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2013 Is the Year of Social Media

More and more, social media is growing to dominate the Internet landscape. Spearheaded by Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Instagram, users have embraced the call of social media in numbers like never before. Businesses that do not embrace this trend will likely fall behind their competition, and do serious damage to their profits and customer base.

Don’t believe it? Check out these statistics and trends from 2012, and see what we think it means for 2013.

Facebook – The 800-lb Gorilla

Facebook is everywhere, and for good reason. This social network has more users and market share than any other. In 2012, the number of Monthly active Facebook users topped 850 million, and more than 1 million websites have integrated with Facebook in various ways, from social sharing buttons, to widgets, to linking to their business’s Facebook page. On top of that, growth in non-western counties rose 41% in 2012. A Business2Community study has shown that 80% of social media users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook.

In 2013, it is expected that these growth rates will continue to rise. Facebook has gradually become a fixture of global society, and users have come to expect that businesses will embrace this. The facts bear this out, as 77% of Business to Consumer companies and 43% of Business to Business companies acquired customers from Facebook. Failing to embrace this platform will mean lost customers, plain and simple.

Twitter – The other 800-lb Gorilla

Nowadays, it seems like everybody Tweets. You see them on television shows, radio programs, on websites, and basically everywhere. In 2012, 1 million new accounts were added to Twitter every day, and 32% of all internet users are using Twitter. Companies are using Twitter for marketing more and more as well, as 34% of marketers have claimed to generate leads using Twitter. This is cost-effective for their bottom line, as well, as sending out marketing tweets is free!

Of course, in 2013, these trends show no sign of slowing down. Businesses need to capitalize on these trends, or risk alienating their customers. One of the biggest complaints in 2012 that users had was that 56% of customer tweets to companies are being ignored. Savvy businesses will interact with their customers in 2013, and gain customer trust and loyalty for doing so.

Google +, the up-and-comer

Google has leveraged its brand name and authority to promote their own social network, Google +, and Internet users are responding. This is likely due to the amount of interconnectivity with its other services. There were 625,000 new users on Google + every day in 2012, and this trend is expected to continue. Businesses have also embraced Google +, with 40% of marketers using it, and 67% planning to increase their Google + activities.

With Google’s power in the internet industry, this trend is expected to grow. It is unclear if Google + will grow to overtake Facebook, but it is quickly becoming too large to ignore.

Of course, there are numerous other social networks, both mainstream and niche, that have significant amount of users. However, the time has come where business owners can no longer ignore the big three and expect to remain in business for long. Make 2013 your year to focus on Social Media, and position your company to take advantage of what is no longer a fad, but a growing way of life for nearly a billion people.