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  • Diana Schneidman

Marketing: Who is on Twitter now?

If you use Twitter to publicize your freelance or consulting business . . . or, in fact, any kind of business . . . it’s priceless to understand who is actually tweeting.

That is the subject of a new report from the Pew Research Center, which surveyed over 2,000 Americans earlier this year on their Twitter participation.

The Pew study found that 15% of online adults age 18 and older report that they use Twitter, with 8% of online adults using it on a typical day. Furthermore, the share of online adults using Twitter on a typical day has doubled since May 2011 and has quadrupled since late 2010.

Certain demographic groups are especially strong in Twitter usage:

  • African-Americans: 28% of internet users use Twitter, as compared to 12% of White and 14% of Hispanic.

  • Young adults: 26% of internet users ages 18-29, as compared to 14% of those ages 30 to 49. Usage is especially heavy among those ages 18 to 24. (31% use Twitter, with 20% using it on a typical day.)

  • Urban and suburban: 19% of urban residents and 14% of suburban residents, as compared to 8% of rural.

The data also reveal that Twitter usage is especially popular among those with smartphones. One in five smartphone owners are on Twitter, and 13% use it on a typical day, with both measures much lower for those with basic mobile phones.

The implications for business owners?

The obvious (and valuable) implication is that Twitter should play a more important role in marketing for those who target demographics that are more heavily involved in Twitter.

Still, there’s more going on here than straight demographic data reveal.

In my own work, I have two different businesses. First, I do writing and research for insurance companies, asset management firms, marketing research clients, and businesses in general. (The website for my writing business is DianaWrites.) Demographic characteristics aren’t so relevant in finding prospects, since I approach this from an industry and function (marketing) perspective. While many of my clients are probably urban and rural, that’s because many larger companies are located in more populous areas.

My other business is writing for and coaching self-employed freelancers and consultants. I believe that all of these prospects are online (if they aren’t, they probably wouldn’t be interested in what I’m saying) and a higher percentage than typical have at least signed up for Twitter and tested it out.

In summary, published demographic data provide valuable insights in understanding and serving customers. But sometimes simple observation helps too!

Originally posted 8-8-12

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