Is your small business “all in” with social media? New research shows incredible opportunity for small businesses.
Keep reading to discover why social media is changing small business for the better.
Six months ago, I highlighted many benefits of social media for small business, but several new research articles add urgency to this message.
Swiftly Changing Landscape
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.
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:
#7: Social media users are more active and influential offline:
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- Be sure you empower your online fans to be offline advocates;
- 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.
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.
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.
#18: A majority of Facebook users log in 3-4 times per week.
#19: One out of 5 social network users is likely to visit another social site after leaving one.
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- If college students are part of your target market, be sure to find them on Facebook;
- 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
#21: 44% of SMB decision-makers use social media.
#22: Of those SMB decision-makers who use social media, 86% use Facebook vs. 41% LinkedIn and 33% Twitter:
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 an infographic 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.
#25: Small businesses don't have to spend much to get results: Zoomerang found 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.
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.
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.
How Your Small Business Could Improve Its Social Media Efforts
Social Media Examiner has brought together 25 small business owners who are pros at social media to teach other small business owners how to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities available in social media.
How? In its new summit—Small Biz Success Summit!
Speakers like John Jantsch, Anita Campbell, Mike Stelzner and Mari Smith will teach sessions in the month of February at Small Biz Success Summit 2012. Click here to learn more.
What do you think? How do these statistics compare to your experiences? If you're a small business, I'd love to hear your success story here. Leave your questions and comments in the box below.
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