Love it or hate it, use it or ignore it, profit from it or have your customer service gaffes illuminated by it, social media is buzzing because it has become foundational to digital marketing. User generated content allows people around the world to share ideas with each other. Social media’s reach now outperforms traditional media outlets like TV, radio and print. And while it’s now undeniably part of our culture and marketing disciplines, the growth has really just begun.
Random Social Media Stats
- In 2010, Gen Y outnumbered Baby Boomers and 96% of them belong to a social network.
- 78% of people trusting peer recommendations on websites; only 14% trust ads.
- 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 brands are linked to user-generated content.
- 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. in 2009 met via social media.
- Facebook has over 500 million active users. 50% of them log in every day. Collectively, 700 billion minutes per month are spent at the site. 70% of users are outside of the U.S. Facebook has over 200 million active mobile users and are 2X as active as non-mobile users.
- Twitter has 175 million users, generating over 65 million tweets and more than 800,000 searches per day.
- The second largest search engine in the world is YouTube. The site has over 2 billion viewers daily.
- 73% of Wikipedia users edit the site’s content because they want to share knowledge.
- LinkedIn has over 60 million users with 12 million unique visitors per day.
- People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services than how Google ranks them.
What Do Strangers Recommend?
Word of mouth is the most popular option for deciding on your next product of service, with 78% of people trusting peer recommendations on websites. The profound influence that strangers have on our decisions is relatively new and remarkable territory. Plain old advertising only impresses 14% of people.
Brand Rankings Succumb to the User Generated Content
As mentioned above, 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 brands are linked to user-generated content. The platform provided by social media combined with sheer numbers of customer contributors outpaces the content that even the world’s largest brands can generate.
This can be a very good thing if your priorities are right. If the preponderance of your customers are saying good things, they will do the marketing for you. If not, or if your company has a bad rap for lack of engagement or courtesy, customer reviews can do more damage than any failed ad campaign. Large brands typically have it more uphill battle to humanize their messages and deal with customers at a one-to-one level. On the other hand, small companies have the most success at finding new customers through social sites.
2011 – Dubbed “The Year of Facebook” for PPC Marketers
2011 will have search marketers delving even deeper as it is anticipated to be the “year of Facebook” according to Covario, a search marketing firm to Fortune 500 companies.
72 percent of active users have two social network accounts on average, with Facebook being the platform of choice with 51 percent of users having an account – the most popular by a landslide. Integration between search and social media is priority number one for respondents to Covario’s recent search and social media survey. The allure of user-generated inbound links to product sites is a major draw for advertisers.
Paid search advertisements on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn should also see major upticks – as much as 10% to 20% of PPC budgets – as marketers aim to engage their target audience in the middle of their networking sprees.
Make Social Media a Priority
The takeaway is that consumers now have the largest impact on a brand’s messaging and it is doubtful that we’re going to cede that voice anytime soon. Social media here to stay. So, whatever your feelings are toward connecting with consumers, engaging in social media and integrating it with your digital and offline campaigns needs to a top priority for your business in 2011 and beyond.Post by Jennifer Gosse.