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Putting Some Numbers to Social Media

In post after post, we’ve explained why social media is an important outlet for reaching key audiences. But if you’re a believer of “truth in numbers,”  you probably need some figures. So we’ve compiled some statistics to help you see how social media has grown and how it’s being used.

The number of Americans who are 18 and older using social media increased to 35 percent in 2008. This was an 8 percent growth from 2005 figures, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

A June Nielsen NetView report revealed that time spent on Twitter grew 3,712 percent from April 2008 to April 2009. In roughly three months, 50 million people joined Facebook, bringing the total number of Facebook users to more than 250 million. According to the same June Nielsen report,  13.9 million minutes were spent on Facebook, a growth of 700% since April 2008. And it’s not  college students logging all those minutes anymore. Facebook’s fastest growing demographic is those 35 and older.

You may be asking what all those people are doing on social networks. Well, they’re uploading photos, chatting, letting their twitter followers know what they ate for lunch, sharing funny videos and reconnecting with friends from the past.

But that’s not all they’re doing.

They’re  opting-in to receive information from the 300,000 businesses that have a presence on Facebook (one-third of those 300,000 are small businesses, according to this USA Today article). They’re getting customer service requests fulfilled. They are reading reviews by prominent bloggers and influential review sites. Recent research from Universal McCann revealed that 77 percent of internet users are reading blogs.

They’re also adding their own two cents about brands and companies. According to a July Neilsen’s report, “Trust Value and Engagement in Advertising,” peer recommendations are the most trusted channel of advertising, trusted “somewhat” or “completely” by nine out of 10 people in a survey of 25,000 online consumers.

If you’re a number person, there are the numbers…and several more reasons why brands can’t afford to not be on social networks.

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