At one time, social networking sites, including Facebook, were places strictly of “diary” entries. Routine tasks of daily lives and pictures from the weekend were and still are regularly recorded.
As you know, an increasing number of professionals are turning to social networking for promotion of themselves and their businesses. A vast number of these people are from the writing and news community.
New and innovative ways to gain readership have necessitated exploration for printed media. Today, the expanding array of tools featured on sites like Facebook makes it possible to acquire loyal readers, as evidenced by numerous studies.
Individual reporters have begun to post links to their stories on Facebook. This serves to promote both that person’s regular newspaper column as well as the newspaper itself.
Newspapers have also jumped on the band wagon. Now, they feature employees with such titles as social media editor. These persons find ways to reach out to the multitudes of people on Facebook and like-minded sites.
The question, therefore, is who are the users of social networking pages? Is it the young who socialize for purposes of fun, or is it the professionals who seek news and information?
The answer is both.
Demographics of social networking users
In 2009, a Harris Interactive Study concluded that the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is women over the age of 55. Approximately 1.5 million users of this age bracket are on Facebook every month.
This study also discovered that the biggest growth in new users to Facebook comes from those aged 35-44. However, this means that while Facebook is growing rapidly with middle-aged individuals, younger persons are tending to join such sites as MySpace.
Nielsen Claritas conducted a demographic study of social networking sites in September, 2009. Their findings were based upon finances, but results were similar.
The top third of persons with regard to wealth are 25% more likely to use Facebook; those of the lower third segment are 37% more likely to use MySpace.
Moreover, Facebook users tend to use LinkedIn. This also points to demographic disparities.
Marketing solutions for newspapers
To acquire additional readers, newspapers need to capitalize on social networking sites. The opportunity offered there is substantial.
Now, rather than looking at traditional delivery, written media must tailor marketing campaigns to suit the interests of different groups of persons.
For example, links to stories of one nature should be posted on Facebook, and those of another nature on MySpace.