You’d be forgiven for thinking that the super-rich had better things to do with their time than Facebook-stalk their friends, but you’d be wrong.

In fact according to a new study by Sparkler, Facebook is the most popular and most frequently used social network among Europe’s most affluent citizens.

The survey was commissioned by Facebook to understand the social media attitudes and behaviours of its wealthy users, and involved an online survey of 1,991 respondents in the UK, France and Germany.

Respondents were all among the top 20% of earners in their respective markets and 80% of them were the main or equal share breadwinners.

The results identified five different wealthy social network segments:

1. Social network hungry (makes up 16% of total)

  • This group makes up 16% of the overall total and sees social networks as a fundamental tool for them personally and professionally.
  • They are the highest mobile users.
  • 77% say Facebook’s main function is to let them share opinions, 71% post status updates and like pages, while 72% get brand updates.
  • One of the wealthier groups, they are also the most likely to have trust funds.
  • They also like to engage with brands and receive special offers.

2. Business elite (13%)

  • This group tend to be business focused and professionally driven.
  • The wealthiest group, they are professional leaders in higher managerial or self-employed roles.
  • Facebook’s role is personal not professional, so their connections are carefully managed and the news feed is seen as highly relevant and trusted.
  • They have the highest privacy settings. 35% will connect with unknowns on LinkedIn, but only 8% will connect with unknowns on Facebook.
  • Also, they don’t think brands that are relevant to them are on Facebook.

3. Facebook resident (21%)

  • Members of this group live and breathe Facebook, and use it as an everyday communication tool.
  • 66% check Facebook everyday, 68% view conversations and 63% will respond to conversations.
  • Being more image conscious, they are keen to engage with brands on Facebook and expect high quality brands to have a presence on the social network.
  • They are aspirational, but tend to be the youngest group with the lowest incomes.

4. Facebook observers (35%)

  • Facebook observers are the oldest segment. They tend to be more cautious, reserved and family orientated.
  • Connections online are composed of their closest friends and family.
  • They are passive users and are unlikely to create content.
  • In general they are the most likely group to say the benefit of Facebook is to keep up-to-date with family and friends.
  • They are the least likely to have ‘liked’ a brand page. 62% say their top information source for purchasing is friends and families.

5. Unsocials (15%) 

  • Members of this group have signed up to Facebook but are highly sceptical about social networking.
  • They don’t see the point and are unlikely to engage on any level.

The motivation behind identifying these groups was essentially to prove to luxury brands that their customers can be found on Facebook.

There are various advertising tools that can be used to find them – such as Custom Audiences, Reach Groups – but as we found in a recent experiment, there are certainly problems that need to be ironed out to improve the targeting of Facebook’s Promoted Posts.