Black Web 2.0
Social Media: Why Understanding Demographics Matters
Jun 22, 2012 Aug 20, 2013

It seems simple, but many businesses overlook the fact that great customer service can only be achieved with a strong understanding of the customers being served. Often, the habits and preferences of Internet users are conveniently separated by demographic, which helps companies determine the best approach for both marketing campaigns as well as customer service techniques.

Evaluating and interpreting data regarding customer service efficacy is crucial for businesses to maintain strategies that utilize their time, money, and efforts wisely. Naturally, strong analytical abilities ensure the most desirable result, which is why business managers need both front-line employees and management personnel to be up to speed with critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Most businesses will need to conduct survey and research campaigns devoted specifically to their company. However, the following information provides a general scope of how different types of customers use the Internet. In analyzing the data presented, businesses can determine the best method for reaching out to target demographics.

Shining the Social Media Spotlight on Twitter

No social media marketing campaign is complete without a focus on one of the most popular websites on the social networking sphere. Because Twitter is such a crucial component of communicating with customers, it's important to look at both who is using Twitter and how they are using it. According to researchers Aaron Smith and Joanna Brenner, "Some 15% of online adults use Twitter as of February 2012, and 8% do so on a typical day."

The former figure is notably higher than the 13% of adults reported to use Twitter in May of 2011, while the latter figure is significantly higher than the 2% of online adults who reported to use Twitter on a typical day in late 2010. Experts speculate that this rise in Twitter usage can be attributed to a similar increase in smartphone usage, which means that greater accessibility of this medium has encouraged more activity on the site.

Twitter By Demographic

The population of Twitter users doesn't necessarily reflect what one might expect based on the overall population of the U.S. Relative to their peers, African-Americans tend to use Twitter at a higher rate. A measured 28% of online African-Americans use Twitter, with 13% remaining active on a daily basis.

Looking through the lens of age, approximately 26% of young adults (18-29) use Twitter. An even higher 31% of those on the younger side of this age range (18-24) reported to use the website. From a location angle, the study revealed that urban and suburban residents were significantly more likely to use Twitter than individuals located in more rural regions.

Why the Numbers Matter

Hearing about these numbers can be interesting in a trivial sense, but how are they valuable to businesses? In other words, why should we care? Understanding the online habits of African-Americans in particular helps companies more effectively reach out to this significant consumer base. Just how significant is this group? According to Nielsen's latest Cross-Platform Report, "Black Americans are consistently the second-highest US consumers of mobile data services by ethnic demographic." Furthermore, a measured 63% of black adults made a purchase online in the latter quarter of 2012.

For businesses who want to appeal to this substantial portion of the market, it's crucial to be able to understand this data and apply an effective marketing and customer service strategy accordingly.

No matter what a company's target audience might be, overlooking the significance of African-American consumers across industries would come with a tremendous loss that could have been avoided with more attention to analyzing the data.

-Lindsey Harper Mac

About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.