Use of Social Media by Professionals Across the United States

Opportunity, Inc. conducted a survey of social media usage by business professionals across the United States.

Opportunity, Inc. conducted a survey of social media usage across the United States. The survey captured a significant amount of information among a subset of Opportunity's membership of more than 2,000,000 professionals worldwide.  The survey asked a variety of questions about the respondents including age, employment, preferred social media platforms and daily engagement. This data allows Opportunity to assess how social media usage varies among demographic groups and offers insights into how to best utilize social media channels to engage it's member professionals.

What We Found
This study compiled data from respondents who were categorized by demographics and their attitudes towards social media. Those polled ranged in age from 18–65+ and held jobs ranging from entry-level positions to more senior leadership roles. Participants were asked about their favorite social media platforms, how frequently they engaged with social media and what channels they used to access those sites. Respondents were also asked about how social media impacts their job performance and about their specific views surrounding LinkedIn. These are some results of the survey.

Survey Respondents Rely on Mobile Devices to Access Social Media

How Do You Check Your Social Media Accounts?

Age Desktop Mobile Neither
18  -24 yrs. 67% 33% 0%
25 - 35 yrs. 21% 71% 8%
36 - 45 yrs. 10% 90% 0%
46 - 55 yrs. 11% 78% 11%
56 - 65 yrs. 43% 53% 4%
65+ yrs. 54% 46% 0%

Respondents overwhelmingly reported engaging social media platforms on their mobile devices rather than on a desktop computer. What is perhaps most interesting is that the youngest age group (18–24) reported the greatest preference for using a desktop over a mobile device. Possible explanations may be that younger respondents didn’t own a phone or work fewer hours and thus had ample time to engage on social media at home. The group with the second-largest preference for engaging social media on a desktop was the 65+ group, which may stem from a lack of comfort using mobile device or apps.

Social Media Engagement Rates Appear Consistent

What Social Media Platform Do You Use the Most for Personal Reasons?

Platform % Active Users % Passive Users
Facebook 54% 46%
Instagram 57% 43%
Snapchat* 0% 100%
Twitter 57% 43%

*We are discounting Snapchat data because so few identified it as their preferred platform.

Of survey participants, 84 percent reported having a Facebook account, and 69 percent of that pool reported that it was the social media platform they used the most. This, in of itself, is not surprising; Facebook has two billion monthly active users, far in excess of Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram. However, those who did prefer Facebook considered themselves active users at rates similar to Instagram and Twitter. Despite its popularity, Facebook does not appear to have an audience base that is more engaged than its rivals. This information could be of use to social media marketing firms that need to determine where to best target consumers.

Social Media Usage Differs By Gender

Overall 18% of respondants claimed social media 'has become a distraction' during the work day while 10% also claim social media 'helps them pass the time'. Additionally, frequency of usage throughout the day is quite high (see chart below). In other words, employers should be on alert that nearly 30% of their employees are essentially wasting time on social media while they could be working.  

How many times per day do you check your all of your social media accounts?

Frequency Percentage
1-5x per day 49%
6-10x per day 25%
11-20x per day 13%
21-40x per day 6%
41-50x per day 1%
51x per day 1%
None 6%

On a more productive note, male and female respondents stated that "Social media helps me do my job" (45% versus 42%, respectively).  It is possible that some respondents are checking social media as a function of their job, but that information is not captured in the data. 

Lastly, as a professional network ourselves we were curious to understand what the perception of the LinkedIn professional network was among professionals and how engaged they were in using the platform for both personal/professional reasons as well as it's role as a choice for advertising among businesses. Overall, 92% of respondents had a positive view of LinkedIn. However, 43% claimed they rarely or never use the platform.  Also, 25% claimed to have run advertising campaigns on LinkedIn (versus 32% on Facebook). Below are the results:

What is your overall Impression of LinkedIn?

Response Percentage
I Like LinkedIn. Use it often. 58%
I Like LinkedIn. Use it rarely. 34%
I Don't Like LinkedIn. Use it rarely. 5%
I Don't Understand How To Use LinkedIn 4%
I Don't Like LinkedIn. Never Use It. 0%


This data offers interesting insight into how professionals in the U.S. interact with social media platforms and how those services affect their workday. Brands and marketers that want to effectively engage professionals need to prioritize mobile ad spending over legacy channels less suited to mobile-first millennials. While ad spending needs to be diversified across numerous channels, marketers that can insert themselves into their target customers’ everyday lives (including during the workday) have the greatest chance of turning prospects into converts. 

Datasource: Opportunity

Opportunity shall not be held liable for improper or incorrect use of the data described or information contained on these pages. The data, information and related graphics are not legal documents and are not intended to be used as such. Opportunity gives no warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability, utility or completeness of this information.