How Do People Use Social Media?

Published on December 13, 2017

When it comes to social media, there are plenty of things that you might already believe to be true. But are your assumptions on track, or are you missing the mark?

To help gauge our social media knowledge – and check out whether common social media myths are true or false – the Geek team likes to turn to studies from the Pew Research Center.

Focusing on social media usage and habits, the research compiled regularly by Pew is essential for understanding the far-flung impacts of social media on our culture, particularly when it comes to looking at the past, present, and future of marketing.

Curious about how, when, and why audiences are using social media today? Here’s how the numbers broke down among our four favorite social media platforms:


As of 2017, 68% of all American adults are Facebook users, making it the most popular social media site by far.

Among this vast pool of users, 76 use the social media site at least once every day, with many of these users presumably using Facebook multiple times per day. Another 15% of users check Facebook at least weekly.

What’s more, these users come from all age groups and walks of life. Facebook remains the most-used social network across demographic lines, including age, education, and income levels.

Chock these findings up in the “not too surprising” category. Industry experts have long maintained that Facebook continues to be the social media heavy hitter, even in the face of demographic shifts and negative PR.

Still, though, this data shows why businesses should not only maintain robust Facebook pages but utilize the service’s sophisticated and accessible paid advertising functionality to their advantage.

For more on how to get started, check out our comprehensive guide to using Facebook for promoting your business.


Though it’s frequently in the news these days, due to its popularity among media personalities and politicians, Twitter isn’t nearly as popular as a lot of its social media competition.

In all, the platform has seen slow, small growth over the course of the past few years. In 2012, for example, 16% of all online adults used the site; since then, Twitter’s share of total American audiences has grown to 21%. While this is significant, it means that Twitter trails not only Facebook, but Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn in popularity.

With that said, it should be noted that there is an audience out there who cares passionately about Twitter. According to Pew, nearly half of the site’s users check it every single day, and 74% of the site’s audience uses it to get news and updates.

With all of this in mind, businesses looking to market via social media might want to prioritize other sites and platforms. Of course, digital marketing is now more of a multi-faceted entreprise than ever before. Twitter is unveiling paid advertising tools that promise significant ROI, and there is evidence to suggest that it’s the preferred platform for consumers looking for a rapid response from a brand.

Looking to learn more about Twitter’s potential for businesses? Check out our guide to increasing your brand outreach in 280 characters or fewer.


In terms of total audience share, Pinterest outranks both LinkedIn and Twitter, according to Pew.

In particular, it’s important to note that Pinterest has long been and remains one of the most popular social media platforms among women, trouncing even Instagram among that demographic.

In all, Pinterest continues to witness impressive growth, and has doubled its audience since 2012. Are you using this handy tool to reach new audiences? Our guide to getting started with Pinterest for business is available here.


All told, the rapid growth and expansion of Instagram is one of the biggest stories in the (already quite impressive) history of social media. Since its launch – and subsequent acquisition by Facebook – Instagram has exploded in popularity and cultural cachet in relatively short period of time.

According to Pew, Instagram is the second most used social media platform among all adults, with 28% using it, and more than 50% of its audience using it every single day. It’s also worth noting that Instagram is particularly popular among two key demographics – young consumers (59% of 18-29 year olds use the photo-sharing platform) and higher income consumers (30%).

The bottom line? Given its emphasis on images, its enthusiastic user pool, and its sophisticated advertising features, integrated with Facebook, Instagram is a great site for businesses looking to consistently update their visual content and speak directly to their audience, on their level.

Ready to get started? Here’s our guide to marketing your brand with Instagram.

Sound a little complicated?

So you understand the importance and popularity of social media for business, but you’re not sure how to get started? That’s where the Geek Chicago team comes in!

With an extensive knowledge of all things social media, we will help you develop a digital marketing strategy tailored to your business’ needs in order to create the growth you want to see. When you’re ready, drop us a line or sign up for our newsletter!

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