Social media has become a powerful force in marketing for businesses of all sizes. The sheer volume of users to sites like Facebook makes a fan page a “must have” for any business. The rapid adoption of smart phones allows people to connect, interact, and update from anywhere, putting this power into the hands of the very people you want as potential customers. Blogs and social network posts have the power to sway public opinion and those who participate in social networks are more likely to offer up their opinion to the masses. Social media marketing is definitely here to stay.
In the recently released Social Media Report produced by Nielsen, statistics show that social networks and blogs currently reach more than 80% of active internet users. Consuming this content takes up the majority of the time these users spend online. When you look at that statistic and pair it with the finding that 70% of those active social media users also shop online, the value of optimizing your social network and social media presence becomes clear.
Anyone involved in marketing knows that good word of mouth advertising is the best type of advertising and often the hardest to get. However, social networks like Facebook and Twitter are rewriting the rules when it comes to word of mouth. The Nielsen study showed that 60% of the people who are active users of social networks make recommendations to their friends on products and services. These people are also more likely to be socially active offline which means they are offering their opinions there as well. This information highlights the need for a strong social network presence that engages customers.
Social media consumers, like blog readers, are also more likely to spend a significant amount of money buying music, clothes, shoes, and accessories. Understanding this factor can be key to designing and implementing a social media strategy that is most appropriate and best suited for your business. These users are also 45% more likely to go on a date, 19% more likely to attend a professional sporting event, and 18% more likely to go to a gym or health club. A majority of social networking users also follow a brand which indicates social media can be leveraged to build and retain brand loyalty.
The real movement over recent years however is in the use of mobile technology to access social networks, blogs, and other social media. More than 40% of those considered active social media users are accessing social media content through their mobile devices. The largest growing population of users in this area is in the 55+ age group which has doubled its active users in the past year. Apps for managing social networks are now the third most popular apps sold running very slightly behind games and weather apps.
People age 25-34 are the most active users of social media, but all age groups show growth in user adoption. Americans as a whole now spend more time on Facebook than any other U.S. website. Blog readers tend to have higher incomes and often more education than others in their age- group. As the accessibility of this type of social media on wireless devices and smartphones becomes easier to accomplish, grow in using these tools for marketing will only continue to rise in importance.
The message of the Nielsen report is clear; businesses need to buy-in to the value of using social networks and blogs as business building tools. By leveraging the viral nature of some of these tools and devoting adequate time to providing valuable, relevant content, business can bring in more customers and connect with those customers they already have and want to keep.
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