Whether you’re thinking of starting a new business or are already running one, social media should be at the forefront of your marketing strategy. 

And to do it well, you not only need to know how the most popular social media platforms operate like the back of your hand, but you also need to understand the main purpose of social media. In other words, you need to know what social media platforms are being used for.

So then, what do users say is their primary reason for using social media? 

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Why do people use social media: top 10 reasons

According to a recent survey, the biggest reason people use social media is to keep in touch with their friends and family. As many as 49.5% of internet users list this as one of their top uses of social media.

This is no surprise, considering that’s exactly what the purpose of social media is. From profiles and messaging and commenting opportunities to milestone events and day-to-day updates, there’s not a whole lot about an individual (and a business, for that matter) that does not ultimately end up on social media. 

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The second main reason people use social media is to tackle boredom—38.5% of internet users say they use social media to fill their spare time. This is followed by reading news stories at 34.2%.

Given that social media is visual content-heavy, making it very easy to consume, and offers infinite scrolling, its entertainment value is extremely high. In fact, analysts consider it an aggregator of news and entertainment

The next three main uses of social media are finding content (done by 30.2% of internet users), seeing what’s being talked about (28.7%), and finding inspiration for things to do and buy (26.7%).

The seventh most popular reason internet users go on social media is to find products to purchase. As an (aspiring) ecommerce business owner, this is a statistic to pay extra attention to: 26.1% of people use social media to inspire purchases. That’s more than one in four—a whole lot of sales opportunities—and certainly highlights the benefits of social media marketing

Sharing and discussing opinions with others and watching live streams also rank among the top uses of social media, with 22.7% of users doing so. At 22.5%, making new contacts rounds out the top 10 uses of social media.

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