Social media fact: Everyone is doing it

In What social media can do for your business I wrote “Social media is no longer a gimmick or cool toy for geeks.  It’s an established platform that can advance multiple phases of your business, including marketing, sales, customer service, and recruiting”.  Still not sure?

One of the top fears of businesses is that few people are actually using social media.  This is a prudent approach.  When you’re short of money and resources, you can’t afford expensive risks.  It doesn’t pay to be on the bleeding edge.

One example is the rise of  the Internet.  In 1995 the Net exploded.  By 2000 it was clear it was real but the business case for many companies was still murky.  Another five years later the market finally caught up.  Web sites and Internet marketing became a standard part of the business toolkit.

Social media is undergoing a similar transition.  It’s a trend that’s been growing for several years.  Today it’s no longer hype but a fact.  It’s where your customers are.  Maybe “everyone” isn’t quite interacting online, but over half of US Internet users, more than 100 million people, certainly are.

According to Trendstream and Lightspeed Research:

  • 92 million (44%) have a social network profile on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere
  • 79 million (43%) upload photos to Flickr and other services
  • 23 million (15%) upload video such as to YouTube
  • 18 million (13%) write a blog just like this
  • 11 milion (7%) use a separate microblog like Twitter

Your competitors know this.  Already 18% of small businesses have active social media marketing programs, according to Vistaprint and Hawk Partners.  Another 14% plan to start within the next year, for a total of 32%.

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