Selling management on the value of investing time and resources into building an online community using social media is a challenge, and you need all of the support you can get. One way to convey the value of corporate social media participation is to leverage published statistics about who's using social media platforms and how they are using it. There have been a host of new studies published recently that you can use to help make the case for your own company's involvement:
The Society for New Communications Research recently published their report titled, “New Media, New Influencers & Implications for Public Relations” that provides several case studies illustrating how social media has benefited organizations like the American Red Cross, the Mayo Clinic and Quicken Loans. Among their findings, “Social media is rapidly becoming a core channel for disseminating information. Fifty-seven percent of this group of early social media adopters reported that social media tools are becoming more valuable to their activities, while 27% reported that social media is a core element of their communications strategy.”
One of the most popular studies is the Universal McCann's Social Media Research Wave 3 research report, which looked at 17,000 Internet users in 29 countries. According to this study, social media can have a dramatic impact on your brand's reputation. “34% post opinions about products and brands on their blog and 36% think more positively about companies that have blogs.”
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research recently released the results on the usage of social media in the Inc. 500. Of note here, “Just over one quarter of the Inc. 500 reported social media was very important to their business/marketing strategy in 2007. That number has increased to 44% just one year later.”
If you're especially interested in stats about Facebook or other social networking sites, Comscore released some statistics earlier this month announcing the growth of social networking worldwide. Included is the statistic that social networking use grew 25% year over year worldwide, with notable increases in Europe and the Middle East.
Rapleaf released the results of their study examining the gender and age of social network users. Note that these two studies were conducted independent of each other, so don't confuse the results between them.
As part of the promotion for their book Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernhoff created the Social Technographics profile tool where users can plug in some basic information and then see how participation varies among demographics. The resulting graphs are useful in illustrating the social media habits of your target audience. You can also use Trendpedia or BlogPulse to create interesting visuals examining keyword statistics about topics in your industry.
If you've seen some other relevant statistics that aren't referenced here, please share the links in the comments section below.
Aaron Uhrmacher is a social media consultant. In addition to his posts on , he blogs about social media and communications at Disruptology.