Social Media and Small Business Use in the US Infographic

Further to my post about small business use of social media in the US back in December 2010, here’s a more up to date infographic for the US.

What seems to come across most strongly is that small businesses realise they need to be on social media if they want to reach potential customers but most are not willing to spend any money on it, preferring to rely on traditional and more expensive methods. Social media is seen as the poor relation, an inexpensive method of marketing that requires little effort.

And that’s why so many of them are doing it wrong, relying on wall posts to persuade people to buy from them, rather than offering discounts and coupons. The latter has been clearly shown to be the driver when it comes to successfully connecting with new and existing customers on social media.

The advent of smartphones and the explosion of mobile marketing is going to make that even more telling.

How small businesses use social media - infographic
via: Intuit Websites

New Google+ Design: This Week in Social Media

social media researchWelcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in social media news. To help you stay up-to-date with social media, here are some of the news items that caught our attention.

What’s New This Week?

Google+ Introduces a New Look and New Navigation: There’s a new Google+ interface. These design changes add more white space, make Google+ easier to use and pave the way for future updates.

LinkedIn Introduces Targeted Updates From Company Pages: LinkedIn is progressively rolling out a couple of new features for LinkedIn company pages:  Targeted Updates and Follower Statistics.  You will soon have the ability to send targeted updates from your LinkedIn Company Page as shown in the video below. Note that Company Pages will also have a new tab for Follower Statistics.

YouTube Live Gets Real-Time Analytics and Paid Live Events: On the one-year anniversary of the launch of YouTube Live, users get real-time analytics and the option to create paid live events. “You can now monetize your live events with advertising or paid options. A live event can be claimed in the new video manager like any other video and monetized with instream ads or paid options where you can set price by country.”

youtube live paid events

Check out the new options to monetize live events on YouTube.

Pinterest Introduces Board Covers: Users can choose covers for their Pinterest boards.

Pinterest Users Now Also Share Vimeo Videos: The Pin It bookmarklet can now pin Vimeo videos in addition to YouTube.

Here are a couple of social media tools worth noting:

myCurrent: A free desktop application that unobtrusively streams Facebook and Twitter updates in a format similar to a stock ticker on your screen.


myCurrent makes it easier to multitask, connect socially and still be productive all from one location, and brings the information to you.

Rankable: A Twitter tool to rate anything you want out of 10 by entering it as a hashtag and using the Rankable hashtag.


Rankable is about crowdsourcing info, ideas and opinions.

Here’s an interesting infographic:

Instagram infographic: Learn more about Instagram’s brief but explosive history, from its conception to its recent $1B purchase by Facebook.

instagram infographic

Track Instagram’s brief but explosive history.

And don’t miss this:

Social Media Examiner presents Social Media Success Summit 2012! (online conference)

The 50% off sale ends Thursday.

Join 27 social media experts at Social Media Examiner’s big online conference! Go here to learn more.

What social media news caught your interest this week? Please share your comments below.

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Study Shows Moms are Mostly Likely To. . .

Mother’s Day may be a month away but I suggest you take a moment right now to pay homage to those women who gave birth to the next generation. They’re not only important for the survival of the human race, but they’re a major force in social media marketing.

According to a new study by Performics, moms are significantly more likely to visit social media sites regularly, trust what they read there about their favorite brands, and make a purchase based on social media recommendations.

Purchase recommendations are especially important in the areas of cars, clothes and travel.

Once a mom latches on to a brand or company she likes, she is more likely to become a brand ambassador and that’s money in the bank.

Says Performics, these “mombassadors” are more likely than other women to:

  •     Recommend companies/brands via social sites (34%)
  •     Discuss companies/brands on social sites after seeing an ad elsewhere (48%)
  •     Talk about companies/brands they follow on Facebook (24%)
  •     Link to a company/brand ad (23%)
  •     Post a company/brand ad (53%)
  •     Post interesting or relevant content about a company/brand (50%)

But don’t think this means moms are push-overs. More moms believe that their voice can make a difference (65% vs 56%) and that can work for you or against you. If they think you’re being deceptive or disrespectful, you and everyone else on the internet will get an earful so it’s always nice to have a few “test” moms on your side before running with a new campaign.

Check out this snip from Performics’ Social Media Moms Infographic:

Smartphones are part of the busy mom arsenal. The more they can do on their phone, the more time they have for themselves and their families. That’s why it’s imperative that you offer them time-saving widgets that tie in to your company. It doesn’t have to be a one-to-one correlation. A branded party-planning widget from a local bakery is better than a widget that just allows them to order cakes by phone.

Can’t figure out how to approach mobile? Ask your mom-customers what would make their life easier. They’ll be happy to tell you, especially if you give them a discount in return for their valuable insight.

Want more information? Performics has build a nifty, online slide-show featuring all of the results from their Mom-tastic survey.

Worldwide Social Media Usage Trends in 2012

globe-purpleThere’s absolutely no doubt that social networks continue to play an increasingly important part in many people’s lives. EMarketer predicts there will be a massive 1.43 billion social network users in 2012, representing a 19.2 percent increase over 2011 figures.

At some point we’re bound to reach a social media saturation point, but it doesn’t look like that point will arrive any time soon.

Social media usage varies from place to place and from one demographic to the next. A Pew Internet survey found that 65 percent of Internet users in the U.S. used social networking sites, up from 61 percent the previous year. Sixty-one percent of adults under 30 reported that they used a social networking site at least once on a typical day while daily usage among Internet users aged between 50-64 rose sharply, from 20 percent in 2010 to 32 percent last year.

“The graying of social networking sites continues, but the oldest users are still far less likely to be making regular use of these tools,” said Senior Research Specialist and report co-author Mary Madden. “While seniors are testing the waters, many Baby Boomers are beginning to make a trip to the social media pool part of their daily routine.”

Alongside personal usage, more businesses are taking advantage of the benefits social media sites can offer.

A joint study by global management consulting firm Booz Company and Buddy Media found that 96 percent of companies surveyed would be increasing their investments in social media. Advertising and promotions, PR, and customer services were listed as the main uses or benefits but other uses such as market research and recruitment were reported. (Also see “The 5 Ws of Social Media Marketing: Industry Survey Insights [Study]” for more social media marketing trends from Social Media Examiner.)

Facebook: “The Social Network”

The inexorable rise of social media might be an indisputable fact but it can be easier to track social media trends than predict them. It’s not that long ago, after all, that MySpace was not only the most popular social networking site worldwide but also, according to Hitwise, the single most visited site in the U.S., even beating the behemoth that is Google into second place.

These days it is Facebook that, as the 2010 movie title suggests, is the social network. The site overtook MySpace on Alexa’s listings in 2008 and hasn’t looked back since.

Facebook boasts more than 845 million active users and a 2011 comScore report revealed there were only seven countries worldwide in which Facebook did not rule the roost. That figure tumbled to six in December however, when Facebook overtook Orkut as the leading social networking destination in the vast and still emerging Brazilian market.

“Despite the cultural affinity for social media, Facebook adoption had traditionally lagged in the market,” said Alex Banks, comScore managing director for Brazil “That has all changed in the past year, during which the site has tripled in audience size as engagement has grown sevenfold to assume the leadership position in the market.”

At least part of the secret of Facebook’s success is the fact that it manages to present itself as both a global and local service. Users know that it has a true global presence, potentially linking them to other users all over the world. At the same time, localized language settings and content allow the site to be seen as a number of interlinked local communities.

Local Differences

One rather large gap in Facebook’s global domination comes in the shape of China. The site is officially banned in China but local sites are massive within the market.

An eMarketer report lists TencentQZone at the front of the pack in China, while TencentWeibo, SinaWeibo, and Renren also have significant market shares. With the Internet itself not expected to reach a majority of China’s vast population until 2015, Qzone may even be able to overhaul Facebook’s active user figures without having to expand very much outside Chinese borders.

Elsewhere, Russia is dominated by Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki, sites that are also quickly expanding into other Eastern European countries.

Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Poland were the other countries listed by comScore as the territories where Facebook doesn’t command the greatest market share but even in its own back yard, Facebook shouldn’t rest on its laurels.

While still lagging behind considerably in terms of total users, Twitter’s U.S. growth is predicted to be four times greater than Facebook’s over the next couple of years. We’ve yet to really see how Google+ will fare and niche sites like the business-oriented LinkedIn continue to grow within their own remits. Plus, Pinterest is growing fast.

Right now Facebook is sitting pretty. Social media trends can change with alarming rapidity however and, as the spectacular decline of MySpace demonstrated, none of the major players can afford to take anything for granted.

SES Toronto 2012 is June 11-13. Register before May 11 and save up to $300!

72% of Adults Are Local News Enthusiasts [STUDY]

News stands - How Americans Read Local NewsSocial media connectivity and the digitization of news have not squashed American fervor for local news, a Pew study says. Nearly three quarters of adults are consistently plugged into local news — so much so that 32% of survey participants say the loss of local outlets would majorly impact their lives.

A recently published Pew Internet American Life Project report finds most Americans continue to follow local news. The reliance on local news is consistent in all age groups, though stronger among those who are 40+, and among female consumers.

The younger population, 18 to 39 years old, use the greatest number of local news sources — an average of 4.38 weekly. Older local news followers say they use about two to three different sources a week.

SEE ALSO: Upworthy Aims to Make the News as Shareable as Cat Videos [EXCLUSIVE]

About 80% of adults older than 40 get their news from television broadcasts. Nearly half of the adults surveyed say they regularly use “word of mouth,” the radio and regional newspaper. Besides reading and chatting about their communities, people also stay in-the-know using mobile phones and tablets.

Younger local news enthusiasts, surprisingly also use “word of mouth” to find out about area news and highlights. The connected generation more likely uses Internet news sources including search engines, local newspaper websites, T.V. station websites and social networks.

Individuals who care about local news are characterized as being very connected in their communities. Many have strong roots in their locales; about 32% of the local news consumers surveyed have lived in their community for more than 20 years.

Local news consumers are fans of news in general. About 63%, six in 10 local news consumers, also follow international news consistently, while 78% say they consume national news consistently. One-third of local news enthusiasts say they get everything that need from regional media.

The Pew report suggests local news is not going anywhere yet. Enthusiasts are generationally diverse, using many news sources to learn about their local communities. Americans are turning to local outlets both online and print — though less and less — for news that would affect them including breaking news, politics, crime, business, schools and education.

What role does local news play in your live? Where do you get information about where you live — online or in print? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, acousticskyy