In years past, if you wanted to be on top of the newest and latest in social media, you had to be registered on the newest and latest social-media site. Each year brought with it a potato sack stuffed with new sites and platforms that made whatever you’d signed up for last year obsolete. If you were still using MySpace once Facebook came around, you may as well have been sending your status updates via telegram. Which is to say, social media moves quickly and leaves most of us playing catch up. Fortunately, 2011 was not that kind of year.
Here are the top three social-media trends of the past year …
The Leaders of the Pack: Though there will likely always be new social-media sites popping up and begging for your time and attention, this year’s social-media news seemed to focus more on the continued dominance of Facebook and Twitter. If you still think there’s no reason to start a Facebook fan page for your business, ask yourself why companies now include Facebook and Twitter logos on their print and television ads. It’s not that they’re under the impression you can click on the pages of a magazine, it’s that the top social-media sites are increasingly becoming an Internet of their own and businesses want you to know they’re available there too. Everyone from your grandmother to the mom-and-pop shop on the corner has a presence on Facebook and it’s mostly because, when people check in online, that’s where they start. In other words, there are a lot of people on Twitter tweeting about their breakfast but you can also find just about any other information or entertainment that interests you.
Sharing is Caring: The key to social-media success is getting people to share what you’ve posted with their network. Social media is a 21st century word-of-mouth machine and, in order to benefit from an online presence, people have to see it. Having content people want to pass on to their friends and family will boost your reach and your brand. But where are they doing the sharing? Well, Facebook and Twitter, of course. Facebook is responsible for 52.1 percent of all the sharing happening online. That’s a lot, considering the vastness of the Internet. Twitter, on the other hand, makes up only 13.5 percent but grew 576.9 percent this year. Email, print, and favorites came in with 14.4 percent of the sharing taking place over the past year.
Quality Over Quantity: The number of fans or followers you have would seem to be a pretty good indicator of how popular you are online. But consider how many of your online devotees are either inactive or not even a real person. Particularly in business, having thousands of fans and followers but no potential clients may make your ego feel better but won’t do anything for your bottom line. In other words, it’s not the numbers that equal success it’s the number of real-life connections you’ve produced. Sometimes it’s hard to measure whether or not your efforts are being noticed but it only takes one phone call from someone that found you on Facebook to strike up some business. Which, after all, is the point of all this.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com