Understanding your WHOLE social media audience (#mesh12)

Andrew Reid (left) and Alexandra Samuel at mesh12

The Fruition team is live blogging from the mesh conference, May 23 and 24 at the Allstream Centre in Toronto. Here’s the latest installment.

Do you really know your social media audience? Social media monitoring can tell you about people who post and tweet. But how do you get to know the lurkers who aren’t tweeting, liking or sharing your content? Gain insights into your invisible online audience in this first look at the largest-ever survey of social media users. Drawing on a recent survey of social media users in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., Andrew Reid and Alexandra Samuel tell us what’s different about lurkers, and what you need to know about reaching them.

We can get some data about inactive audience, but it pales in comparison to data from active sharers.

Reid and Samuel’s study talked to 55,000 Canadian social media users, plus more in US and UK. It’s the largest study of its kind. More than twice the sample size of Pew surveys.

Key social media lurker findings

68% of Canadian Facebook users don’t post, like or share, even though most of them are logging in to FB several times a week. For Twitter it’s 61% that are logging in but not posting.

Do lurkers behave the same ways and want the same things as sharers? No, which means that most of our data on our social media audience doesn’t apply to the majority of the audience.

Key research insights:

  • Lurkers tend to be less influential in terms of their workplace purchasing or hiring decisions
  • Attitudes: Lurkers care less about being fashionable; Lurkers are more reluctant to engage in shopping

What are the marketing implications?

You might change the way you structure social media initiatives. A Staples might create 2 different feeds: one targeting workplace influencers, made for sharing; another for the silent majority who maybe are focussed more on deals for home use.

You might also change your key metrics. Rather than shares or likes, you might want to increase your emphasis on measuring clicks and actual online transactions that are driven by social media.

Takeaway: silent social media audience are value-oriented rather than being driven by trends or being ahead of technology / fashion etc. curve.
They’re more likely to quietly click and buy if the deal is right.



  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ davinabrewer

    Big on trying to lure out the lurkers, since they’re a much larger part of the audience. There’s a lot of ‘there’ there - as you say, measurement and tracking are harder but worth it. And of course, not ignoring the silent majority (lurkers) in favor of the loud minority (those who do engage). FWIW.

    • KentWakely

      Thanks, Davina. Agreed.