social clusterSocial media, once the province of teenagers and the PR people who work for celebrities, crossed the chasm some time back and has become so mainstream that your grandmother probably has a Twitter handle. What’s even more interesting is that virtually all your buyers – whether you’re B2C or B2B – are using it as well, often for research into purchasing decisions.

Recently writer Belle Beth Cooper penned a fascinating article for the Buffer blog, “10 Surprising Social Media Statistics That Will Make You Rethink Your Social Strategy,” which also ran on Fast Company.

Her points underscore a key proposition: Social media is extremely dynamic. If you’re using it and doing well, congratulations – but don’t take anything for granted. If you’re using it and not doing so well, perhaps it’s time to go back to the whiteboard. And if you’re not using it – why not? According to Forrester’s newest B2B Social Technographics® numbers, fully 100% of business decision-makers use social media for work purposes.

  • 98% of business decision-makers are Spectators (they read blogs, watch videos, or listen to podcasts)
  • 79% are Joiners (they maintain a profile on social networking sites)
  • 75% are Critics (they comment on blogs and post ratings and reviews)

Business Insider social stats

So there they are. You just have to figure out how to use social to go get ‘em. See if Ms. Cooper’s stats will be helpful:

1. The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55–64 year age bracket.

  • Whoa! This demographic has grown 79% since 2012.
  • For Facebook and Google+, the 45–54 year age bracket is the fastest growing demographic.

All that said, according to Business Insider, Twitter does still skew young overall: 27% of 18 to 29-year-olds in the U.S. use Twitter, compared to only 16% of people in their thirties and forties. And Facebook still leans young, but the 45- to 54-year-old age bracket has seen 45% growth since year-end 2012. Incidentally, in another important measure, among U.S. Internet users, 73% with incomes above $75,000 are on Facebook (compared to 17% who are on Twitter).

Still another surprise: Twitter’s penetration (defined as the number of monthly active tweeting users relative to the number of internet users) is highest (33%) in Saudi Arabia. The U.S. is 8th on this list, at 11%. (Media Bistro/Peersource)

2. 189 million of Facebook’s users are “mobile only”

Your mobile strategy is totally dialed in, yes? And you’re not overloading tiny screens with too many images and too many icons and tiny text? Great!

3. YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18–34 than any cable network

1 billion unique monthly visitors. 6 billion hours of videos are watched every month. (Jeff Bullas) If this is your target age group, and you are not creating and posting videos…you are possibly missing a very important, very active channel.

Speaking of the 18-44 demographic, here’s how they spend their time:

Facebook and mobile statsIDC

4. Every second 2 new members join LinkedIn

According to a Forrester report, 81% of B2B decision-makers use LinkedIn, with 26% using it primarily for business and 48% using it for both personal and business purposes. Of LinkedIn users, 40% participate in vendor-affiliated groups, nearly double the 22% that participate in non-brand affiliated groups.

There are three critical pieces to successful marketing on LinkedIn. First, make sure you create a high-quality company page. Second, make content the foundation of your social efforts. Third, participate on LinkedIn on a daily basis.

5. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the web

Two-thirds of online adults use social networking, and almost half use it daily. (Pew Internet & American Life Project September 2012) Your prospective customers are using it to discover new offerings and educate themselves through the buying journey. This makes social media a vital channel to engage with your target audience across, with the end result being greater amplification of your message and more qualified leads generated.

6. LinkedIn has a lower percentage of active users than Pinterest, Google , Twitter and Facebook

But whether that’s important to you or not depends entirely on your business and your customers. Do the research, including surveying your very own best customers, to determine where and how they spend their time, and spend your resources there – wherever that may be.

7. 93% of marketers use social media for business

That means there are going to be plenty of resources for you to get information and help with your own social efforts. Find out who in your industry is getting results; network, attend trade shows, keep your attention focused on people who are solving the problems you’re encountering.

8. 25% of smartphone owners ages 18–44 say they can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them

Smartphones are now a constant in people’s lives. Among smartphone owners age 18-44:

  • 79% have their phone on or near them for all but up to 2 hours of their waking day.
  • 62% reach for their smartphone immediately after waking up, while 79% do so within 15 minutes of waking up.
  • 25% say they can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them.

Across 10 popular applications and smartphone activities, email (78%) is the most popular among smartphone users age 18-44, followed by browsing the Web (73%), and accessing Facebook (70%). (MarketingProfs)

9. Even though 62% of marketers blog or plan to blog in 2013, only 9% of US marketing companies employ a full-time blogger

Gini Dietrich of Social Media Today writes (in a blog) about her company’s blogging history, and how after several failed strategies (including selling quality content) they decided to stop trying to make money on content and begin to drive new clients from the reputation they had built. Writes Gini,Today, 40 percent of our new business has come directly from Spin Sucks (the blog).”

Other companies report blogs delivering on lead generation, but the first caveat is that it’s labor intensive. On the Convince and Convert blog, Jay Baer delivers nine concrete steps to determine blog ROI that are well worth reading, as he delves into how you might determine what it actually costs to deliver a quality product.

10. 25% of Facebook users don’t bother with privacy settings

Yikes! After Wikileaks, after the NSA revelations, during contentious legislative debates, Velocity Digital reports that 25% of Facebook users don’t even look at their privacy settings. You might speculate that it feels to many users like a friendly water cooler environment, or that people are just generally careless. Whatever your conclusions, never forget that the personal information people entrust to a marketer should be protected, and it’s your responsibility to take care of it.

The takeaways

Social is not limited to young people anymore

With business users and the older demographic adopting social, the numbers are bigger and the opportunities are greater. Baby Boomers control 70% of the disposable income in the U.S., making them a desirable market. 100% of B2B decision makers use social. So if you’re not there, in whatever way is appropriate for your company, you are probably gong to lose business to the competitor who does use social media well.

Mobile really matters

And lastly, take mobile seriously. Plan for it and design for it, and make sure you go beyond a mobile-friendly website to ensuring that your email is very readable on mobile. In March 2013, 43 percent of all email was opened on a mobile device, according to Litmus. Desktop opens are moving in the opposite direction.

The most important takeaway of all: Social media is ever-evolving; you need to pay close attention and plan for your social strategy to evolve in response.

Want to learn more about how to use social media for lead generation? Visit the Act-On Center of Excellence and browse our social media section.

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