Are you wondering what the changing social trends are for consumers?
If so, look no further.
In Nielsen and McKinseyâ€™sÂ Social Media Report, consumers were surveyed to discover how they use social networks.
Here are seven key findingsÂ from that report.
#1: More Time Invested in Mobile
The survey found thatÂ consumers are increasingly looking to their smartphones and tablets to access social media.
While the PC is still the most widely used device when it comes to social media consumption, the study found that time spent on mobile apps and mobile websites accounted for a 63% increase (compared to 2011) in total time spent.
Additionally, 43% of users said they use smartphones to access social media, while 16% connect using a tablet.
Key Takeaway: When it comes to consuming social content,Â itâ€™s all about mobile. For marketers, that means thatÂ mobile has to be your top content priorityÂ this year.
If you havenâ€™t done so already,Â here are some ideas to get you started:
- Set up a mobile websiteÂ (thereâ€™s a freeÂ WordPress pluginÂ for this)
- Register your business on location-based servicesÂ such asÂ Foursquare,WHEREÂ orÂ SCVNGR
- UseÂ SMSÂ andÂ MMSÂ to attract customers
- Build your own appÂ (even if youâ€™re not a developer) usingÂ GENWI,Â Mippin,MobiCartÂ orÂ ShoutEm
- Get moreÂ mobile marketingÂ tips in Jamie Turnerâ€™s excellent book,Â Go Mobile!
#2: Pinterest Usage Continues to Rise
PinterestÂ continues to experience exponential growth since its launch in 2011. The platform had the highest increase in audience and time spent of any social network across all devices such as PC, mobile web and apps.
In addition, a May 2012Â Harvard Business ReviewÂ article titled, â€œMoving customers from pinning to purchase,â€ states that:
â€œPinterest users reported a surprisingly high correlation between pinning and subsequent purchasing: more than 1 in 5 Pinterest users has pinned an item that they later purchased. In the social world, this is a high conversion rate.â€
Key Takeaway: As a marketer,Â remember thatÂ product photographyÂ is more important than everÂ when trying toÂ persuade Pinterest shoppers to pin and buy your hottest-looking items. Capitalize on their shopping experience andÂ make your profile as creative and visually engaging as possible.
Also, donâ€™t forget toÂ engage with people who have pinned your itemsÂ to see if you could nudge them into buying something!
#3: Social Networking Generates Positive Sentiments
One of the most interesting findings in this survey was that 76% of participants said they experienced positive feelings after engaging in social networking.
Some of the words used to describe how they felt were:Â informed, energized, excited, connectedÂ andÂ amused. However, 21% reported negative sentiments after social networking; examples areÂ overwhelmed, anxiousÂ andÂ wasted time. 24% remained neutral.
Key Takeaway: Social media is saturated with sentiment-rich data. Every update, tweet, blog comment or online review is a critical source of data that can inform your CRM program. As a marketer, you should be very interested in gathering and analyzing sentiment data toÂ see if your social messages are producing the desirable outcomes youâ€™re looking for.
#4: Twitter Drives Social TV
TwitterÂ has emerged as the mostÂ powerful driver of â€˜social TVâ€™ interaction. That means when people are watching the Super Bowl,Â American IdolÂ or the elections, they are simultaneously using Twitter to share their thoughts and experiences with friends.
In June 2012, a third of active Twitter users tweeted about TV-related content, which was up from 26% at the beginning of the year.
Key Takeaway: Social TV is still a new concept for marketers. However, considering that an average ofÂ 43 minutes are spent each day watching TVÂ (HubSpot), and that many of those viewers are then sharing their experiences online, marketers shouldfind ways to align any TV advertising with their online strategiesÂ (e.g., incorporating hashtags or tweetable sound bites in their TV commercials). This prolongs the conversation about brands beyond the TV, while allowing for extended word-of-mouth marketing.
#5: Social Care is the New Customer Care
Social careÂ is a way for companies to provide regular customer service through social media platforms. The study revealed that one in three social media users prefers social care to contacting a company by phone.
Consumers use a variety of channels for social care. For example, they are most likely to comment or ask a question about a companyâ€™s products or services on the companyâ€™s Facebook page (29%), on their own personal Facebook profile (28%), on official company blogs (15%), on Twitter (personal handle â€“ no mention of company, 14%) and on Twitter (companyâ€™s handle, 13%).
Key Takeaway: Social media has conditioned consumers to get immediate feedback. As a marketer, the risk of failing to meet such high expectations is not just losing customers, but having negative comments about your brand blasted around the userâ€™s network and their friendsâ€™ networks. If you canÂ get social care right, you willcreate a wide gap between your brand and your competition.
#6: Mixed Feelings about Social Ads
Another interesting finding was how people react to social ads. While 33% of people surveyed find ads on social networks to be annoying, 26% are more likely to pay attention to an ad posted by a friend.
Generally a Like is the most common action taken after seeing a social ad (26%), followed by a share (15%) and a product purchase (14%). As far as demographics go, the study found that Asian-American consumers were the most likely to respond positively to social ads, while white consumers were the most likely to be turned off by social media advertising.
Image source: iStockphoto.
Key Takeaway: Because advertising on social media is more annoying than other digital areas, marketers should proceed with caution andÂ make sure their ads are highly relevant and targeted. On the bright side, many people donâ€™t mind social ads if theyâ€™re tailored to suit personal tastes and interests. This presents a great opportunity for marketers toÂ raise brand visibility.
#7: Social Listening a Key Consumer Activity
Social media is transforming the way consumers around the globe make purchasing decisions. Consumers are using social media to listen and learn about other consumersâ€™ experiences (70%); find more information about brands, products and services (65%); and compliment brands (53%).
Key takeaway: We tend to think of social listening as something only marketers and research analysts do. However, itâ€™s interesting to see that consumers are also active listeners. This is an opportunity for marketers toÂ educate consumers through compelling content, improve customer experiences (using social care) andmaintain strong customer relationshipsÂ to uphold a positive brand image.
Your Turn:Â What do you think? Which of these trends did you find most enlightening?Please share your thoughts and comments in the box below.
**This article was first published on Social Media Examiner on January 16th, 2013.