Collectively social media has an astronomical level of power and influence. Since its inception social media has grown in leaps and bounds. Born from humble origins, merely as a tool to allow users to stay in touch with each other, over time social media has spawned into a global institution, allowing whole communities, businesses and individuals to engage with each other. Simply put social media is the superlative form of interaction available today. The reasons for this are threefold. Firstly social media is the fastest form of communication. Secondarily social media is the easiest way to send, share and receive information or content. Finally social media is an explosive hot bed, from which stem current cultural trends and increasingly groundbreaking news. What also makes social media so influential is the fact that it is both free and that anyone can sign up for membership. Social media sites have massive memberships. Facebook alone has an active membership of over one billion users. The massive population of social media, which is continuing to grow, proves that social media is not merely a phase that will be culturally outgrown. No, social media is certainly here to stay! It’s not just individuals who have made use of social media: small, local businesses and huge, transnational corporations have all made use of social media as part of their marketing strategies. The reason why social media is such an asset to businesses is not just that it offers free marketing and advertising; it’s far more than that. Social media allows businesses for the first time to interact and engage directly with their customers, forming honest and sincere conversations, in an informal environment. Social media is in fact an extremely valuable asset. A recent study revealed that 64% of Twitter users are more likely to buy products from businesses that they follow on the platform. Here are the Factors which make social media so influential: The colossal level of membership Social media platforms are immensely popular and have absolutely colossal followings which continue to grow month on month: Facebook: 1.19 billion active users (10/30/13) YouTube: 1 billion active users (3/20/13) Google+: 343 million active users (1/26/13) Twitter: 215 million active users (10/3/13) LinkedIn: 259 million active users (10/29/13) Flickr: 87 million active users (3/20/13) Pinterest: 70 million active users (7/10/13) It’s an excellent asset for businesses More and more businesses are making use of social media as a tool to connect and engage directly with their clients and customers: 65% of small or local businesses stated that social media helped them keep connected with their customers. 50% of Facebook users under 35 were reported to follow online recommendations for products or businesses made by friends. 51% of Facebook users and 64% of Twitter users are more likely to purchase products and make use of services from business they follow on the platforms. Percentages of which platforms businesses use 78% make use of Twitter 75% make use of Facebook 30% make use of LinkedIn 28% make use of Wordpress 13% make use of Flickr 11% make use of Tumblr Social media influences the lives of its user offline When directly compared with the internet, social media has a far greater effect on its users. Statistically social media users are: 75% more likely to spend their money on music 47% more likely to spend their money on clothing, shoes or related accessories 45% more likely to go on a date 44% more likely to provide personal opinions on televised programs or films 29% more likely to provide their personal opinion on politics or current events 19% more likely to attend a professional sporting event 18% more likely to make efforts to exercise, through working out at either a gym or a health club To get the most out of social media, embrace its omnipotence to the entirety, utilise it to its full potential as a tool to build and enhance yourself, your business or your cause.
Susan Dolan is a Google & Social Media expert from the UK. She had the privilege of living and working in Seattle in 1999 where she witnessed the explosion of the World Wide Web and the birth of Google literally from the start. Over the years she's provided a variety of services specialising in SEO and Social Media and now educates others speaking at numerous educational seminars. You can follow Susan on Twitter (@GoogleExpertUK) or visit her site at www.seowebmarketing.co.uk.