Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Social Media; is Britain growing up?
Britain is a nation that is growing fed up of social media, and demanding greater functionality from social sites. That is what a recent survey, conducted by YouGov, has concluded.
The survey revealed that, although Britons remain extremely active on social media sites, they are consistently demanding more from the various platforms. In fact, the survey results state that 41% of the UK online population claim to be getting bored of social media.
With the speed at which social media sites seem to be evolving, some might consider this to be surprising, especially when so many businesses that we meet seem still to be experimenting with social media, and their usage of such platforms seems to be in its infancy. The truth, however, is that we are living in what is frequently termed the ‘digital generation’, and many young adults have grown up with these social media sites.
In terms of social media usage, perhaps unsurprisingly, Facebook still reigns supreme, with a staggering 65% of the UK online population claiming to have accessed the site in the last month. If your target consumer is between 16-20 years old, then this is also the perfect platform for your marketing and customer service efforts; 95% of 16-20 year olds have accessed the site in the last month.
One key trend that the report identifies is the increased popularity of sites that offer a greater raison d’être than simply being ‘social’. For example, analysis from the survey reveals that www.moneysavingexpert.com (the financial advice website and forum) has as many active users as Twitter. Whilst some may find this shocking, it seems to demonstrate a fundamental evolution in the way in which users are engaging and interacting with these online platforms.
Many of you may question what these results mean for you, and how they are relevant to your business. Please allow me to elaborate.
Fundamentally, social media is becoming part of an overarching marketing communications strategy for most businesses. It represents a revolution in the way that individuals, and businesses, communicate, and most have decided that they have no option but to adapt and embrace it. This survey gives a vital insight to the way in which different demographics are truly using social media, and can help you to ascertain which platforms are most worthy of your time investment.
So, what does the future hold? To keep it concise, the survey predicts that usage of Facebook is likely to plateau, while commercial use of LinkedIn is likely to increase. I suspect that this will be as a direct result of increased awareness amongst SMEs about the potential reach of such sites.
Interestingly, the survey also reveals that consumers will remain fairly unresponsive to paid-for advertising over social media. For instance, 44% of respondents stated that they would not feel more compelled to make a purchase simply because their friend had ‘liked’ the product or service. Perhaps a note of caution for marketers?
To conclude, I think it is important for us all to pay attention to surveys such as this, which offer us a valuable insight into how best to make an impact in what is becoming a crowded online arena. Be sure to read the full survey results and analysis, are you surprised by the way in which your target consumer behaves online?
Let me know your thoughts; have the survey findings prompted you to rethink your online marketing strategy?