Let’s start this week’s blog off with a question to get you thinking: which social media website do you think has the most worldwide users? It may be quite obvious, but nonetheless the answer shall be revealed later…
Statistics have discovered that out of the Earth’s entire population, 58% use some form of social network (2012) and no doubt this number will continuously increase. Web-based social networks make it possible to connect people who share interests and activities across geographic borders. Many may think that social media only includes the popular Facebook and Twitter where users keep in touch with friends and family, meet new people, keep up with the news and post selfies. The reality is that there are hundreds of them! The most popular social media sites include Google Plus+, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn which all have different techniques but serve for the same purpose, to connect.
Here’s another shocking figure: the total percentage of 18-24 year olds who use social media is… (drum roll please)… 98%! I personally would like to meet the left over 2% and shake their hands as they must have very peaceful lives. This whopping number of young people on social media already demonstrates the importance of staying connected, whether by computer, phone or by tablet. Believe it or not, the UK doesn’t even fall into the top ten most engaged countries which I guess is quite a relief, it’s rather nice to know that we all still go out.
While you take those figures in, let’s explore the two uses of social media: personal and business use. Years and years ago, long before those 98% of internet addicts were born (including me), means of communication were by handwritten letters and putting on your coat to go and knock on your friend’s door. Those days are certainly no more as innovative technology has flourished over the decades and brought us a phenomenon that has taken the planet by storm, the internet. Today, billions of people have social media as part of their everyday lives because of its quick and easy usage as well as its addictive nature. In the time that one could have written a letter and sent it to their long distance amigo in Spain back in the day, you could now send an e-mail to your pals in France, China and Australia in a matter of seconds. Incredible when you think about it, though even I can admit that I take social media for granted every day and I guarantee I am not alone. Not only do I use social networks to connect with close ones, but I also use it to share my favourite photos, listen to music, watch videos of cats doing funny things when I am bored and I also use it in writing this very blog! For me, it’s mostly a pass-time activity, but what else could social media be if it isn’t a pass-time? A very effective marketing tool.
Yes, for businesses worldwide the internet has worked wonders in spreading the word to customers across the globe. Companies can send their product/service viral in minutes and it has never been easier to catch the eye of the consumer as well as receive their feedback. Take the hospitality and tourism business. Hotels, restaurants, and visitor attractions can interact via whichever means of social media they choose and a particular website which you may have heard of is TripAdvisor! Whether you have an account or not, you are bound to have heard of TripAdvisor as it is an essential part of many tourist’s buying choices. Every month, TripAdvisor sees a quarter of a billion users internationally with 57 million accounts (eCornell). The website is more often than not the first point of contact when a traveller is curious about a hotel/restaurant etc. and they are able to get advice from fellow tourists about the place they’d like to go. For businesses, this can be either be very good or very bad. Today’s consumers have more power than ever with Tripadvisor allowing them to have a voice and it’s what they say that can make or break a business. Excellent reviews and management responses mean a better reputation for the business as competition is always rising and it is increasingly important to keep up with it.
Raising awareness is faster and easier than ever as many hotels have their own Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile and Youtube channel to interact directly with their valued guests and encourage new and potential guests to join in. News updates, special offers and photos get the user involved and research has shown that consumers love a friendly Facebook page, so feel free to have a chat with them. Word of mouth soon gets around and before you know it the hotel is Facebook famous! Without social media, many businesses would not be where they are today and so they have a lot to be thankful for.
Remember the question at the beginning? I can reveal that the answer is of course Facebook which currently holds (as of June) 1.32 BILLION monthly users! Wow! To see more of the statistics, go to: www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics/ and I can guarantee some jaw-dropping figures.