In my recent blog on Business Networking Web 2.0 Style I posted a video from YouTube which made some eye opening claims about the prevalence of Social Media. It raises many issues which are very relevant to the way we do business today, and small business owners would be well advised to consider them.
Many people still dismiss social media as a passing fad. According to ComScore, over 70% of Australians visited a social networking site in June this year, up 29% from the previous year. Facebook visits grew from 3 million to 6 million and Twitter grew from 13,000 to 800,000 in the same period in Australia alone.
This kind of growth and reach is hard to ignore.
And for those who regard social media as the domain of Generation Y, demographic data show that the largest age group on Facebook are 35 to 54 years old, and over 40% of Twitter users are 35 to 44 years old. The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year old females!
“80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices, what does that mean for bad customer experiences?”
The viral nature of networks means that our business reputations, good OR bad, can potentially travel around the world in minutes. It is also said that 25% of search results for the world’s largest brands are user generated content, and over a third of bloggers post opinions about products or brands. What are these people saying about you?
Consumers trust peer recommendations more than any other kind, including paid advertising in traditional media, so the implications here are enormous.
With the amount of news and other content being shared via social media, is it any wonder that almost all the major newspapers are experiencing decline in circulation?
Implications for Business
So what should businesses be doing to avoid being left behind? Some possibilities are:
- Analyse and use consumer generated insights to drive sales and marketing related business decisions
- Provide a means to engage with customers through company hosted blogs and online forums
- Monitor what your customers are saying online, and view negative feedback as an opportunity for growth and improvement
- Use multiple channels of social media to predict and monitor customer behaviour.