How important is social media to the success of your business? Perhaps more so than you think. A recent study from the Nielson consulting group on the state of social media in 2011 suggests that a smart online presence is more important than ever. Here are five key takeaways from the report, as chronicled by Wisebread:
- Americans spend three times as much time on social media as on email. Specifically, we spend 7.6% of our time on traditional email and 23% of our time on social networks. If your marketing campaigns are tied up in email, you might be talking, but no one is listening. Instead, you should be investing in social network profiles and blogging.
- More than 70% of social network users shop online. The stereotypes are wrong -- social networkers are computer savvy, older, and use their PCs for online commerce.
- More people follow brands than celebrities. Speaking of stereotypes, Facebook isn't just full of people who follow Justin Bieber. Fifty-three percent of adults follow specific brands online, while just 32% of them follow celebrities. That's a real opportunity to engage.
- Well over half of users write reviews of products and services online. You have heard that personal reviews are more persuasive than endorsements from traditional media, and statistics are starting to back that up. Neilson found, for example, that 60% of social networkers are writing reviews and sharing them with friends. This is another huge crisis, challenge, and opportunity rolled into one (Homer Simpson would call this a "cris-atunity"). You need to figure out how to tap into that conversation and set up an appropriate dialog.
- Mobile users increased by 62% in 2011. Getting optimized for mobile is no longer an option. Twice as many people over 55 years old visited social media sites on their phones compared to 2010, and mobile use of social networking is up 62% overall.