Its not ALL about Big Business

Ways in Which Social Networking Is Beneficial to US Small Businesses, November 2009 (% of respondents)

There is nothing new about Social Networking/Media  – people have been doing it for hundreds of years ….talking to people about things that interest them and building communities with common goals are part of our way of life.

But now technology can speed and broaden this reach incredibly. So while social media as we know it today as a way to interact with consumers is a relatively new trend and we are not yet able to accurately measure its effectiveness in a business building tool it certainly is proving very useful to many.

A recent article published by eMarketer, based on “The Small Business Marketing Forecast 2010” by Ad-Olgy, offers several insights on how social media is helping small businesses . The article suggests that lead generation is clearly the top benefit for small businesses in the use social media. Among other responses, keeping up with the businesses’ respective industries and monitoring what is said about their businesses are also considered benefits of utilising social networks.

The report also found that small businesses consider Facebook (and I suspect thats mainly use of FanPages) to be the most-beneficial social networking site, with one-third of respondents saying Facebook was “at least somewhat beneficial.” My favorite Social network and the No 1 Professional networking site LinkedIn is considered the second-most beneficial platform among businesses, ranking ahead of MySpace and Twitter.

The report also highlights  some of the obstacles small businesses face in maximising the benefits of social media. Most of the respondents feel they lack the knowledge of the social media space and wish they could better understand the space. Others claim they do not have the time or the resources necessary to manage social marketing. Certainly time, trust and resources are the major obstacles I hear about when talking to people every day about getting started.

With the rapid adoption of social networks in everyday life, there is no better time than now to get going irrespective of the size and nature of a business.  Having a social media presence not only allows you access to a very cost effective way to get your message to many more consumers, but it also allows you to interact with consumers and monitor your brand online.

With social marketing experiencing continued growth and the associated benefits to business growing at a great rate we are moving to ensure we can help our clients and prospects overcome the mystery.

We have just developed our simple Grumpy Old Managers Social Media To Do and Not To Do list and will later this month begin to rollout a range of services aimed at giving businesses of all shapes and sizes the opportunity to get into the Game of Being Found on the Net as soon and as effectively as possible

Our approach which I will expand on in future posts aims to help all business  target and connect with  customers across multiple channels.

Want Proof? ROI? its in the numbers…

Social media is an ever increasing hot topic of the digital world and I often get asked about the various statistics involved. This in itself is fairly difficult, as the online sphere is constantly shifting, evolving and growing at an amazing rate. But I put together some stats for a recent speaking engagement with a focus on Australia…. they are interesting (and hopefully useful) facts and figures…..

But if you dont wont to wade through the numbers and need to be convinced … just watch the latest video from Socialonmics above.

Bear in mind that given these are figures from July a lot of it is likely to be obsolete –  but it is indicative, I think they’re a great way of demonstrating the impact that social media is having in the marketing, sales and client service landscape.

YouTube

* If YouTube were a country, it would be the third most-populated place in the world.

* 20 hours-worth of video is uploaded to the site every single minute.

* comScore recently announced that the site had surpassed 100m viewers in the USA alone. They also reported that this US audience consumed over 6bn videos at the beginning of this year.

* According to Youtube themselves, over half of users visit the site at least once a week

Facebook

According to Facebook’s internal statistics:

* The site has more than 250m active users globally (now November 09 – 300 mill)

* More than 120m users log on to Facebook at least once each day and more than 30 million users update their statuses at least once each day. Combined, more than 5bn minutes are spent on the site on a daily basis.

* The average user has around 120 friends on the site.

* Every single month, more than a billion photos are uploaded to the site.

* More than 50 translations are available on the site, with more than 40 in development.

* Mobile is a big issue, with more than 30m active users accessing the site through mobile devices. It’s well documented that users who access Facebook through mobile devices are almost 50% more active than those who don’t.

MySpace

* Although now overtaken by Facebook, MySpace is the second largest social network, experiencing in excess of 60m unique users each month.

* MySpace apparently reaches 30% of UK adults aged 15-24 – it’s been suggested that its as common to have a MySpace account in the UK as it is to own a dog.

  • According to Knol, MySpace has more than 115m active monthly users globally with, on average, 300,000 new people signing up to the site every day.

Twitter

* Over the past twelve months, Twitter’s year-on-year growth rate has broken the 1000% barrier.

* The company holds exact numbers close to their chest, but it’s estimated that Twitter currently has between 6 – 10m global users and this is growing rapidly.

* According to a recent report on Twitter usage by Sysomos, 5% of Twitter users account for 75% of all activity and that 72.5% of all users joining during the first five months of 2009.

* The same report found that over 50% of all updates are published using mobile and Web-based tools, other than Twitter.com’s own website.

* It also found that Tuesday is the most active day for Tweeting, followed by Wednesday and then Friday.

* Hitwise recently reported that one out of every 350 website visits in the UK is via Twitter, but barely 5% of users currently go to an online retail service through the medium.

* Not really a stat, but still quite a cool piece of info: Twitter is now officially a term in the English Dictionary.

Other General Stats

* Social networks and blogs are the 4th most popular online activities online, including beating personal email. 67% of global users visit member communities and 10% of all time spent on the internet is on social media sites.

* If Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth most populated place in the world. This means it easily beats the likes of Brazil, Russia and Japan in terms of size.*

* 80% of companies use, (or are planning to use), LinkedIn as their primary tool to find employees during the course of this year. The site has just celebrated reaching its 45-millionth membership.

* Around 64% of marketers are using social media for 5 hours or more each week during campaigns, with 39% using it for 10 or more hours per week.

* It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million listeners. Terrestrial TV took 13 years to reach 50 million users. The internet took four years to reach 50 million people… In less than nine months, Facebook added 100 million users.

* Wikipedia currently has more than 13 million articles in more than 260 different languages. The site attracts over 60 million unique users a month and it’s often hotly debated that the information it contains is more reliable than any printed Encyclopaedia.

* The most recent figure of blogs being indexed by Technorati currently stands at 133 million. The same report into the Blogosphere also revealed that on average, 900,000 blog posts are created within a single 24-hour period.

* It’s been suggested that YouTube is likely to serve over 75 billion video streams to around 375 million unique visitors during this year.

* The top three people on Twitter (Ashton Kutcher, Ellen DeGeneres and Britney Spears) have more combined followers than the entire population of Austria.*

* According to Socialnomics, if you were paid $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia, you would earn $156.23 per hour.

* The online bookmarking service, Delicious, has more than five million users and over 150 million unique bookmarked URLs.

* Since April this year, Twitter has been receiving around 20 million unique visitors to the site each month, according to some analytical sources.

* Formed in 2004, Flickr now hosts more than 3.6 billion user images.

* Universal McCann reports that 77% of all active internet users regularly read blogs.

Here are So9me Up to Date and Local Australia figures

At yesterday’s Digital Marketing and Media Summit in Melbourne there was a session by Mark Higginson, Director of Analytics at Nielsen Online.

Mark shared some interesting new research from Nielsen Online today about Facebook and social media usage here in Australia:

* 8 hours/month:  Australians spend on average 8 hours/month on Facebook

* 29% = Facebook: Nearly 30 percent of all time online in Australia is spent on Facebook

* Australia Leads: Australians spend more time on average per month using social media (any social media site, not just Facebook) than any other country (7:12 hours/month per Australian on average)

* 8 million Aussies: the current number of facebook.com users is 8 million Australians/month

* 13.7 million overall: there are 13.7 million active monthly Internet users in Australia

I think these statistics are remarkable because they show that Australians are doing more than checking out sites like Facebook and Twitter, setting up an account, and then abandoning the sites after a short amount of time. That’s a common refrain of non-believers out there. We Australians are, as Mark correctly observed, addicted

LinkedIN

50 million members worldwide

Average age 41

60/40 Male/Female

Average salary $109,000

Representing 200 professions in 120 countries

Highly self regulated … all white collar professionals

In  Australia membership approaching 1 million

In South Australia  around 30,000 growing at close to 1,000 per week

Just appointed their first employee in Aust – the ex Aust CEO of Yahoo Aust!!

… and released new features to integrate with Outlook and Twitter

The Death of Email (as we know it)

email

email tipsemail tips

Some months ago I was predicting the death on Email and Websites with the growth of Social Networks/Media.  But as was pointed out what I was predicting was the death of those tools as we have known them.

I have been using email for over 25 years – prior to the Internet (as we know it) so feel well positioned to comment there.  It was a great tool when it was just on what we now know as an intranet.  I was working for Dun and Bradstreet Software (the then biggest business software company in the world – it was very pre SAP) and the email network was based on our world-wide IBM mainframe based system, so I could communicate directly with anyone in the company anywhere in the world.

So whats changed – well now I can communicate with anyone anywhere in the world (if I know their address) but apart from that the basics of email are still pretty much the same.

If you dont believe email (as we know it) and we are about to move to a new and smarter form of email then ask anyone under 20 if they use email.  The answer will almost certainly be NO.

They do but they just dont recognise it ….   They use Facebook, Myspace etc as an all-encompassing communications system with their world and only their world.  A bit like out old mainframe system – if they are in the address book we can reach them if they are nt we cant.

So they use a combination of email with integrated address book and broadcast tools (The Wall in Facebook) and then meet others in Groups.

All pretty sensible really – a close environment that keeps the spammers out ….  that means you can publish all those jokes and funny videos that clog up my email every day in a place where I can come and look if I am interested.

So those Grumpy Old Managers who are banning Facebook while they sit in their offices reading their mates’ joke emails need to take the blinkers off and look at where Social Networking is taking email (as we know it) and understand its potential for their business. Incidentally these were probably the same GOM’s that banned email (until their mates told them they could send great jokes), mobile phones (until their mates told them they could send great jokes using text messages) and spreadsheets (until their accountant told them they were useful!!) when they first became available!!!

Recently I had a colleague ask me to distribute an invite to my contacts about an online seminar he was arranging with Joe Abram (of MySpace fame) to my contacts .  He said so that he could track which of my invitees “attended” I should cc him in on all the emails.

When I told him I would contact most of my colleagues using LinkedIn he was at a loss to come up with an idea to replace his cc plan!!

So what I need now to replace email (as we know it) is LinkedIn with some of the features of FaceBook or perhaps FaceBook without all the crap!!

Tomorrow I will give my thoughts on the death of Websites (as we know them) but in the meantime read Shel Holz latest Blog Deathwatch: Static Destination Websites as this will form the basis of much of my opinion!

I have to agree with Shel its not the death of a tool but perhaps the end of an era.  And st the end of the day its about the content not the tool anyway!

Vitaminwater Gets Facebookers Brainstorming on a New Flavor

Vitaminwater ventured into the world of crowdsourcing Tuesday with the launch of a new a Facebook application in which users compete to create the energy drink’s newest flavor, even down to the bottle design, to the tune of a $5,000 prize.

Vitamin Water's New Facebook App
Vitamin Water's New Facebook App

The new “flavor creator” app features a cartoon of a lab-coat-clad woman who instructs users to vote on their favorite flavor or combination of flavors, based on the most buzz-worthy results culled from online sources like Google News and the food photography blog Foodgawker. Ginger, for example, takes the top slot for generating buzz online.

Users can play games and take quizzes about their fitness levels to determine which kinds of vitamins and minerals should be part of their new concoction, and can also team up with other Facebookers to design a bottle for the new drink. “We’re basically handing over the control and the lab coat to our fans,” said Eric Berniker, a senior vice president of marketing for Vitaminwater. “It’s one of the hottest brands with youth, and of course, Facebook is a great way to connect with them.”

The winning flavor will be selected by country singer Carrie Underwood and rapper 50 Cent, and will hit store shelves in March of 2010. The rapper, also an investor in Vitaminwater, has already co-created his own grape flavor, “Formula 50,” and allegedly raked in some $400 million when Coca-Cola acquired Vitaminwater’s parent company, Glaceau, for $4.1 billion in 2007.

Vitaminwater is far from the first brand to seek online fan participation. The online T-shirt company Threadless paved the way for companies to benefit from the idea of consumer-as-designer, scoring big with its crowdsourcing business model of rewarding the top user-submitted T-shirt designs.

And this isn’t the first time Vitaminwater has used a social-networking presence to gain fans. It launched its Facebook page in February and has more than 400,000 fans. During the NCAA basketball tournament in March, it devoted television airtime to plugging the page. In May, Vitaminwater worked with MySpace Music to offer a free song download with the purchase of a bottle of its new Sync flavor.

The Vitaminwater line markets itself to health-conscious consumers, with its emphasis on vitamin and mineral combinations for specific benefits like “focus” and “endurance.” Earlier this year, the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a class-action lawsuit against Coca-Cola on the grounds that Vitaminwater made deceptive claims about the drink’s health benefits.