Infographic by Brian Lemen

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Fasten your social media seat belts, this one is an eye opener. 63% of LinkedIn users are male (37% are female). 64% of Twitter users are female (36% are male). When I saw these statistics from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, I was surprised. While I expected some user differences between these two major social media sites, I didn't expect anything of this magnitude. This is statistically sound research, so these differences are real.

But the male/female ratio was not the only difference. There is also the issue of education. Fully 75% of LinkedIn users have at least a bachelor’s degree or graduate school. The comparable figure for Twitter is 39%.

What about age? Twitter users average 33 years old while the LinkedIn crowd is 40.

What accounts for this difference? The research doesn’t really address it. We’d love to hear your take on it.

So what does all of this mean for a professional services marketer? My take is as follows:

  1. Social media is not one thing. It's many different platforms that often have very different characteristics.
  2. Do not abandon your customary analytical marketing approach when you experiment with social media. Different platforms are appealing to different people for different reasons. These large platforms may have a target population that is perfect for your campaign even if the overall demographic is not quite right. Don’t forget the mathematician who drowned in water averaging 6 inches deep.
  3. Social media is more about psychology than it is about technology.

What are your takeaways?