For millions of people, social networking has become a constant part of daily life, accessible at all times through various devices. A new study from Edison Research finds that 33% of American social networkers now use social sites several times a day – that’s 48 million people. As mobile internet access becomes more ubiquitous, more and more consumers will join this group of habitual social networkers.
And still, many businesses treat social as a channel, developing siloed strategies for individual networks and devices. To engage users consistently, and deliver consistent brand experiences at every customer touchpoint, companies should view social the way habitual networkers view it: woven into the fabric of experience, not sewn on.
Want to understand how these über-networkers view social? Here are some of the most enlightening findings from the research.
Social is habit-forming
Ninety-eight percent of these habitual social networkers (those who use social sites several times a day) are on Facebook, and 23% are on Twitter – making habitual networkers nearly three times as likely to use Twitter as the general population (8%).
These habitual networkers are more likely to interact in other ways as well. Forty-three percent of them follow brands on social networks, compared to 25% of all social networkers. Habitual networkers are also more likely to have used mobile to engage with a video display, such as to access a coupon or play a game (18% vs. 8%). Another study found active Twitter users five times more likely to blog, three times more likely to review products, and six times more likely to publish online articles than the average person, monthly.
Don’t tie them down
Habitual social networkers aren’t likely to be tied to one device. On average, they routinely use 3.5 different devices to access the internet – 35% of them use four or more, which includes 20% who use five or more. They’re more likely to be “cord cutters” – 36% of them use only their mobile phones and have no home phone, compared to 24% of Americans age 12+. Habitual networkers are avid technology owners in general – more likely to own MP3 players, smart phones, tablets, and other technology than the general population.
Similarly, habitual networkers aren’t tied to their homes – they tend to be out-of-home consumers. The study found them more likely than the general population to do many common out-of-home activities like dining out, going to movie theaters, and going to coffee or sandwich shops. Another study found social network users to be highly social offline, with 82% of them involved in offline group activities.
Mobile phones become the primary screen
As people who don’t like to be tied down, it makes sense that habitual social networkers love their mobile phones. Ninety-one percent of them own one, and 56% own smart phones, compared to only 31% of Americans 12+. Sixty-four percent of these habitual networkers say they’d rather give up their television than their mobile phone.
Habitual networkers aren’t just more likely to check social networks on their phones – they’re more likely to do most smart phone activities, like send text messages, browse the web, and listen to music.
Siloed channel marketing tied to specific social networks or devices won’t effectively reach habitual users, who float freely from social network to social network, channel to channel, device to device. Start thinking about social the way its biggest users do, and make it an ubiquitous, integrated part of your business to deliver a seamless customer experience.