Social Media—The Facts
One of the most intriguing types of emerging media is social media. The Oxford Dictionaries defines social media as “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” The emergence of different social media platforms has exploded over the last ten years. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and even online dating sites allow people to virtually meet other people from all over the world and instantly share information with them.
Social media is changing how people can communicate and interact with each other. It is changing our lives. Think about how much time you spend scrolling through Facebook! For many of us, it is the first and last thing we check in our day. Not only do we interact with our friends on social media, but we also interact with brands, celebrities, sports teams, and events.
Huffington Post points out some staggering statistics on social media:
- Over 96 percent of Millennials (ages 18-34) have joined at least one social network.
- Approximately 13 percent of married American couples met via social media.
- It took 38 years for the radio to reach 50 million users. It took television 13 years and the Internet 4 years. It took Facebook one year to gather over 200 million users.
This video below shows some more statistics about social media. The information is based on the book Socialnomics by Erik Qualman.
Social Media—A Fad or Here to Stay?
Even with all these amazing statistics, is social media just a fad? The Oxford Dictionaries defines a fad as a “craze” or “an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived.” While there is a lot of widely shared enthusiasm for social media, it doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. Certain social media platforms may be fads, but social media as a whole will be long lived.
Social media is successful, because it is based on the human need for connection. Humans are wired to be social and connect with others. Social media helps facilitate this need in a very efficient and fun manner.
According to the academic journal Social media’s emerging importance in market research, social media has a strong appeal to people because of four main traits:
- Social media satisfies an impulse. People can connect and communicate when they want, and connections happen almost instantly and take minimal effort.
- Social media facilitates the excitement of sharing. People love to share their ideas, experiences, thoughts, interests, and concerns. Social media transcends geography, so sharing can happen across the world.
- Social media can be used to seek advice. People use social media to seek out product reviews and others’ opinions. In fact, people usually trust the advice of others over a salesperson or business’s advertisement.
- Social media allows people to join communities and groups that have similar interests. These groups create enormous amounts of information and content.
Social Media—It’s Evolving
While social media is not a passing fad, businesses and marketers need to be aware that social media is evolving. According to The Globe and Mail, social media is becoming more personalized and mobile. Additionally, a higher emphasis is being placed on visual content—especially video. Also, marketers should not focus on trying to create a brand presence on every social media platform. Instead, marketers should figure out who their target audience is and what social media platforms they use. Along with that, useful and relevant content is key. Businesses’ social media content should focus on adding value to their customer’s lives. In other words, help your customers live the lives they want to live. This will lead to success.