Retirement plan participants usage of social media for information about their workplace plan has increased, but it varies by age, gender and income level, according to a recent survey.

MassMutual’s "women are from Facebook, men are from LinkedIn" survey found that 74 percent of women routinely using Facebook versus 59 percent of men. The opposite holds true of LinkedIn, where about twice as many participant users are men—32 percent versus 15 percent of women. Twitter also has more male participant users at 17 percent compared to 10 percent of women.

The Springfield, Mass.-based life insurance company found that 71 percent of retirement plan participants "routinely" use one or more social media sites. The percentage of participants that have used social media for information or advice about their workplace plan has grown from five percent to six percent since 2011. While the number overall is small, says the company, it equates to about 5 million participants who have used social media for this purpose, indicating that it is used to supplement rather than replace the participant's primary retirement plan Web site.

"Participants in their 30's are far more likely to use social media for retirement information or advice than older or younger participants,” says Elaine Sarsynski, executive vice president of MassMutual's retirement services division and chairman of MassMutual International LLC. “This may represent an important window of opportunity to reach these participants at a critical time in their retirement savings lifecycle."

Participants who are actively contributing to their plan are more likely to use social media than those who are not contributing, indicating higher engagement overall, according to the survey. Likewise, participants who also save outside of their workplace plan are even more likely to use social media including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook in that order.

"Social media usage is up across the board since 2011, with the biggest increase in LinkedIn usage by participants at 24 percent, which is a 50 percent increase," says Merl Baker, principal of Brightwork Partners. "Facebook has broad appeal across all age groups, but clearly there is an opportunity for providers to target messaging by gender, age and income."

"LinkedIn is the dominant media for business purposes and appeals to all age groups,” says Baker. The survey found that LinkedIn is used by 36 percent of participants with a household income exceeding $100,000, but only by 15 percent of participants with a household income of $50,000 or less.

The survey was conducted online between February 18 and March 11 and included 2,081 defined contribution plan participants. Data was compared to a  survey conducted two years ago.