Corporate Eye

2 out of 3 Americans Use Social Networking Sites

New statistics from eMarketer reveal that in 2011, 63.7% of American Internet users (147.8 million people) are using social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. By 2012, that number will increase to 66% and by 2013, it will hit 67%. According to these statistics, the days of double-digit user growth for social networking appear to be over.

Today, social networking reaches the vast majority of Internet users in the United States, and that number isn’t expected to decline anytime in the near future. That means your customers are using social networking, and your brand needs to be there, too. Of course, the most active users of social networking are still younger generations, but the days of social networking being a fad for young adults and teenagers are long gone. Today, users come from all generations and demographic groups.

In 2011, 90% of Internet users between the ages of 18-24 will use social networks, but older generations continue to become more active in their social networking use. The chart from eMarketer above provides a detailed age breakdown.

Not only do brands need to be present on social networking sites, but they also need to produce interesting and engaging content and conversations that are meaningful to their target audiences. As social networking users become more knowledgeable about the tools they’re using, their demands for useful content and experiences will also grow. If you’re not giving them a good reason to connect with, interact with, and talk about your brand, you won’t achieve the results you need from social networking.

Don’t just create a Facebook page and leave it at that. Instead, talk to your customers and learn what they’d like you to offer on that Facebook page. Create useful applications and content that is both interesting and helpful. You have to find ways to keep your target audience coming back for more.

Again, your customers are using social networks, so if you’re not trying to connect with them on those social networks where they’re already spending time, you’re missing a big opportunity to build relationships with them. If they were standing in front of you would you ignore them? No, you’d try to talk to them and connect with them. You should do the same thing via social networking.

Image: eMarketer

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.