Social networks are most likely to be used for reasons pertaining to friends and family, according to NM Incite’s “State of Social Media Survey.” Social networkers who are parents report even higher rates of using social networks for these reasons.
For example, 91% of parents and 86% non-parents who are social networkers (89% total), use social networks to find and/or maintain old friends. Family contact closely follows as a reason to use social networks by 92% of parents and 87% of non-parents (88% total). Finding new friends is somewhat less popular, cited by 78% of parents and 66% of non-parents (70% overall).
Products/Services Draw SocNet Users
Another driver of use is the desire to view and contribute to reviews of products and services, as 68% of social media users (71% of parents and 64% of non-parents) go to social networking sites to read product reviews and more than half use these sites to provide product feedback, both positive and negative.
Getting coupons is also popular, with 58% overall usage (64% of parents and 56% of non-parents).
Entertainment, Creativity also SocNet Draws
Two other popular activities for social networkers are entertainment (67% overall, 76% of parents and 63% of non-parents) and as a creative outlet (64% overall, 73% of parents and 59% of non-parents).
In other entertainment/lifestyle-related reasons to use social networks, gaming is cited by 47% of respondents (54% of parents and 43% of non-parents), while obtaining “how-to” info and following celebrities are somewhat less popular. Interestingly, only 16% of social networkers are there for dating. This is also the only category of social networking researched by NM Incite where non-parents (17%) had a higher engagement rate than parents (13%).
Career/Networking Less Popular SocNet Driver
Although job-hunting experts stress the importance of online networking in the modern employment market, only 29% of social networkers (30% of parents and 28% of non-parents) cite this reason. Making business contacts is more popular, cited by 48% of overall social networkers (54% of parents and 46% of non-parents).
Pew: 2/3 of Online Adults Use SocNets
Two-thirds of adult internet users (65%) now say they use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up almost 7% from 61% one year ago, according to an August 2011 report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. That’s more than double the percentage that reported social networking site usage in 2008 (29%), and about eight times the 8% who said they used social networking sites in 2005.
Looking at usage on a typical day, 43% of online adults use social networking, up 13% from 38% a year ago and more than triple the rate of 13% in 2008. Out of all the “daily” online activities that Pew polls about, only email (which 61% of internet users access on a typical day) and search engines (which 59% use on a typical day) are used more frequently than social networking tools.
About the Data: NM Incite’s “State of Social Media Survey” is based on a representative sample of 1,865 adult (18-plus) social media users who were recruited from the Nielsen Online Panel to take an online survey. This includes Internet forums, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, video sharing, consumer rating and other social networking websites. The survey was fielded from March 31 to April 14, 2011.