Social Media Demographics and how They Pertain to Your Restaurant Marketing Strategy

When you’re building your online marketing strategy, social media can play an important role in the overall success of your campaign. As of May 2013, 72% of American adults online are using social networking sites of one form or another. Facebook continues to pull the biggest crowd, claiming a whopping 67% of U.S. online adults, while Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram use continues to steadily rise.

That said, each different social networking site tends to draw a different demographic of users, so it’s important to understand who your primary audience is when designing your restaurant’s social media campaign.

Restaurant Social Media Strategy #1: Understand Who’s Using Social Networking Platforms

Statistically speaking, women are only slightly more likely than men to use social media (74% vs. 70% of online users). Similarly, urban dwellers are more likely than rural folk to participate in social platforms (74% vs. 69%). The 18-29 year-old age range is by far the largest group of social networkers, with some 89% utilizing social media in one form or another.

As you might expect, the percentages steadily decline as age increases with 78% aged 30-49, 60% aged 50-64, and 43% over the age of 65. In terms of race and ethnicity, Hispanics hold the greatest percentage of social media use at 80%, followed closely by African-Americans at 75% and whites at 70%. More than 75% of all social media users, regardless of demographic, have a household income of less than $30,000 a year. Being aware of these statistics helps form a more clear idea of how to target the audiences you want to bring in your door using social media.

Restaurant Social Media Strategy #2: Take a Closer Look at Who’s Using Which Forum

It’s instructive to take a closer look at exactly who is using which of the multiple social media platforms. For instance, while Facebook continues to be the most used social platform overall (with more than 2/3 of all online adults saying they have a presence there), it is especially common among the younger crowd – with the vast majority of users being under the age of 50.

While Twitter also has the largest following in the younger than 50 crowd, those between the ages of 18-29 are by far the most active. Urban residents are significantly more likely to use Twitter than those in both suburban and rural areas. Hispanics and African-Americans are actually about two times as likely to use Twitter than whites.

Pinterest, on the other hand, tends to draw more whites as well as those with higher incomes and more education. Women are also five times more likely to use Pinterest than men, which is the biggest gender difference of any social media platform.

Last but not least, Instagram seems to be most popular with those in the 18-29 age range, more so than any of the others. In fact, this group tends to be twice as active as even the next youngest age group. African-Americans are more than twice as likely to use Instagram than whites.

What All These Demographics Tell Us About Designing Restaurant Social Media Campaigns

The take away point here is that it is important to know who you are most likely to be talking to when you start your social media campaigns so that you can structure your messages accordingly. For instance, the Millennial generation (those between the ages of 18-35) tend to be drawn to coupons, deals and discounts more than any other group. They love happy hours and home delivery options, and are more likely to choose locally-owned restaurants than any other demographic.

Gen-Xers, on the other hand, (currently 36-46 years old) currently frequent restaurants more than any other age group. Time and efficiency is important to this demographic, as is pragmatism and practicality, so marketing messages that are straight-forward and direct are what will resonate most with this generation.

Understanding who is most likely to be using the various social media platforms out there helps you to create more targeted and meaningful campaigns. Taking some time to think about which demographic groups you are trying to appeal to and where you are most likely to find them, will go a long way toward the overall success of your restaurant’s social media campaign.

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