. Demetria says:

    Interesting stats from Ad-ology. Proves that many people using Twitter are college educated as opposed to high schoolers, etc.. Thanks for sharing the demographics.

    • Devin De Roon says:

      From what I have seen and heard it seems like Twitter is more for older ages such as college and above, while Facebook is the one being used still with high school or for that matter even younger.

  10. Dean says:


    This is a very important article for marketing professionals and companies looking to launch lead generation and brand awareness strategies in Twitter. Your quote:

    “Consumers are already indicating that they are ready to help you…they just need recognition, engagement, and most notably, empowerment.”

    I love this quote. We believe that brands must engage one on one with their consumers and prospective consumers; they can not rely upon traditional methods to scale a message that needs to be personal to each consumer.

    It is the very idea that social media “does not scale”, a quote we hear everyday from our clients, that helps us to understand that creating meaningful conversations and engagement will provide the biggest impact on the bottom line.

  11. Jeff Ryan says:

    Great stuff thanks for sharing or shall I say Engaging 🙂

  12. PamMktgNut says:

    Brian, you know I am a fan of everything you write. This is a most awesome article. I have met some brilliant minds of which we are now partnered, serving as clients and friends with via Twitter. I can’t imagine my biz without it. To some it may sound crazy but those that “get it, get it”. I couldn’t agree with you and Nick more. Be real and engage authentically with a focus on value! Social media is not a magic wand or bandaid for a broken biz. It takes both art & science. Those that can grasp such will be who will succeed. I feel sorry for the folks sitting on the bench refusing to accept the bus is leaving and has left the station. Engage or be left behind.

  13. Priority PR says:

    This has been my favorite post from you. Thank you for all your hard work.

  14. Jerry Yu says:

    Thank you for your meticulously prepared data. Brian. I am a man, 23, single, from China and have a bachelor’s degree. Oh, yes, I’ve got a plan :o)

  15. SharelOmer says:

    This is a great post!

    The focus on 1. Build communities and relationships and 3. Activate communities to take action is super interesting and it was a true pleasure reading it!


  16. It would be interesting to revisit the stats again in 3/6/9/12 months time. Shift in the digital space is increasing in its velocity. I wouldn’t be surprised if the figures you’ve presented shift as social media moves from early adapters to a wider demographic.

    But to Nick Stamoulis point, brands cannot afford to sit back and take a passive approach to social media. Like any successful venture, the more you put in the more you get out.

  17. I got to this phrase, “We are defined by what we share and who we know” and I started to talk to you via my monitor, “No Brian, really????” Phew! You had *much* more to say.

    I’m going to say something crazy that isn’t in your charts Brian, but it seems to me that those brands that choose to be niche agnostic (Coke, etc) can & are doing something really powerful: uniting consumers in a way that leaves them feeling attached to a brand. When you see an image of someone enjoying a coke, we don’t wonder what language they speak.

    The charts here speak volumes, really appreciate this view into these services.

  18. mkedave says:

    Great post here Brian. If consumers are ready to help our brands, then we (as communications consultants) should spend more time moving the already-bought-that group closer to the i’m-still-considering-that group. We should introduce the convinced to the unconvinced. As a marketing and communications pro, this is an obvious example that I need to worry less about persuasion tactics and more about putting the right kind of buyer into the right kind of network.

  19. JohnBarlowe says:

    Sorry to be so boring but all I can think to say, Brian, is ‘wow, great post as usual’. Thanks for all you do.

  20. JohnBarlowe says:

    Sorry to be so boring but all I can think to say, Brian, is ‘wow, great post as usual’. Thanks for all you do.

  21. Joe Sorge says:

    Brian, you can put in to words and infographics and charts what we can only tweet! Thank you for this. It will serve as my official bookmark for demonstrating the answer to the “why” question.

    You rule, good Sir.

  22. ScttCwn says:

    Great article and research…..I find it interesting to see how twitter over-indexes in the single status. I agree with Nick and will put. As brands venture into the social space they are forming loving relationships with their consumers. They require work, patience and commitment… you LOVE your consumers?

  23. Devin De Roon says:

    A lot of work was put in to make this happen. Great work! It was very interesting to see all of the different charts.

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