You don’t need to look very hard to find proof of the ever-growing influence of social media in all aspects of our private and professional lives these days. Social media has the power to control and dictate our behavior in so many ways – from the way we shop online, to the way we vote in a presidential election.
The amazing influence of social media is particularly evident in the world of social media marketing. Between 2015-2016, social media marketing expenditure in the US increased by a staggering $2.25 billion dollars.
And that’s not all – projected data shows that the annual amount spent on social media marketing in the US will reach $13.51 billion in 2017, $15.36 in 2018, and a whopping $17.34 in 2019.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others all offer lucrative ways for small business owners to boost their content marketing strategy, build a stronger brand identity, and improve their relationship with customers. But have you brushed up on the statistical evidence to help you rethink social media lately?
Let’s have a look at the timeline and some of the key achievements of social media platforms to paint a picture of its potential.
Social media is younger than we remember
Social media is everywhere, to the point that it seems like it has been around forever. Even the rare breed of people who don’t use social media have grown accustomed to hearing others talk about ‘likes’, ‘shares‘, ‘tweets’ and ‘favorites’. It’s hard to remember a time where these words weren’t part of the common vernacular.
It actually wasn’t that long ago, though. The majority of today’s most popular social media platforms are only slightly over a decade old.
Let’s take a quick look at Facebook as an example of just how quickly a social media platform can turn into a global phenomenon.
The rise and rise of Facebook
The biggest social media site in the world, Facebook, was founded in 2004. Within three years of its launch, it had earned $150 million dollars. It was obvious right from the get-go that Facebook, which currently boasts over 1.5 billion users, was going to be a huge success.
Here’s a quick timeline of significant dates in Facebook’s history:
- In April 2008, Facebook launched its chat feature, and in February 2009, the infamous ‘like’ button was introduced.
- In April 2012, Facebook announced its purchase of the now hugely popular photo and video sharing platform Instagram. The price? A mere $1 billion.
- That same month, Facebook revealed that its Android App was downloaded more than 1 million times a day.
- In May 2012, Facebook had its first initial public offering (IPO) with a market cap of $104 billion.
- By the end of that same year, Facebook had already garnered 1 billion users, meaning that one-seventh of the human population on earth was using the same platform to communicate with each other and conduct business.
- In September 2015, Facebook held 22% of worldwide mobile internet advertising revenue. Clearly, by that time, Facebook had become the go-to platform for business owners and marketers looking to promote their products and reach their smartphone-obsessed customers.
How social media influences purchase decisions
Ever since the smartphone craze took over the world, people use social media to discover new products, find sales and discounts, and learn about new purchase locations.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, have a proven influence on customers’ online shopping habits.
Here are a few interesting stats:
- The majority of online shoppers (43%) find extra information about products on the bookmark-orientated site Pinterest, while 26% and 25% of customers respectively use Twitter and Facebook to learn more about desired products.
- Twitter is the number one social media platform for product discovery, followed closely by Facebook and Pinterest. 35% of shoppers discover new products on Twitter, 31% on Facebook, and 25% on Pinterest.
- Thanks to social media, it’s never been easier to locate your most convenient store. 38% of online shoppers use Pinterest to identify purchase locations, while 28% use Twitter for the same purpose. Facebook is used by 15% of customers looking for purchase locations.
- Twitter is where 32% of buyers receive product or purchase reminders, followed by Facebook (23%) and Pinterest (26%).
- Word of mouth marketing hasn’t disappeared entirely: in this day and age, customers use social media platforms to recommend products and share testimonials. 32% of shoppers use Twitter for recommendations, 26% recommend products on Pinterest, while 19% of online buyers read and write product recommendations on Facebook.
An increasing number of social media users find it hard to stay away from their favorite platforms for more than a few hours so sending alerts through social media sites is an ideal way to reach customers any place, anytime.
Facebook is the most popular site for product sale alerts, followed by Twitter, and Pinterest.
Building brand awareness on social media
There’s no doubt about the fact that building a strong brand presence is challenging if your company can’t be found on social media.
Have a look at the following examples from some of the world’s leading brands who know just how important it is to maintain a strong presence on social media:
- Coca-Cola is liked by 98,332,317 people on Facebook.
- Disneyland has 17,752,242 Facebook fans
- FC Barcelona is liked by 93,40,721 people on Facebook and has 36,389,581 Instagram followers.
- Chanel, the prestigious French fashion house, has 12,205,997 followers on Twitter.
- The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in NYC is followed by 2,921,794 art enthusiasts on Twitter.
- NBA has 22,362,379 Twitter followers.
- LEGO has a YouTube channel boasting 2,957,749,263 subscribers.
- The WWE channel on YouTube has 10,095,551,236 subscribers
Pretty incredible, right? Take a look at this fascinating infographic to learn more about how powerful social media is when leveraged correctly.
Infographic Source: Skilled.co
How important is social media to your business? Share your comments below.
Guest Author: Colin Cieloha is an American author and content marketer at Skilled.co. He writes about everything that will draw his attention with a focus on the mobile and e-commerce space. When he is not writing he is spending his time traveling the globe and snowboarding. You can follow him on his Twitter at @ColinCieloha.