Archive for social media research
Would you like some insights to help your business better understand people’s social habits?
In this article, I examine a report published by Edison Research focused on people’s latest social habits.
These findings provide useful insights about consumer behavior and how your business can respond.
Here are 9 of the most interesting findings from the study.
#1: Almost 58 million Americans Use Social Sites Daily
A social habit is the tendency to use social media sites several times a day. By mid-2012, the number of Americans with the social habit had risen to 22% (approximately 58 million people) from 18% in 2011.
A similar study by NM Incite provides further insight as to why people use social media. 89% do it to keep in touch with friends and family, 67% for entertainment, 66% to learn about products and services and 48% for career networking.
Key Takeaway: As consumers invest more time on social media sites, try to find new ways to connect and engage with consumers throughout the day. For example, post a short question on your Facebook Page in the morning, a helpful article in the afternoon and an interesting photo or brief video in the evening. And don’t forget weekends.
Remember too that consumers are interested in learning about your products and services, so showcase them and use appealing images and keyword-rich descriptions. Also consider introducing an e-commerce experience on your Facebook Page.
#2: Twitter Driving New and More Engaged Users
Twitter continued to draw new users by impressive numbers. 23% of consumers surveyed joined Twitter six months before, 30% joined less than a year before and another 25% joined less than two years before. The study also showed that engagement levels among Twitter users rose from 69% in 2011 to 76% in 2012.
Key Takeaway: New Twitter users will not know whom to follow right away. Make it easy for them to follow your business and tweet useful resources and thoughtful tips that answer their questions, rather than tweeting promotional content.
This will also help establish you as a thought leader in your industry, particularly if your tweets are focused mostly on a specific subject.
#3: 40% of Americans Exposed to “Tweets” from Traditional Media
The study found that 43% of Americans hear or read about “tweets” almost every day in traditional media. Another 16% hear this term regularly, but not daily. TV shows such as CNN’s AC 360 and Piers Morgan Tonight are known for promoting and extending conversations to their Twitter platforms.
Key takeaway: Every day, TV audiences are being heavily exposed to Twitter and the idea of tweeting. If your business advertises on TV (or is thinking about it), be sure to encourage your audience to take the conversation online in the form of tweets. Don’t forget to give viewers a unique hashtag to distinguish your brand.
To get your creative juices flowing, take a look at this stunning TV ad by American Express with numerous mentions of “tweets” and “Twitter.”
#4: Number of People Following Brands Doubles
This was an interesting discovery. Turns out that social media users are more interested in brands than ever before. In fact, brand-following behavior on social media sites increased by a respectable 17% in the last two years, and by 8% from 2011 to 2012. It’s likely that this trend will continue on the same upward path.
Key Takeaway: According to Get Satisfaction, the top reasons why users follow brands are to get free offers and deals, because they are existing customers, for interesting or entertaining content and because their friends are fans of the brand. Make sure the offers you make on your website are also promoted on your social media channels. For example free research reports, webinars or product giveaways.
Be creative and change up your offers every so often to keep things fresh and your fans engaged.
#5: Facebook Dominates for Brands
A whopping 79% of consumers prefer to connect with brands on Facebook, while only 9% prefer Twitter for brand-following. Why Facebook?
- Facebook is a familiar space. Consumers already spend a lot of time there connecting with friends and family; therefore, it’s a small effort on their part to connect with brands.
- Secondly, Facebook users are heavily influenced by their friends. If a friend likes a brand, they too will like a brand (remember “birds of a feather…”!).
- Finally, Facebook offers a more user-friendly and visually interesting interface than other platforms. This allows brands to leverage offers, giveaways, contests and other entertaining content in a more appealing way.
Key Takeaway: To increase the number of your Facebook fans, consider offering free gifts and entertaining content (or a combination of these). Otherwise you could also reward loyal fans and attract new ones by providing real value (i.e., 50% off or more—not 5% or 10%—according to Dave Kerpen of Likeable Media).
Again remember that contests and sweepstakes create a lot of excitement and energy, because the idea of shared opportunity spreads fast on Facebook.
#6: Young Facebook Users Have Lots of Friends
Notice from the graph that 18- to 24-year-old Facebook users have the highest number of friends, while more mature users have fewer friends. Keep in mind that “birds of a feather flock together,” so friends of fans tend to behave like actual fans on Facebook.
Key Takeaway: To increase your brand’s visibility on Facebook, don’t just target your fans, target their friends as well. Develop personas (or profiles) of your target audience and identify their demographics, interests, pain points, social behavior, etc.
This information will help you to create content that is highly optimized for them. Then create messages that are sharable, such as promotions that require voting (if a fan votes, their friends will be persuaded to vote as well). The idea is to get high visibility on your fans’ newsfeeds, thus encouraging interaction with their friends as well.
#7: Only One-Quarter of Social Networkers Use “Daily Deals” Sites
Generally the American population is not crazy about daily deals services such as Groupon or LivingSocial, and only 23% of social networkers are registered users of these sites. Numerous sources suggest that there’s a lot of buyer’s remorse associated with Groupon.
Key Takeaway: Unfortunately the entire Groupon business model has long been held in question. But from the consumer’s point of view, everyone still likes a good deal. If you’re using Groupon or Living Social, just be careful and make sure there is a profitable return for your business.
Otherwise you may want to reevaluate your goals to check whether this kind of model is still a good fit for you.
#8: One-Third of Social Media Users Do Not Interact
Most people like to engage (post status updates) on social media sites. However, 34% of users are silent for various reasons. According to TopRank Online Marketing Blog, some are lurkers (those who just sit tight and absorb information), while others are newbies who haven’t quite honed their online social skills.
Key Takeaway: Silent users such as lurkers and newbies may not interact with friends or brands, but they are listening and can be valuable connections for your business. If you notice lurkers among your followers, try to reach out directly to them via direct messages. They’ll be more likely to respond if you rouse them with a thought-provoking question or comment.
To draw out newbies, use the usual best practice of sharing tips, tricks and other helpful content. As they start to figure their way around, they’ll remember you for helping them along the way.
#9: People Are Checking in Less Frequently
Both Gowalla and Foursquare saw sharp declines in user activity in 2012. In fact, 57% of users said they “almost never” check in. Of course, Gowalla shut down in early 2012, but even with Foursquare still open for business, consumers started to opt out of the check-in craze due to privacy concerns, according to a study published on Mashable. Others did not consider badges or upgraded status to be sufficient motivation to check in.
Key Takeaway: If you use location-based marketing to promote your business, try using a combination of specials and discounts to encourage more clients. Because people are concerned about privacy and safety issues, your business will have to offer unrivaled deals for customers to give up their location. For example, “Check in with three friends and get four free drinks,” or “Mayor gets 35% off entire bill.”
Marketers have a great opportunity to respond to these findings and develop strategies that appeal to changing consumer habits. Continue to focus on Facebook and Twitter as these platforms draw in new users. On the downside, be careful about using daily deals and location-based marketing because consumers are apprehensive about these services.
Over to you: What do you think? As a marketer, which of these social habits did you find most interesting? Please tell us why you think so and share your thoughts below.
Are you wondering, “How does social media work differently for B2B businesses?”
More than 1900 business-to-business (B2B) marketers shared their insights on what’s working with social media marketing and where they’d like to improve.
In this article I’m going to focus on those areas where B2B marketers have significantly different experiences than their consumer-focused counterparts.
Let’s dig in.
B2B Marketers Show Confidence in Social Media
Of the B2B marketers who took this year’s survey, over 93% use social media to market their businesses. While that’s slightly below their consumer-focused brethren (95.2%), there’s been a significant increase since the 2010 survey when only 88% of B2B marketers responded affirmatively.
B2B Marketers Have More Experience
Based on the results of this survey, marketers from B2B brands are more likely to have 3 or more years’ experience than their B2C counterparts (18% of B2B vs. 14% of B2C).
Social Media Is Getting Results
When asked about the benefits of social media marketing, B2B marketers noted the following:
- Over 56% of B2B marketers acquired new business partnerships through social media (compared to 45% of B2C marketers)
- Nearly 60% of B2B marketers saw improved search rankings from their social efforts (compared to 50% of B2C marketers)
- B2B marketers are more able to gather marketplace insights from their social efforts (nearly 69% vs. 60% of B2C marketers)
- The one area where B2B marketers significantly lag behind their B2C counterparts is in developing a loyal fan base. 63% of B2C marketers found social media helped them develop loyal fans, compared to only 53% of B2B marketers.
What Tools Do B2B Marketers Use?
While almost all B2C marketers (over 96%) use Facebook as a marketing tool, a significantly fewer 87% of B2B brands do the same according to this study. This barely surpasses the adoption of LinkedIn (86.6%) and Twitter (84%).
Where Will B2B Marketers Invest More Time?
There is little difference in how B2B and B2C marketers will increase their time investment except when it comes to Facebook, LinkedIn and blogging.
In 2012, B2B marketers are far more likely to increase their use of LinkedIn. In fact, over 76% of B2B marketers will increase their use, compared to only 55% of B2C marketers. These are both increases from 2011 (71% of B2B and 51% of B2C).
71% of B2B marketers plan to invest more time in blogging (compared to 65% of B2C marketers).
A significant majority of marketers will increase their use of Facebook this year, but B2B marketers (68%) lag behind B2C companies (76%).
What Do B2B Marketers Want to Learn?
If you offer educational products or consulting for B2B marketers, you’ll be interested to know that B2B marketers want to learn about Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter, in that order. Only in the case of LinkedIn does their interest surpass that of B2C marketers (56% of B2B vs. 50% of B2C).
The top topics B2B marketers want to learn about (compared to B2C) are:
- Measuring effectiveness of social media (77% vs. 78%)
- Converting activities to sales (72% vs. 69%)
- Discovering best social media tactics (69% vs. 74%)
Only in the case of converting activities to sales do B2B marketers exceed B2C marketers in their desire to learn.
Other Forms of B2B Marketing
It has been properly noted that many other marketing tools (like event marketing) are very social. Social media didn’t suddenly make marketers social. Nor does it replace such valuable tools as email and search engine optimization.
Heidi Cohen quips that we couldn’t have social media without email; how else would you log in to all of these platforms?
That understood, B2B marketers have a somewhat different experience marketing outside of social media. Only in the areas of email and press releases do they invest similarly.
B2B marketers are significantly more likely to use search engine optimization (67% vs. 62% of B2C), event marketing (68% vs. 60%) and webinars (28% vs. 12%).
B2B marketers are much less likely to use direct mail (37% vs. 45%), online ads (33% vs. 43%), sponsorships (25% vs. 31%), television ads (4% vs. 17%), radio ads (8% vs. 25%), and print display ads (25% vs. 47%).
In terms of future plans for these platforms, B2B marketers plan to increase their use of search engine optimization (69%), event marketing (62%) and email (61%). These are similar to B2C marketers’ responses, except that event marketing is far less important for B2C (51%).
Businesses Are Social Too
In studying history, one can see countless mistakes made by governments and businesses when they forget to view citizens and employees as human beings. In social media marketing it’s important to remember that other businesses are comprised of real people who behave socially (online and offline).
As demonstrated by this year’s industry report, many B2B marketers have found ways to connect with their audiences. How is it going for you?
What do you think? Please share your experiences and questions in the box below.
Wondering if you should focus on Google+ or Pinterest?
In our fourth annual social media study, more than 3800 marketers reveal where they focus their social media activities, how much time they invest and what the rewards are.
Here’s a Preview
Watch this quick video overview:
To understand how marketers are using social media, Social Media Examiner conducted its fourth annual 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
We set out to uncover the “who, what, where, when and why” of social media marketing with this report.
A significant 3800 marketers provided valuable insight you won’t find elsewhere.
In this free report, you’ll discover:
- What social networks marketers will focus on in the future
- The top 10 social media questions marketers want answered
- How much time marketers invest with social media activities
- The top benefits of social media marketing and how time invested affects results
- The most used social media tools and services
- Activities social media marketers are outsourcing
- And much more!
If you’re responsible for marketing your business, you’ll want to closely analyze the pages of this free 42-page report and use it to persuade others.
This report is free and available for immediate download until April 19.
Remember, the nature of social media is to “share,” so if you like the report, please let your peers know about it.
NOTE: Having trouble downloading? The file is large and may not display properly in some browsers. Try following the directions below (note that the words in the menus may vary by browser):
Michael can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you think about these findings? Please share your comments in the box below.