Research firm Neilson has recently released a new set of figures around social media takeup and usage in the UK.

The headline is that social media in the UK continues to grow, although the demographic sectors showing the most growth have changed a little.

Despite recent press coverage suggesting that Facebook is losing users, the new research contradicts that – giving an overall growth rate of 41% between 2009 and 2011.

Older users account for much of growth

The age profile of users continues to shift, with a drop in the rate of adoption amongst younger users contrasting with an increase in the over 50s group, who are still the fastest growing age bracket.  The implications for businesses are clear – social media platforms can no longer be ignored with the excuse that your target market is over 18!

Twitter shows an even more rapid growth, with unique visitors up by 34% in May vs those in April; what may really surprise some is that the older age group is getting to grips with Twitter, too, with a big increase in the number of women over 65 using the site during that month.

For the BBC’s coverage of the UK social media statistics, click here