How does your social media use stack up against other Canadians?

While Canadians love social media, there are big differences in use, depending on gender, age, income, and employment status.
While Canadians love social media, there are big differences in use, depending on gender, age, income, and employment status. (Pixabay)
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This segment originally aired in March, 2018.


Canadians love their social media. About 94% of online Canadians are on at least one social platform, but gender, age, and income influence what platforms we choose, according to a new report by the Social Media Lab at Ryerson University.

The report summarizes results of a "census-balanced survey of 1,500 online Canadians" conducted in July.

Facebook is of course the reigning champ when it comes to social media popularity, with 84% of online Canadians having an account with the social networking titan.

Facebook use is also high across age groups. It's the only social media platform where more than half of those 55 and older participate. Although fully employed Canadians were more likely to use Facebook than unemployed people (90% vs 77%), Facebook use remained high across income groups.

"It shows me why marketers are so interested in Facebook advertisement," said  Anatoliy Gruzd, Director of Research at the Ryerson Social Media Lab, and a co-author of the report. "You can really reach different demographic groups, regardless of age, gender, level of income."
Anatoliy Gruzd, Director of Research at the Ryerson Social Media Lab

Income, Education, and Social Media Use

"There's a general trend that certain platforms maybe attract people with higher education or household income," Gruzd said. "Among Twitter users and LinkedIn users, there's a higher proportion of wealthier Canadians." On YouTube, however, income didn't make much difference (65% of those in the lowest income group compared to 58% in the highest group had a YouTube account).

Gender

Women overall participate in social media more than men; however, many social media platforms differed by gender. Pinterest, for example, was used by 56% of women, and only 18% of men. Men were more likely than women to have accounts at YouTube, LinkedIn, and Reddit.

Where the cool kids are

Certain platforms are more heavily represented by younger users. For instance, 66% of online users under 25 are on Snapchat, compared to just 13% of online Canadians 45-55.

What you post on Instagram certainly wouldn't be relevant or appropriate from their perspective on Twitter- Anatoliy Gruzd

That said, Gruzd pointed out that younger users are more likely to be on a range of platforms. "On average, [people] 25 and under have five accounts on different platforms...If you are an organization...you might be talking to them on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, but you really have to adapt your strategies," He argued. "What you post on Instagram certainly wouldn't be relevant or appropriate, from their perspective, on Twitter."

Who is using which platform is of more than casual interest, Gruzd argued. "It's not just businesses, but also government...turning to social media to engage with Canadians and to share information," he added. "It's quite important for those agencies to know what platforms they should focus on  to reach the majority of Canadians, or to reach certain populations that they really want to target."

It's not just businesses but also government turning to social media to engage with Canadians- Anatoliy Gruzd

As a country overall, we do have some differentiating factors. "Canadians are actually almost twice as likely to have Twitter and LinkedIn accounts than American counterparts," Gruzd said.

As a multicultural nation, we make some more international choices in social media. "Among ethnic communities in Canada, there's an active use of platforms that are popular in China [for example]," he said. "Over the years we may see some of these platforms try to go mainstream...It will be important to follow the statistics over the years and try to include more platforms...that are popular elsewhere."

Download the full report here.

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