by Aaron Earls
According to Pew Research’s latest study on social media use, almost 8-in-10 Internet users also use one or more of the five major social media sites—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
Facebook continues to be the most dominate, with 71 percent of social media users. But it flatlined last year, while the other four grew by at least 5 percent.
For the first time, the majority of online adults (52 percent) now use two or more social media networks.
The percentage of Facebook users who are on the site daily reached 70 percent in 2014, while almost half of Instagram users (49 percent) do the same. A third of Twitter users (36 percent) check every day. Pinterest (17 percent) and LinkedIn (13 percent) had much lower shares of daily use.
Looking beyond the general numbers, however, can give a clearer picture of exactly who is using what social media network and how the church can target their message to better reach certain demographics.
Who’s on Facebook?
Short answer: Everyone. But there are certain groups that trend toward Facebook.
Those over 65: For the first time, a majority of senior citizen Internet users are on Facebook. Users grew by 11 percent, the largest demographic increase for the social media network.
Grandparents are using it to connect with their children and grandchildren and keep up with extended family and friends. Churches can connect with the growing numbers on Facebook by starting groups that center around service projects, Bible studies, and fellowships.
Who’s on Twitter?
While Twitter saw substantial growth across all demographics, a specific group is much more likely to tweet.
Young, college-educated men: The younger you are and the more education you have, the more likely you are to be on Twitter. Men also outnumber women.
Young adults are on Twitter. To reach them, you need to be on there as well, communicating the gospel in 140 characters or less. Encourage those who attend your church to tweet about your ministry using a specific hashtag. This will give them the opportunity to share with their friends and followers what God is doing through your church.
Who’s on Instagram?
The photo sharing app saw the biggest overall percentage increase in users, due in large part to a 16 percent jump among younger users. It was the only social media channel besides Facebook to capture the majority of individuals in a certain demographic—53 percent of 18-29 year olds use it.
Minorities: Only 21 percent of white Internet users are on Instagram, but 38 percent of African-Americans and 34 percent of Hispanics share photos with the service.
Being on Instagram is extremely important for urban churches seeking to appeal to minorities. Snap and share photos of your worship services, church activities, and ministries. Hashtag the photo with the name of your city to increase local awareness.
Who’s on Pinterest?
While Pinterest did experience growth across the board, Pinterest continues to be dominated by female users.
Women: Among women who use the Internet, 42 percent are on Pinterest. Users are also more likely to be young, white, college-educated, financially secure, and, suburban or rural.
Your church can use Pinterest to connect with the women of your church. Pin Bible verses, parenting tips, Bible study tools, and ideas to serve others.
Who’s on LinkedIn?
Half of all college graduate Internet users are on LinkedIn. It serves as an online resume of sorts.
Job seekers: While more employed individuals (32 percent) use it than unemployed (21), it almost doubled the percentage of unemployed users from 2013. But even if someone has a job now, that does not mean they are not potentially looking for a different one.
While the church may not need an account for itself, you can definitely offer free courses on using it. Help the unemployed and underemployed set up and refine their LinkedIn profile to benefit their job search.
More from Facts & Trends on using social media:
- 6 Reasons Millennials Aren’t at Your Church
- 7 Ways to Draw Millennials to Your Church
- Make Your Church Website Mobile Friendly
- Dangers of Liking Jesus on Facebook
- Living Life Off Screen
For churches or pastors getting started on social media, Ed Stetzer developed an introductory guide to Twitter and Facebook.
What other ways can churches use social media to better connect with people in the pews and reach those in the community?
Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.