As promised, here’s the first blog post in my new series, discussing the reasons why small businesses resist social media. As I pointed out in the introductory post 4 reasons why small businesses resist social media, one of the reasons small businesses resist social media is because of misconceptions about what it is, what it does, or how it can be used to their benefit.
In this post, I’m going to explore the first of these misconceptions, namely, that social media is just for kids. I do concede as obvious truths that social media has not been around for that long and that a lot of young people are using it. Maybe because ‘the kids’ or the millennial generation (those born since around 1982), were born into the age of the personal computer and grew up with the internet and social media channels, they just seem to know how to use it. It comes naturally to many of them. On the other hand, many of the Generation Xers, born before 1982 (way before in my case) have been playing catch up, either trying to teach themselves the ins and outs of this new fangled technology, or just burying their heads, trying to ignore it and hoping to goodness it will go away. Millennials do, in general, get along better with social media, and they understand that it’s a way of communicating with each other; a way that can be just as rewarding and relationship building as other more conventional forms of communication. Plus, don’t forget, a lot of your customers could well be of the millennial generation, 96% of whom, it is said, are utilizing a social media channel to communicate, to search for services and to interact with product sellers and service providers. So, even if we say that social media is just for kids and even if you can class someone of 30 a kid, if those ‘kids’ are your customers, you could be missing a major opportunity to reach them. Many millennials have not yet started families and tied themselves into expensive mortgages. They have excess cash to spend and they’re searching for spending ideas online. Is your online presence established enough to be found?
Be that as it may, it just isn’t true that social media is just for kids. There are people of all age groups utilizing social media platforms for socializing and for business. Here are some facts on the major five (UK statistics only):
Facebook: 65% of the UK online population using Facebook
55% of the entire UK population using Facebook
18-24 year olds make up only 23% of those using Facebook in UK
25-34 year olds make up 26% of those using Facebook in the UK
35-44 year olds make up 18% of those using Facebook in the UK
So, 35-44 year olds, who are not ‘kids’ by anyone’s reckoning, make up 18% of Facebook users. Not the largest percentage but certainly not a small number when you consider over half the UK population are on Facebook. Still, not the evidence we’re looking against the premise that social media is just for kids. On to Twitter.
Twitter: 25-34 year olds account for around 20% of the Twitter population
35-44 year olds account for around 20% of the Twitter population
45-54 year olds…yep, you guessed it, 20%!
That means…drum roll please… there are as many 45-54 year olds using Twitter as there are 25-34 year olds. Definite evidence that Twitter is not just for kids!
Pinterest: 25-34 year olds amount to 42% of Pinterest users
58% are from other age groups
Now if you’re thinking those 58% are probably under 25, then think on this…the main pursuits of UK Pinterest users on the site include Venture Capital, SEO, marketing, public relations and blogging resources. So, even if they’re under 25 and we could (possibly) get away with calling them kids, these are hardly childish pursuits!
LinkedIn: A whopping 79% of LinkedIn users are over 35! Enough said!
Google+: 30% of UK users are over the age of 35. That’s a pretty large percentage and definitely undermines the ‘social media is just for kids’ idea.
So, what do you think? I mean, it’s very hard to gather statistics on UK social media users, as they do vary somewhat. However, I think I’ve done enough to show that social media is not just for kids. People from many age groups are using it for serious pursuits. The theory that social media is just for kids is a misconception. It is a belief held by many people, but it is a misconception. I hope I’ve helped to clear it up.