The data, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points, comes from a reported titled "Social Media and Affluent Households" by Spectrem Group, a consulting firm specializing in the affluent and retirement markets. The results are based on online and telephone surveys of the financial decision-makers of 3,002 households.
The company has three categories for the rich, not including primary residence: the mass affluent (net worth of $100,000 to $1 million), millionaires (net worth of $1 million to $5 million), and Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW, net worth of $5 million to $25 million). Following this grouping, 55 percent of the mass affluent in the US are using Facebook, 46 percent of millionaires are on the social network, and 47 percent of UHNW investors are using the service.
"Led by Facebook, the social media era has finally arrived for the nation's wealthiest investors, with nearly half the nation's millionaires now logging onto the social network. Wealthy investors are also interested in reading blogs by trusted financial advisors," George H. Walper, Jr., President of Spectrem Group, said in a statement. "The message is clear. Learning how to effectively use social media and financial blogs is critical to the future success of financial services firms. Providers who fall behind run the risk of frustrating their investors and losing customers."
In addition to Facebook, LinkedIn is also popular among wealthy investors, with 22 percent of the mass affluent, 19 percent of millionaires, 26 percent of UHNW investors using the job website. Twitter usage is much smaller, with 5 percent of the mass affluent, 3 percent of millionaires, and 6 percent of UHNW investors using the smaller service.
The results are completely understandable. Facebook and LinkedIn offer much more privacy than Twitter does, and most rich individuals understandably prefer to keep their personal lives out of the public's eye. Since Facebook is a networking tool, while Twitter is a broadcasting tool, it isn't surprising that the latter's usage is so low. Facebook is bigger than LinkedIn, so it makes sense for it to have a larger share, but there's another factor that also comes into play. LinkedIn is mainly for those looking for a job, or for those who think they will be at some point in the future. Most rich people have steady jobs already.