Social media isn't a zero sum game: Consumers are engaging across a variety of interactive channels at increasing levels—and far from making people less social in the physical world, such increased digital activity correlates to increased social, in-person interaction,according to a study by ExactTarget and CoTweet.
Social media isn't making people less social. Among online adults who say they are using Facebook increasingly, 27% say they meet friends in person more often, compared with 13% who meet friends less often.
Similarly, among those who use Twitter more, 46% say they meet friends in person more often, compared with 7% who meet friends less often.
Below, other findings from the study titled Social Mythbusting, the seventh report in the Subscribers, Fans and Followers research series by ExactTartget and CoTweet.
Email Use Increasing
Asked whether they are using email more or less often, 25% of online consumers say they are now using email more often than they did six months earlier. Only 6% say they are using it less often. Combined, the self-reported stats suggest a net of 19% of consumers using email more often.
Meanwhile, Twitter use has leveled off. Most Twitter users say they are now using Twitter at about the same level they did six months earlier.
Just one category of social media users—"Megaphones"—are using Twitter more, with a net 8% increase over the previous six months. Such digital influencers—roughly 7% of online adults—are the most active social media users overall (e.g., 65% of them maintain a website, blog, or both).
In September 2010, a few key celebrities called it quits on Twitter—suggesting waning enthusiasm for the channel. But recent data suggest otherwise, the New York Times reported. Twitter is adding about 370,000 new users a day—and now has 175 million registered users, up from 503,000 users three years earlier.
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Social Media and Buying
Among consumers who follow at least one brand on Twitter, 37% say they're more likely to buy after becoming a brand follower on Twitter, and 17% of consumers who "like" brands on Facebook say they're more likely to purchase after becoming a fan.
The greater value in the Facebook fan comes from such consumers serving as brand advocates, according to ExactTarget.
"Marketers must change the lens through which they view new data, findings, and reports in the interactive industry to get an accurate view of what, when, and how their consumers are using online channels," said Tim Kopp, CMO of ExactTarget.
About the data: Findings are based on a survey of 1,506 online consumers age 15+, April 9-13, 2010, and consumer interviews among 44 people in March 2010, conducted by ExactTarget and CoTweet.