Two-thirds of the world’s Internet population visit social networking or blogging sites, accounting for almost 10% of all Internet time.
Across the globe in 2008, activity in ‘Member Communities’ accounted for one in every 15 online minutes – now it accounts for one in every 11. In Brazil the average is one of every four minutes and in UK it’s one in every six minutes.
An overwhelming majority (88%) of marketers in a recent survey say they are now using some form of social media to market their business, though 72% of those using it say they have only been at it a few months or less, according to a social media study by Michael Stelzner, sponsored by the Social Media Success Summit 2009.
The study, which set out to understand how and why marketers are using social media to grow and promote their businesses, found that Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn and Facebook – in that order – are the top four social media tools used by marketers.
In addition, business owners are more likely to use social media marketing (90+%) than employees working for a company that is not their own (81%), and respondents ages 30-39 are most likely to use social media marketing (92.8%), the study found.
Those surveyed reported the following benefits:
81% said social media marketing generated exposure for their business
61% said it increased their traffic/subscribers/opt-in list
56% said it resulted in new business partnerships
52% said it helped their company rise in search rankings
48% said it generated qualified leads
45% said it reduced their overall marketing expenses
35% said it helped close a business deal
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of marketers are using social media for five hours or more each week, with 39% using it 10 or more hours weekly and 9.6% spending more than 20 hours each week with social media.
MarketingSherpa’s Social Media Marketing and PR Benchmark Survey 2008 reported that 48% of companies said they would be increasing marketing budgets for social media and e-mail marketing programs.
More than 90% of companies believe that social media channels are most effective in accomplishing brand building goals, followed closely by goals for attracting Web site visitors.
Forrester Research predicts social media spending will grow faster than spending in other interactive marketing channels. Spending in the U.S. is estimated to increase from $716 million this year to more than $3.1 billion in 2014, a 34% compound annual growth rate.
U.S. marketing spending in mobile marketing is expected to represent the second greatest increase with a 27% compound annual growth rate from $391 million this year to more than $1.2 billion by 2014.
Other categories interactive marketing categories for which Forrester Research reported a compound annual growth rate during 2008-2014 include:
display advertising (predicted increase of 17%),
search marketing (predicted increase of 15%), and
e-mail marketing (predicted increase of 11%).
A survey noted in the Institute for Public Relations found that 73% of respondents believed the emergence of blogs and social media had changed the way their organizations (or their client organizations) communicate. Findings continue to suggest these changes are more prominent in external than internal communications, but numbers are up considerably there also.
Almost all – 93% — of this year’s respondents spent part of their average workdays working with some aspects of blogs and the social media.
Many (85% in 2009 compared with 72% in 2008) believe social media complement traditional news media, and an even higher number (92% in 2009 compared with 89% in 2008) think blogs and social media influence coverage in traditional news media.
Most (88% in 2009 compared with 84% in 2008) believe blogs and social media have made communications more instantaneous because they encourage organizations to respond more quickly to criticism.
Findings also show most (80% this year and 75% last year) expect traditional news media to be honest, tell the truth and be ethical. But fewer than half (41% in 2009 and 44% in 2008) hold these same expectations for blogs and other social media.
About one-third (31%) of the respondents are aware of situations in which an organization’s legal function has impacted how the company manages blog and social media communication.
More companies and organizations are adding social media participation policies to their employee handbooks. Just as confidentiality, intellectual property and code of conduct policies have been established to guide other communications, these are now being adapted and extended into social media.
Australian social media consultant, Laurel Papworth, recently posted several links to such policies and guidelines. Examples include:
• Chartered Institute of Public Relations Social Media Guidelines
• Cisco Systems
• General Motors
• Opera Software
• Sun Microsystems
• Walker Art Center