Here’s a few numbers that might surprise you:
- 62% of adults worldwide now use social media.
- “Social networking” is the most popular online activity.
- 22% of time online spent on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- 42% of mobile users share multimedia via Facebook.
- Google+ is the second-most used social network for mobile users.
- Smartphone owners spend as much time using social networking as they do playing games.
- Smartphones are now 65% of the Australian market.
(Should we cite sources?)
So what does this mean?
More people than ever are using social media to connect and share content with their friends. They’re familiar with their social media platforms, and they spend a lot of time networking.
And what does this mean to you? Well, these are your customers. You have the chance to communicate with them directly, and put your brand right in front of them. So why would you pass on such a great opportunity?
Risks & Rewards of life in the fast lane
Life on the social stage is not without it’s dangers. Remember the old saying, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”? Some brands put that to the test.
- Fashion designer faux pas shows lack of sensitivity
- 7-Eleven makes a funny, but falls flat
- Fake twitter account for BP steps in after big spill
On the other hand, sometimes you’ll have the chance to say something unexpected, but totally in-line with your brand entity.
- Sainsbury’s (supermarket chain in the UK) show they’re not too big for a sense of humor.
- Taco Bell (fast food chain in the US) match wits with another big brand.
What should you be doing?
Many businesses will make the mistake of using their social media accounts simply as a broadcast channel. They’ll put out announcement after announcement, pummelling their followers with purchase offers, without ever engaging with them.
You have to treat your social network more like a dinner party. Join in the conversation, be casual, be yourself – don’t set up in the middle of the room with a big “50% Off” sign!
Which networks should you be using?
There’s quite a few social networks available.
Facebook has the largest userbase. Twitter has a strong following, with more tech-savvy users. Google+ is pretty new, but is taking off well. Pinterest is the newest kid on the block, and has the smallest userbase (currently).
But it’s not all about the numbers. Visitors from Pinterest tend to have higher commercial-intent (they’re more likely to buy something), while Facebook is great for building brand awareness.