Twitter Dominates CMO Social Network Plans

It’s here, there and everywhere. The popularity of social networking is climbing by the week with virtually every age bracket, right up to seniors.

Today 110 million Americans, or 60% of the online population, use social networks, according to a new study by Anderson Analytics. That number is conservative, because instead of counting unique users or everyone who has an account, the Anderson study counted only people who have used a social network at least once in the past month.

According to Anderson, the average social networker goes to social sites five days a week and checks in about four times a day for a total of an hour each day. Nine-percent stay logged in all day and are constantly checking out what’s new.

Social networkers’ feelings about brands online are more fairly positive. Some 52% of social networkers had friended or become a fan of at least one brand. When asked by Anderson if they would like more communications from brands, 45% were neutral, while 20% said yes and 35% said no.

Anderson conducted the study online in June with 5,000 demographically representative respondents, and then went in-depth with 1,250 of them.

Facebook has emerged as the leading site for volume and attention from marketers now that Myspace has established a solid pattern of decline, especially among consumers advertisers find most attractive at the moment.

While Facebook continues to struggle in its quest to monetize all that online volume, Twitter is emerging as the platform that seems to intrigue marketers even more than Facebook.

Of the leading social networking platforms, Twitter by far has the lead in attracting marketing interest in the next 12-18 months, according to this week’s Brand New Day/CMO Club poll.

Of 103 chief marketing officers who responded to the question asking them which platform would figure into their marketing plans the most in the coming months, 40.8% responded Twitter, followed by 26.2% saying Facebook, 16.5% saying LinkedIn, and 8.7% responding “Other.”

A few of the quotes offered by the CMOs:

“I look at Twitter and Facebook more for Branding and LinkedIn for demand generation and lead nurturing”

“While the question forces a single answer, organizations really need to take a holistic approach to social media. One that reaches all potential consumers for the brand, and does so in a compelling & consistent way that builds awareness & equity for the brand. Not doing so will result in your brand failing to connect with your customer in a meaningful and viral way.”

“My approach for twitter is different for many other CMOs. I leverage Twitter to improve customer services and responsiveness to customers. I leverage Facebook for internal employee alignment and encouragement around our marketing and differentiation programs.”

Anderson Analytics and Advertising Age crunched the data collected by the firm to come up with profiles of the different social network communities.

Twitterers: More interested than the others in many subjects but skew particularly high in all news categories, restaurants, sports, politics, personal finance and religion. They also especially like pop culture, with music, movies, TV and reading. Buying habits mirror that. They're more likely to buy books, movies, shoes and cosmetics online than the other groups. Twitterers are also entrepreneurial. They are more likely than others to use the service to promote their blogs or businesses. More likely to be employed part-time (16% vs. 11% average), have an average income of $58,000, and average 28 followers and 32 other Twitterers they're following. They're not particularly attached to the site, though -- 43% said they could live without Twitter.

MySpacers: While MySpace users skew younger, they also said they'd used the site much less in the past six months. The 67 million who are still there are into having a good time. They're more likely to have joined MySpace for fun and more likely to be interested in entertaining friends, humor and comedy, and video games. They're less into exercise than any other social group but seek out parenting information more than any other. Their average income is the lowest, at $44,000, and they have an average of 131 connections. They're more likely to be black (9%) or Hispanic (7%) than users of the other social sites. They are also more likely to be single (60%) and students (23%).

Facebookers: There are 77 million Facebook users. Out of 45 categories, only national news, sports, exercise, travel, and home and garden skewed even slightly higher than average, and then by only one or two percentage points. They are more likely to be married (40%), white (80%) and retired (6%) than users of the other social networks. They have the second-highest average income, at $61,000, and an average of 121 connections. Facebook users skew a bit older and are more likely to be late adopters of social media. But they are also extremely loyal to the site -- 75% claim Facebook is their favorite site, and another 59% say they have increased their use of the site in the past six months.

LinkIners: All about business. More males than females (57% to 43%). Highest average income, at $89,000. More likely to have joined the site for business or work, citing keeping in touch with business networks, job searching, business development and recruiting as top reasons. They like news, employment information, sports and politics. More likely to be into the gym, spas, yoga, golf and tennis. Excluding video-game systems, they own more electronic gadgets than the other social networkers, including digital cameras, high-definition TVs, DVRs and Blu-ray players.

Brand New Day and The CMO Club publish the result of a survey conducted among CMO Club members every week, appearing on Thursdays.

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