I’m going to go ahead and admit that this post kind of turned into a resource with a whole lot of links to other articles. Maybe some of you have seen the article on the New York Times website titled Who’s Driving Twitter’s Popularity? Not Teenagers.
Just 11 percent of its [Twitter] users are ages 12 to 17
A few other great points in the article:
In fact, though teenagers fueled the early growth of social networks, today they account for 14 percent of MySpace’s users and only 9 percent of Facebook’s. As the Web grows up, so do its users.
Almost everyone under 35 uses social networks, but the growth of these networks over the last year has come from older adults.
I know I wrote a post almost three months ago about the fact that 99% of 18-24 year olds are on Social Networks, but with new data like this NYTimes article coming out regularly they’re not the only audience on this network. Even a recent Forrester Report says that 80% of Americans are on Social Media Monthly. Just yesterday, Rachel gave us a great example of how we can use Facebook status updates to connect with not just prospective students but also alumni.
I’m probably more tired of reading articles about Twitter and “tweeting” than anyone else, but we need to realize that Higher Education can market on Social Media. Twitter can be a great tool, and any of you out there who use it regularly probably have lots of stories about how it has changed your life through the connections you have been able to make. Purely from a marketing standpoint, Twitter is the second largest driver of traffic to this blog next to Google Search traffic!
Demographic Breakdown on Twitter
So if you are still curious about the demographic breakdown of age groups on Twitter this chart is also most revealing. Contrary to the previous data, this chart gives us the impression that children and teens are the only groups growing in number of Twitter accounts.
If you want more data on Twitter, check out HubSpot’s June 2009 State of the Twittersphere Report.
Remember that social media is about relationship building. You have probably heard me say that enough times, but it’s still true. Ask yourself “What is the right tool for my audience?” For your alumni you probably want to offer a few options, one of which should definitely be setting up an alumni group on Linkedin. For incoming students you may want to create your own social network on Ning. And although your prospective students might not be on Twitter, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways that you can leverage Twitter as a marketing tool for your college or university.
The point is people are using these networks, and they’re using them regularly. It is your job as a marketer to keep coming up with creative ways to leverage these sexy tools to reach your audience.