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updated 5/24/2011 9:18:12 PM ET 2011-05-25T01:18:12

The rich are different. Wealthy Internet users connect with brands on social networks for different reasons than the general population. The social networks they use are different, too.

The rich may get richer, but unlike average folk, they're not looking for deals from their favorite stores and brands.

According to a recent study Affluence Collaborative by NowResearch, among the super-affluent ($500,000 plus) only 29 percent reported they follow brands for deals and discounts compared with 44.3 percent of the general population. Of those who fell in the merely affluent group, making between $200,000 and $500,000, 39.4 percent say they look for the deals.

"The wealthy are particularly fond of brands on social media and more than two times as likely to follow them," Julie Sacks, spokeswoman for the Affluence Collaborative, told TechNewsDaily.

It's love, not money

More than half (52.3 percent) of the top earners on social networking sites said they do it because "I love the brand and wanted to follow it." Only 36.9 percent of the general population cited this reason along with 39.7 percent of the affluent.

The survey also looked at what prompted people to follow a brand or store and again differences between rich and average were evident. The super-wealthy were more than twice as likely as the general population to follow a brand because the social network suggested it to them or because they saw it in an ad in a magazine, on TV or online.

Follow the money

Facebook was the most popular place to follow brands across the three income groups and 40 percent of all Facebook users "like" a brand. That's about 240 million fans.

But super-affluent consumers were about twice as likely as their average counterparts to use Twitter and LinkedIn. For example, 36 percent of the over $500,000 group followed a brand on Twitter, compared with only 14 percent of the general population.

Further, the super-affluents cited two relatively small social networking sites, Meetup and ASmallWorld, as favorite places to support their brands, sites that barely registered for the other two groups.

For instance, 5 percent of the top earning group use ASmallWorld compared with less than 1 percent of the other groups. ASW is the LinkedIn, Yelp and match.com combination networking site for the jet set and is by invitation only.

Hot brands

The average person is a fan of Coke, Oreos, Sony PlayStation and  Victoria's Secret, all brands that appear in the top 10 pages of Facebook and Twitter. Together, these four brands have nearly 74 million fans and followers, according to Famecount.com.

Luxury brands aren't found in the top 10, but high-end fashion brands such as Chanel and Gucci along with luxury cars, including BMW and Ferrari, are found in Famecount's top 100. A further clue to super-wealthy brand favorites? Advertisers on ASmallWorld include Chanel, Moët & Chandon and Gilte Group's luxury vacation service Jetsetters, that pay an average of $50,000 a month to reach this elite social group of 150,000 and turn them into fans, according to the company.

© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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