Although it is important to take them with a pinch of salt, statistics can be highly enlightening when it comes to describing states and trends. Social media is particularly well-described by statistics due to its very nature – it is essentially a game of numbers and this is part of what makes it compelling for so many users. A look into these statistics can therefore allow us to measure the magnitude of the social media phenomenon.
2012 has been a rather important year for social media as it has been one characterized by a lot of change and growth in this domain. Technologies have continued to move forward, and at the same time we have continued to see social media become more and more accepted by businesses and individuals. Social media has also been integrating itself into increasingly more facets of the Web and of business, and Google’s recent talk of ‘social search’ and its new baby Google Plus point towards social media becoming an ingrained part of SEO as well.
This info graphic lays out a few impressive and often fascinating statistics regarding leading social utilities. It is fair to say that Facebook continues to dominate as the most popular form of social media, with more than 800 million active Facebook users at present. The news is very good for businesses trying to market themselves through Facebook: 56% of consumers claim that they are more likely to recommend a brand if they have become its fan on Facebook and 77% of consumers interact with brands directly by reading posts and updates from the brands.
Another giant in social media is LinkedIn, which has 64 million users in North America alone as well as the 500 CEOs of the world’s top companies. Twitter is also booming exponentially, although behind Facebook in the social media race, with 100 million active Twitter users. 34% of marketers are taking advantage of the Twitter population by successfully generating leads through the network and 20% of these have actually closed deals.
A huge indicator of how mobile technology is growing hand in hand with social media is that 55% of Twitter users access the site through their smartphones. That is, more than half use this social media tool on the move, from unfixed locations. In fact, mobile technology is increasing the pace of the Internet revolution substantially. Tablet users, for example, consume much more as well as more diverse content on the Internet as the interactive and visual features built-in these devices encourage users to explore more content. At present, an impressive 3,5 billion items - news stories, posts, web links – are shared each week.
To give a quick example of how this is affecting the business world: a study conducted in 2011 and looking at the restaurant industry concluded that consumers who use social media – whether Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, UrbanSpoon and apps among others – dine out more and are more likely to be return customers than those who do not. So social media not only generates many more leads, but also optimizes on loyalty programs – two avenues which organizations can really strategize on.
In short, social media is a big deal and continues to get bigger year on year. The obstacle with social media really lies in the fact that it is constantly changing and evolving and it is crucial that businesses stay on top of developments to utilize the sites in a positive and effective way.