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Social Media in 2014: Going Back to Basics. Users Want to Eliminate Noise, Relationships More Important Than Ever

How the 72% of Americans Using Social Media Will Change Their Behavior in 2014

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The countdown is over, the ball has dropped, and for many the first kiss of 2014 has been had.  Americans are now focused on their resolutions for a new and improved self, family, or business in the new year. Though more than half of Americans still default to health/diet/weight-related resolutions, most social media users also resolve to make multiple changes in how they engage with these sites.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140106/MN40975-INFO)

According to a new poll conducted by Heart+Mind Strategies, the 72% of Americans using social media tell a clear story of how their social media use will be different this year, and it's all about going back to basics, to the very concerns social media was developed to support: maintaining and building relationships. The top three things social media users want to do more of in 2014 include:

  •        Stay in touch with family (56%)
  •        Stay in touch with current friends (55%)
  •        Connect with old friends they have lost touch with (32%)

From their earliest beginnings, the appeal of social networks was connection—connections to people you like, connections to people like you. Now, celebrities, companies, institutions, and politicians have entered the social media space giving audiences more to read, "like," follow, and re-tweet than ever before. 

Heart+Mind Strategies' expertise is human decision-making, and we know that one of the personal values that drive human decision-making is belonging. The sustained success of social media is due in part to this powerful human needto belong. Extend this need to the possibility of belonging to the virtual family of your favorite movie star or musician and it's easy to see how social media has spawned so many self-proclaimed addicts (16%).

However, social media users also express a strong desire to eliminate or reduce the noise. The top five things that social media users want to do less of in the new year are:

  •        Read comments by celebrities, athletes or politicians (38%)
  •        Find potential romantic or dating partners (30%)
  •        Pass time (27%)
  •        Read comments by companies or brands (26%)
  •        Gather surveillance/knowledge about others (22%)

The combination of activities social media users wish to do more of, juxtaposed against the activities they wish to do less of paints a clear picture. People want to build and preserve their inner circles while eliminating superfluous activities that do not enrich their lives or deliver the sense of belonging that first made social media such a great thing.

To be clear, social media users are not planning to use less social media overall.  In fact, a recent study from the Pew Research Center found that of the 73% of online adults now using a social networking site of some kind, 42% are using two or more of the five most popular social networks.  This represents increased usage for all of the five most popular social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram), illustrating the power of humans' need to belong and connect with others.

There are two audiences that have notable differences in their New Year social media plans compared to the rest of Americans: Millenials and self-proclaimed social media addicts. (click here for full article)

As corporate America finalizes its to-do list for the New Year, here are some strategic imperatives to consider:

  1. Concentrate on quality over quantity.  Social media users are clearly looking to eliminate noise, so make your post or tweet count. Gone are the days when an endless stream of information was helpful and/or necessary to build a loyal following.  Avoid adding to the noise—less is more.
  2. Focus on relationships.  Help your patrons keep their social media resolutions.  Focus your posts/tweets on aspects of your products or services that can help them do the things they are aspiring to do this year: connecting with others. 

Methodology

This report presents the findings of a survey conducted among a sample of 1,013 adults comprising 501 men and 512 women 18 years of age and older—including 734 social media users.

The online omnibus study is conducted twice a week among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,000 adults 18 years of age and older.  This survey was live on December 12-15, 2013.

Completed interviews are weighted by five variables:  age, sex, geographic region, race and education to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population, 18 years of age and older.  The raw data are weighted by a custom designed program, which automatically develops a weighting factor for each respondent.  Each respondent is assigned a single weight derived from the relationship between the actual proportion of the population based on US Census data with its specific combination of age, sex, geographic characteristics, race and education and the proportion in the sample. 

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. The data have been weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the 18+ population.  Because the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated.  All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.

About Heart+Mind Strategies (www.heartandmindstrategies.com)

We help clients understand the hearts and minds of the people that matter most to their enterprise; and we deliver the strategic decision making insight and advice to transform understanding into measurable success.

We are experts in human decision-making and its impact on marketing decisions and communications across industry and issue categories.  We apply a rigorous framework and an experience-driven set of principles that have elected presidents and prime ministers, strengthened corporations, bolstered declining industries, and reinvigorated global brands.

This point of view illuminates:

  •        How and why people make the decisions they do
  •        How perceptual equity can translate into bottom-line equity
  •        The role and linkage of both reason and emotion in persuasion
  •        What it takes to build measurable value

Media Contact: Gretchen Comey, Heart+Mind Strategies, 571-484-8083, gcomey@heartandmindstrategies.com

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SOURCE Heart+Mind Strategies

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