There are many statistics floating around about social media, and at any time they change to reflect the evolution of the social media space which is as fluid as our culture. However, for those of us paying attention, it’s become clear that social media has become a foundation in the way businesses and brands connect and communication with consumers. Here are some of the most relevant stats from 2012 that reflect how crucial social media for brands.

1. Facebook is the most visited website (of all websites)
This might not shock you, but think about the repercussions for your brand NOT being on Facebook. True, four years ago, Facebook didn’t even rank in the top 10, but now it is the Big Daddy of all social media platforms and the most used and visited. 74% of consumers cited relying on social media to make purchasing decisions, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Facebook was a big part of that.

2. Facebook shares have the greatest influence on Google search rankings in the U.S. followed by backlinks.
For businesses that have just gotten the hang of the concept of SEO and how to use that in their digital marketing, this probably just blew your mind. But this is another growth of social media, it does have an effect on your search rankings. Answer, if you want to optimize your SEO, have compelling and dynamic content on social media to support your brand.

3. 53% of people recommend companies and products on Twitter.
If that many people are recommending your company or products, your company should have a presence to be a part of the conversation.

4. There are 800 million active users on YouTube that spend an average of 15 minutes/day on YouTube
We’re watching videos, why not your videos. Although the most watched video in 2012 was Gangnam Style, the viral video Harlem Shake took the video world by storm early this year, with multiple brand and businesses participating (including Google and Facebook employees). Be a part of the modern web culture.

5. The average consumer mentions brands 90 times/week with family, friends and co-workers.
You’re much more likely to be mentioned if you are part of the conversation and build relationships with your brand advocates.

6. There are 5 million images uploaded to Instagram every day
Although this is a fairly new platform, it’s integration with Facebook makes it a hip and “now” social media platform perfect for sharing photos and the insider’s scoop of the goings on behind your brand.

7. The average user spends 89 minutes/month on Pinterest
Almost an hour and a half a month, that’s a lot of likes and repins. Have your brand represented to be a part of the community.

8. 56% of people check Facebook daily
Over half of Facebook’s users check it daily, meaning your content should be daily as well to reach the maximum number of people. Don’t overdo, but make sure your content is valuable and consistently fresh to keep consumers coming back to engage with your page’s content.

9. There are 9,100 tweets sent every second
That’s a ton of tweets. It may seem chaotic, but there are a lot of conversations to be had if you know where to look. Follow relevant users and thought leaders in your networks and start conversations with them and build relationships by responding to tweets, RT’s and favorites.

10. 64% of Twitter users and 51% of Facebook users are more likely to buy the products of brands they follow online
Building your online following is essential to extending the e-commerce efforts of your brand online. Users are much more likely to respond and buy brands that make them feel special.

11. The Google +1 button is used 5 billion times per day.
Google+ is the third most active social media platform, though it is often ignored by brands and dismissed by not having a “cool” factor like Facebook. Don’t miss out, this platform is easy to use and can drive a substantial amount of traffic with the power of Google search.

12. 83% Of Pinterest Users are women, the most popular categories include clothes, crafts, and food.
Think about your demographic, if your targets include women, food, crafts or fashion, Pinterest is for you. Pinterest can also be a major traffic driver and congregate of hobby-specific communities including design, photography, and other visually appealing hobbies.

13. The average user spends 21 minutes/week on LinkedIn
Get connected. If you want to bring more talent and leads to your business, be active on LinkedIn, start and participate in relevant groups and optimize your profile.

14. WordPress is the highest ranked blogging platform on Google including Blogger and Tumblr
Blogging is one of the most important drivers of traffic and foundations of SEO. Think about how a blog (and a WordPress blog specifically) can help your business or brand.

15. 50% of shoppers have made a purchase based on a recommendation through a social media network
I’ve done it and I know all the tricks, but this is a huge number for brands to take note of. Your participation, communication and presence affect SALES. Make it count.

So if after all of this, your brand still isn’t using social media, it’s time to start considering how not using social media can be hurting your brand in the long run.

Find any of these stats especially interesting? Tweet me at @ErinSRichards and share your thoughts!