5 Key Social Media Findings That Affect Your Business

A new Nielsen report reveals surprising findings on social media usage in 2011.
September 27, 2011

The Nielsen group recently came out with a fantastic report on social media usage in 2011, and the findings were a bit surprising. Sure, there were a few no-brainers like “U.S. Internet users spend more time on Facebook more than any other site,” but buried in the report were some interesting nuggets that may have a major impact on your business. These are five of the most interesting facts the study uncovered about how we use social networks.

1. Americans spend most of their time online on social network and blogs

We all knew that Americans spent a lot of time on Facebook, but to put this into perspective, we only spend about 7.6 percent of our time checking e-mail. We spend almost three times (23 percent) more time on blogs and social networks than checking e-mail.

The report also shows that four out of five active American Internet users visit social networks and blogs, and blogs and social networks are used by over three quarters of active Internet users (across 10 major global markets).

There are a couple key takeaways from this.

  • If you're not building up profiles on social networks for your small business, you're already behind.
  • Successful online businesses or destinations have blogs. They're great for communication, evergreen content and even search engine optimization. People haven't stopped reading blogs like some might like you to believe.

2. Seventy percent of active online adult social networkers shop online

If an adult is on a social network, odds are she is somewhat computer savvy. She'll spend more time online than the "average Internet user," doing things like checking e-mail, reading news sites and blogs, chatting and shopping.

If I was marketing a product, I'd make certain that I was marketing it on social networks. You have to sell where your buyers are, and a lot of them are on social networks.

3. Fifty-three percent of active adult social networkers follow a brand—only 32 percent follow a celebrity

Most people still subscribe to the myth that Twitter and Facebook are only for teens to follow celebrities talking about the daily activities of their cats. Not true. The people who likely will be buying your products, (or are at least old enough to have a credit card), are looking for your brand on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Adults have made it clear that they want to follow brands across social networks.

4. Sixty percent of social media users create reviews of products or services

Consumers on social media rely on the recommendations of their friends or peers. They're also more likely to write reviews of your product or service. Active social media users greatly influence the shopping habits of their friends. It's not a question of are they talking about your brand. They're talking about you. The question is: How are they talking about your products? Are you listening? Are you communicating with them?

5. The number of mobile Internet users is up 47 percent from last year

Is your site optimized for mobile? Mobile usage is exploding across social networks. Here are a few more interesting facts from the study:

  • Twice as many people aged 55+ visit social networking sites on their mobile phone than did last year.
  • Mobile Internet audience for social networking sites is up 62 percent since last year.
  • Two in five social media users access these services from their mobile phones.

Mobile usage is real, and it could greatly help or hurt your online business. Consider this: As people write reviews and discuss your product on social networking sites, their friends and followers read and click through to your product. From there, the mobile experience on your site could encourage people to buy your product, or quickly send them away.

Key takeaways

What exactly does this mean for your business?

If your business doesn't have a strong presence in social media or blogging, start today

Don't wait. You're missing out on connections with customers, brand satisfaction, and more sales. People are talking about your brand. Make sure you're there to respond.

Mobile usage across key age groups is exploding

If you don't have a mobile site of some sort, you need to build one. Loading traditional Web pages from the phone takes much longer, and those who want to buy on the phone want instant gratification. Create a fast and simple experience that allows mobile users to learn more about your product and buy right from their phones.