InSitesConsulting recently released a report of the status of social media in 2012 with more than 2.000 facts & figures about social media in 19 countries. In this blog post, I will guide you through the 5 main conclusions of the report and add some final remarks on what to extract from the findings.The social media landscape is quite stable: The large sites are getting larger and the small ones are getting smaller with the awareness level of Facebook close to 100%. People are not looking to join a new network, but want to stay on their current social platforms and are only prepared to create new accounts for sites, which offer unique functions, such as Pinterest and Instagram. However, users show a very high interest in joining these unique sites in the future. Mobile is the perfect accelerator for social media adoption and usage: 51% of internet users are smartphone owners and social network apps are the most popular ones. Consumers connect and interact with a limited set of brands: Consumers are fond of connecting with brands, and despite the frequent attention on social media storms and crises generated because of negative comments on social media, consumers are more positive than one might think: More than half of the comments concerning brands are positive and less than 10% are negative. Consumers reach out to brands: 80-90% of consumers want to be involved in co-creation, open innovation and structural collaboration with brands they love. All they ask in return is for the brands to give feedback on what they plan to do with the input. Brands are not yet sufficiently receptive to the fact that “Consumers are probably the most effective consultants you can hire.” There is an opportunity for brands to optimise conversation potential with consumers through structural collaboration between consumers and brands to take social media to the next level. Consumers are major fans of market research communities and after Facebook, a research community is the second most preferred platform – consumers want their feedback to have an impact.
See the full SlideShare report here.
The average social media user today has integrated one or two platforms into their everyday lives and has structured this landscape in a way that is not likely to change in the near future. Facebook is still the dominating platform and is therefore also an obvious choice for many brands, as this is the place where their potential and current costumers spend so much time. However, there are some very unique platforms out there such as Instagram and Pinterest . They have a very loyal and passionate user base, which brands shouldn’t ignore. Brands shouldn’t apply Facebook as their only platform merely because this is where most people are – especially not brands with a strong visual identity as well as brands targeting first-movers. They should instead be preparing for an Instagram or Pinterest presence, if they are not already there. It is crucial to pick the social platform that is right for your target group and to have a clearly defined strategy for your social media activities. Whether it’s a single or multi-platform strategy, it is crucial to be absolutely clear about what your purpose is and who your target group is.
Be open to co-creation, and don’t forget that this means a more equal power distribution to the companies and the consumers. Asking consumers for their opinion doesn’t mean that you are obliged to go through with their suggestions. But be transparent and stay in dialogue with the users, and most importantly, give them what they ask for: Feedback about what you do with the info they provide and how you plan to proceed.