Social media usage spiked dramatically between last December and June, according to new Millionaire Corner wealth level studies.
In December, for example, Facebook, the largest social network with more than 750 million active users, had been used in more than a quarter of Mass Affluent, Millionaire and Ultra High Net Worth households. By June, usage had increased from 29 percent to 55 percent in households with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million (not including primary residence). Usage increased 20 percent in households with a net worth between $1 million and $4.9 million as well as those with a net worth between $5 million and $24.9 million).
LinkedIn, the world’s largest online professional network, too saw increased usage, no doubt from people intensifying their efforts to network in a down economy with stubbornly high unemployment. In Mass Affluent households, usage more than doubled to 22 percent in six months. It increased 8 percent in UHNW households to 26 percent, but just 2 percent to 19 percent in Millionaire households.
The connection to Twitter, however, is not as strong. Over the past six months, Twitter usage is virtually unchanged. It is used by 5 percent of Mass Affluent investors, a dip of 1 percent from six months ago. Twitter use declined by 2 percent in Millionaire households (from 5 percent to 3 percent). It ticked up 1 percent in UHNW households to 6 percent.
Across wealth levels, younger investors, generally the first to adopt new technologies, are more likely to use social media than older age groups. In Mass Affluent households, for example, 73 percent of those ages 54 and under use Facebook versus 45 percent of those ages 65 and up. In Millionaire households, 42 percent of younger investors are on LinkedIn as opposed to 24 percent of baby boomers ages 55-64.
While investors still primarily rely on newspapers, broadcast and cable television and other traditional media outlets to get information, social media use is again skewed toward younger investors. In Mass Affluent and Millionaire households, those younger than 55 years old are at least twice as likely as those ages 55-64 to get their information from social media than they do from traditional media outlets.
In UHNW households, though, it is the boomers who are slightly more likely to use Facebook than the youngest investors (56 percent vs. 50 percent, respectively). An equal percentage of both age levels use LinkedIn (38 percent).
Younger investors, too, are significantly more likely to read financial blogs as well as corporate blogs from trusted financial advisors. The youngest Mass Affluent and Millionaire households are more than twice as likely as their older counterparts to rely on social media rather than the telephone and other traditional channels to communicate with others.