People are spending more time than ever before on social media – a new survey of social media users found that 86 percent of Americans use social media at least once per day, and 72 percent use it multiple times per day.
The Manifest’s survey of 627 social media users finds that many people use several social media channels more often in 2018 than they did in 2017. This includes 63 percent who said they spend more time on YouTube and 61 percent who reported heavier use of Instagram.
Others attracting heavier use in 2018 include Snapchat, listed by 58 percent of respondents, and Facebook, named by 52 percent.
“Social media is a large part of everybody’s life,” said Josh Loewen, digital marketing director of The Status Bureau, a digital marketing agency in Vancouver. “It’s how people communicate, look for events, notice stores and brands, and find the weather. It’s how people are aided in their daily life.”
What Social Media Channels Do People Use the Most?
Overall, respondents reported using Facebook the most, with 82 percent saying they use it at least once a week. YouTube was next, at 75 percent, followed by Instagram, at 53 percent.
“People have a desire to be heard and to share information,” said Loewen. “It’s kind of at the root of why Facebook is so successful and has so much content on it. There’s a desire for people to share what they know or try to push what they know onto others. Whether it’s good, bad, helpful, [or] completely unhelpful, people will always share what they know or find interesting.”
Many people use social media to transform passions into careers, including blogger and influencer Christina Vidal.
“I have always loved to travel and to give travel recommendations to my friends, so when social media took off, [it] became the perfect platform to share those travels with my friends, and then their friends and their friends-of-friends, and soon a whole audience of travel-lovers looking for their next big trip,” said Vidal, whose multiple social media posts get a high viewership. She now has nearly 63,000 followers on her Instagram account, @jetsetchristina.
Gender Divide in Social Media Usage
The survey also finds significant differences in how men and women use social media, including the platforms they prefer, how they tend to access social media and how often they use it.
Three-fourths of females (75 percent) use social media multiple times per day, compared to 64 percent of males.
“Women tend to build community a little bit more than men, or differently from a social interaction standpoint,” said Charlotte Chipperfield, founder and CEO of Chipperfield Media.
One of the most striking gender differences is in the use of Twitter. Men are far more likely than females to use Twitter at least once per week, by a 51 percent to 28 percent margin. Men are also heavier users of Reddit, by a 29 percent to 8 percent margin.
Chipperfield said that the male preferences might come down to different communication styles. “I think with things like Reddit and Twitter, imagery is sort of secondary … behind words,” said Chipperfield. “I think that’s a communication style that’s preferred where you can put out a thought and you don’t have to craft a really nice photo to go with it. “
Women, on the other hand, are more likely than men to use Pinterest, by a 44 to 26 percent margin. Loewen sees the difference as more related to the content of Pinterest than anything else.
“There’s a really strong skew toward females on Pinterest,” said Loewen. “It’s not that men don’t like pictures. I think it has to do with Pinterest specifically and the type of content that has caught on there and has been a unique push behind the network. The type of images that are on Pinterest are female-centric. “
Another key difference between men and women is reflected in their different preferences for getting on social media. Females are more likely to use mobile apps to access social media (52 percent), and males are more likely to prefer computer web browsers (33 percent).
Overall, two-thirds of all respondents (67%) use mobile apps to access social media at least some of the time, compared to 57 percent who sometimes use computer web browsers, 41 percent who sometimes use mobile web browsers, and 31 percent who use tablet apps.
Social media is clearly an important part of people’s lives, so businesses must use it, too, to reach customers where they are – on social media. Businesses must have a social media strategy in place.