5 Trends in Social Media You Can’t Miss

There’s no shortage of social media statistics out there, but they don’t have a very long shelf life. Here are five trends going on right now that you should know about.

  1. 86% of companies plan to spend more money on social media in 2010, while 13% are planning to keep the same level of budget, according to The Social Media and Online PR Report, published by Econsultancy in association with bigmouthmedia. Social media is becoming increasingly important across the business, from hiring to marketing. So which of those groups do you think will have the upper hand a year from now, those who are spending or those who aren’t? Here are a few more findings from the report:
    1. 54% of companies say that the biggest barrier to better social media engagement is a lack of resources.
    2. Only 10% of companies are not engaging in any social media activity whatsoever.
    3. Benefits of social media include increased brand awareness (73%), increased customer engagement (71%), better brand reputation (66%), and increased communication with key influencers (62%).
  2. Social networks drive brand participation among women. According to the SheSpeaks “Annual Social Media Study,” social networking usage climbed from 58% of Internet users in 2008 to 86% in 2009. 80% of female Internet users said they had become a fan of a product or brand on a social network, and 72% had learned about a new product or brand, or joined a group around one. Many companies are successfully engaging the powerful demographic of women consumers, and the web is “swallowing up” print and television as we speak. And unlike print or television, computer users are just one click away from doing whatever you want them to do.
  3. 75% of Japanese social networking is mobile-only, according to a survey conducted last year in Japan by Mobile Marketing Data Labo. And consider this trend among American teenagers: About 4 out of every 5 teens carry a cell phone. The connection here is that people around the world are becoming increasingly dependent on cell phones, and phones themselves are getting more and more advanced. It’s not unrealistic to think that today’s “smartest” smart phone will be a piece of junk compared to the most basic models available a few years down the road, at a fraction of the cost. Brands are already using cell phone marketing to consumers, so it’s only a matter of time before your work cell phone gives you all of the tools you need to do your job (and much more).
  4. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of companies reported responding to tweets, again according to Econsultancy and bigmouthmedia. Businesses that are engaging consumers are turning negative experiences into positive ones, and keeping customers they may have otherwise lost. Social media can bring a concierge-level of service to consumers, and people have shown a willingness to share positive experiences they’ve had with a brand online.
  5. Years to reach 50 millions users: Radio, 38 years; TV, 13 years; Internet, 4 years; iPod, 3 years. Facebook added 100 million users in less than nine months; iPhone applications hit 1 billion in nine months. Okay, maybe disregard the last stat, because it doesn’t count unique visitors (although it’s still interesting). What’s interesting here is that even a 9-year old can post a video on YouTube to a global audience of hundreds of millions of people.

How long these trends last remains to be seen, but social media is opening the doors to engaging consumers and employees in new ways, and the possibilities are endless.

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