It is almost impossible to have lived through 2011 and not get all caught up in the social media frenzy. The launch of Google+ was one of the most talked about events of the year among the technorati. Was this to be the end of Facebook? How would Twitter react? Even though Google+ amassed a user base of more than 10 million in three weeks (including the Dalai Lama), Facebook didn't collapse, but pretty much just copied the Circles feature from Google+, and Twitter changed its approach to be a broader service instead of purely being a micro-blogging site.
How all this will pan out in 2012 is of course uncertain, but what is certain however is that social media is irreversibly part of the fabric of the world in which we operate. Increasingly we are seeing Twitter and Facebook as a social force for dissent, particularly evident in the Arab Spring we all witnessed during 2011. The Social Universe is a powerful force for all kinds of lobby groups. In just a few days over the Christmas period in 2011 we saw this power at work when GoDaddy was forced to reverse its position on SOPA by the outpouring of anger on social networks.
One thing we do know however is that consumer behavior in adopting technology is always a predictor of corporate behavior. What individuals choose to do today, corporations choose to do tomorrow. And there has been an explosion of social media consultants and software vendors predicting the growth of the Social Enterprise. We are advised to leverage the power of the Social Universe for marketing, sales and research. We are told to find those places in the Social Universe where our customers 'hang out', and engage them in that environment.
Personally, I believe in the power of social media. I've written about My Social Media Experiment and the results we have achieved. But up to now I couldn't quantify how active my customers were on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Which one of these networks is most popular with the people I care about? How does it vary by industry? What is the typical level of engagement? I will give you the answer to the 'most popular' question in the next post in this series.
Well, the results are in, and as you can see from the chart, the level of activity varies considerably by industry type. This data comes from Dealmaker Index (a free global sales benchmarking service where you can score your sales effectiveness relative to your peers and gain advice on how to improve). We asked how frequently people visited Twitter, and deemed multiple visits per weeks as being Active, and anything less than that as being Inactive. Of course that measure is subjective, but it is a place to start from which we can measure progress over the coming months.
By this measure, just 22% of corporate individuals are active on Twitter. But it varies significantly by industry. Unsurprisingly, High Technology is most active at 33%, and as many of the Professional Services participants in the Dealmaker Index are themselves promoting Social Media, it is not a shock to see that group well represented in the Active category. As you consider how to leverage activity in the Social Universe as part of your go-to-market activity, it may be worth while looking at this chart to determine how much emphasis to place here rather than in traditional channels.
Do these statistics surprise you? What would you have expected?
By the way, if you want an in-depth assessment of the potential impact of the Social Universe on business, I would strongly recommend The End of Business As Usual by the ever insightful Brian Solis. Here's an excerpt from the cover ... Enjoy!
The End of Business As Usual explores each layer of the complex consumer revolution that is changing the future of business, media, and culture. As consumers further connect with one another, a vast and efficient information network takes shape and begins to steer experiences, decisions, and markets. It is nothing short of disruptive. The End of Business As Usual will change the way you view the world of business, from sales and marketing to customer service and product development to leadership and culture.