Facebook remains the most frequently used social network, but LinkedIn has become the most valued, according to a recent study by ROI Research and sponsored by Performics.
“The S-Net: A Study in Social Media Usage & Behavior” found that 70% of the 2,997 survey participants log into Facebook at least once daily, compared with 20% on LinkedIn. And although LinkedIn users don’t frequent the site often, 59% in 2011 — up from 41% last year — said it is the most important site to have a profile on.
Twitter was next with 58%, up from 40%, followed by YouTube, at 55% and 52%, and MySpace, at 53% and 39%, respectively. Facebook remains the only social networking site that is declining in importance, with 53% suggesting it is less important in 2011 to have a profile on the site, compared with 56% in 2010, according to the findings.
For the most part, survey participants see the importance of participating in a social network — either LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace. Brands that want consumers to talk about their products might consider Twitter rather than Facebook. Sixty-one percent of consumers are more likely to talk about a company or product on Twitter, compared with 49% on Facebook. And 59% are more likely to recommend a company or product on Twitter, compared with 53% on Facebook.
Ironically, 58% said they would purchase the brand’s product after hearing about it on Twitter, compared with 53% on Facebook. Fifty-four percent would link to a company’s product in the tweet on Twitter, compared with 42% on Facebook, and 47% said they would attend a promotional or sponsored event via Twitter, vs. 34% on Facebook.
Consumers tend to discuss prices most often, followed by discussing sales and specials; providing feedback to brands; giving and receiving advice on purchases; expressing disappointment; and connecting with customer service. This year, consumers are more likely to take action when a friend posts something about a product or a service, company or brand on a social networking site. In fact, 60% of consumers said they are either “extremely,” “very,” or “somewhat” inclined to include a comment.
What do people discuss most? The top things people talk about include education, sports-related things, entertainment, auto, electronics, and restaurants. Most people look for advice on social networks about appliances, electronics, financial services, health care, telecommunications, auto, and travel. Those who express disappointment on social networks typically talk most about the same type of products.
Interestingly, 52% of survey participants believe voicing their opinion can influence a business decision made by companies and brands. Thirty-four percent said interacting with brands on social sites has made them more aware of eco-friendly efforts, and 51% said social networks are a good place for brands to communicate sustainability issues.
But consumers are mixed when it comes to the frequency with which brands should communicate with fans and followers on social networks: only 3% said more than once daily; 7% said once daily; 6%, every other day; 11%, twice weekly; 26%, twice monthly; 28%, once a month or less; 4%, never; and 2%, other.
The findings are intended to give marketers a better understanding of how to tap emerging opportunities in social media by analyzing the way consumers use social networks, specifically for product purchases. The 30-minute online survey examined 18 categories such as alcoholic beverages, apparel, appliances, automotive, electronics, financial services, health care, sports, telecommunications, and travel. About 2,997 people — 53% female and 47% male — who regularly access Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, MySpace, or Twitter participated.