The value of social media: Around the world – and up your block
Last month, InSites Consulting released its third annual report on social media around the world. The 2012 report recognizes social media as the root system empowering both consumers and brands to strengthen connections. As we experience daily, it is increasingly critical for communicators to understand which communities matter for their brand – and how this, in turn, generates more business exposure and increased traffic.
InSites has crowned the following five findings as most embodying how we, as both consumers and businesses, interact with social media:
- Social media as a landscape is rather stable;
- Mobile is the perfect accelerator for social media use;
- Consumers connect and interact with a limited set of brands;
- Consumers reach out the brands; and,
- Brands have an opportunity to optimize the conversation potential of consumers.
For the purpose of this post, the focus will be on the findings around the stability of social media and the opportunities a brand has to up-level its conversation with current and prospective consumers.
With over 2,000 facts and figures gathered from 19 countries surveyed, InSites concludes that while awareness of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ is high (100%, 80% and 70%, respectively), awareness of new networks like Instagram and Pinterest is considerably low, but growing (25% and 24%, respectively). What can we dissect from these findings? Simply, Instagram and Pinterest are uniquely positioned in having both resolute and expanding user bases. As such, brands cannot ignore the power of creating a visual identity with these platforms.
Writing this, I have to actively remind myself that not everyone is as submerged in social media as those of us who work in the fanatical world of digital communications – that not every office has employees competing on Instagram for the most liked image of Friday’s Bar-Cart creation. And I cannot help but be encouraged by what this survey reveals about users’ intentions to use both Instagram and Pinterest in the future. Bring on the competition!
Typically, companies deem social media interactions successful by accomplishing one of two things: building outreach or collaborating with consumers. This survey suggests that by combining these two dimensions, brands can actually optimize the potential for future conversations with consumers, as well. On average, people join 2.1 social networks (most often a combination of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), actively engaging with 3-6 brands. By combining efforts and generating conversation around product experience, promotions, service and contests, your brand has the potential to grow exponentially.
Take a look at what Red Bull managed to produce over the weekend with its Stratos space jump on Sunday, October 14: record-setting responses on the social web. According to Mashable, 8 million viewers gathered around YouTube to watch the live stream of Felix Baumgartner’s leap. The public then took to Twitter with a handful of Stratos-related hashtags, including #SpaceJump, #RedBull and #FelixBaumgartner.
As communicators, we’re always looking for means to bridge the gap between social media and the business metrics we care about. This survey teaches us that one of the best ways to achieve these desired metrics is to welcome collaboration with our user-bases. Engage in conversation and be open to ideas – and most importantly, give users the feedback they’re looking for.
Want to learn more? Check out InSite’s full presentation on Slideshare here.