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Why Businesses Need Social Media

Social media marketing is a rapidly changing environment, as we all know. But the good news is that your customers are embracing social media as a normal part of their lives. Even the over-50 population is adapting at staggering rates.

The following 26 stats should impress upon you the importance of developing a social media strategy for your business.

#1: There are now more than 800 million active Facebook users, with over 200 million added in 2011. Notice the growth trend traced by Ben Foster.

facebook growthFacebook is growing rapidly. Which side of the wave are you on?

Nielsen found the following in their 3Q 2011 Social Media Report:

#2: Over 80% of all Americans use a social network.

#3: Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other U.S.website.

#4: Approximately 40% of social media users access their accounts through mobile devices.

#5: Nearly 23% of online time is spent on social networks.

#6: Facebook is the top destination among social networks and blogs:

facebook minutesNielsen found U.S.users spend nearly 10x more time on Facebook than Twitter or LinkedIn.

#7: Social media users are more active and influential offline:

offline influence
Social media users are more active offline and have greater influence than their peers (Nielsen).

Key Takeaways:

  1. Be sure you empower your online fans to be offline advocates;
  2. Given the growing number of mobile social media users, consider how to best engage your mobile customers when you craft your posts for Facebook and LinkedIn (e.g., requiring shorter responses will get higher engagement).

What Does Facebook Say About its Users?

At Facebook’s recent F8 Developer Conference, Facebook shared the following statistics:

#8: More than half of Facebook users log in every day – that’s more than 400 million people.

#9: The average user has 130 friends and is connected to 80 pages, events and groups.

#10: There are 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, etc…).

#11: Facebook hosts over 7 million apps, and over 20 million apps are downloaded each day.

#12: Around 75% of Facebook users are outside of North America with accounts available in 70 languages.

Key Takeaway:

The previous five statistics show the strong competition for eyeballs. A critical success factor for getting seen is consistency. There is a cumulative effect to your social efforts. The next stat highlights this.

#13: Comscore released a study earlier this year that showed how business brands that post at least once every day will reach 22% of their fans in a given week.

comscoreComscore shows the impact of consistently posting to Facebook.

How Are People Using Social Media?

Experian recently released their 2011 Social Media Consumer Report. The following trends help paint a picture of how people are using social media.

#14: Experian estimates that 91% of online American adults (approx. 129 million)access some form of social media each month.

#15: And get this: 98% of 18- to 24-year-olds access social accounts monthly.

#16: This confirms their stat that college towns log on to Facebook the most.

#17: The average Facebook user spends 20 minutes on his or her account during each visit.

length of visitNote that Facebook users spend nearly twice as much time on the platform as Twitter users. The jury is still out on Google+, as data hasn’t been accumulated to show the effect of the public release.

#18: A majority of Facebook users log in 3-4 times per week.

frequency of visitsNotice that Twitter users are nearly as likely to login once per week as they are three to four times per week.

#19: One out of 5 social network users is likely to visit another social site after leaving one.

social destinationAfter visiting a social network, 45% of users will visit another social site, a multimedia site like YouTube or use a search engine.

Key Takeaways:

  1. If college students are part of your target market, be sure to find them on Facebook;
  2. Because many customers show a tendency to stay on social media sites, find ways to keep them engaged.

Small Businesses Moving Toward Social Media

So what are business leaders doing in light of the obvious shift toward social media in online behavior?

Zoomerang interviewed 1,180 small- to mid-sized business (SMB) decision-makers and 500 consumers in September to release this study in an attempt to answer that question.

#20: The 3 most important reasons small businesses leverage social media are:

  • Connecting with customers
  • Visibility
  • Self-promotion
zoomerang top81% of small business leaders use social media to get in front of customers and find new customers.

#21: 44% of SMB decision-makers use social media.

zoomerang promotionThis graphic highlights how important it is to integrate social media with your website, email and direct mail efforts.

#22: Of those SMB decision-makers who use social media, 86% use Facebook vs. 41% LinkedIn and 33% Twitter:

zoomerang toolSmall- and medium-sized businesses are investing the most effort in Facebook.

Takeaway:

Be sure to integrate your social media efforts with your website and mail efforts (online and offline).

Small Businesses Getting Results Without Spending Much

Social media is good for business, not just relationships. Mediabistro published aninfographic produced by Crowdspring that reveals the following findings:

#23: 50% of small business owners reported gaining new customers through social media – most notably through Facebook and LinkedIn.

#24: 51% of Facebook users and 64% of Twitter users are more likely to buy from the brands they follow.

infographicTwitter fans are more likely to buy from a brand they follow (Crowdspring).

#25: Small businesses don’t have to spend much to get results: Zoomerangfound that nearly 60% of all small business decision-makers spend less than $100 on social media and 74% of businesses don’t employ anyone to manage their social media marketing.

zoomerang spendingSmall business owners can get results without spending a lot of cash.

More Good News for Small Businesses

#26: Ning has found it only takes 20 people to create meaningful many-to-many interactions and bring an online community to a significant level of activity. That’s something almost any business can achieve.

Key Takeaway:

Don’t use the excuses of having a limited budget or a small fan base to prevent you from broadening and deepening your social efforts.

How to Bring It All Together

There are numerous conclusions to draw from these statistics. Clearly, small businesses are increasingly leaning on social media to grow their businesses. Many of your customers are using social media almost every day. The opportunities to connect directly with your customers are unprecedented, but so is the competition.

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