The growth in use of social networks and blogs is a remarkable phenomenon. According to recent research by Nielsen, internet users in the US spend more time on facebook than any other web brand and mobile access to on-line social networks and blogs has increased dramatically – for mature internet users, it’s more than doubled in 12 months.
This isn’t just a US phenomenon. Australians spend more time on social networks and blogs than any of the countries that Nielsen surveyed and Germans spend a whopping 12.7 billion minutes on blogs and social media – more than any other web category.
But this shouldn’t be surprising. In the view of some neuroscientists, our ability to exploit our social network has been a key evolutionary factor. Whereas in the past the size of the human brain was thought to be linked to our need to be able to solve problems and use tools, it seems more likely that it is associated with our reliance on social networks. (Check this out for more on this subject.)
What does all this mean for business and especially B2B?
There’s a perfectly credibly interpretation of what we are seeing to explain the huge growth. The internet has evolved to tap directly into natural human behaviour. Our brains evolved to use twitter! And that confirms social networks as something that is here to stay. But the market research also confirms something else. The phenomenon is not just about teenagers downloading music or families streaming movies. There is significant growth in every demographic. Professionals with a post graduate degree for example, are 3 times more likely to check out linkedin than anyone else and the over 55’s are become very savvy with their mobile devices. Access to social media and blogs for this group grew by 109% in the last year.
There’s no escaping what is going on. Blogs and social media are becoming a critical channel in every sphere of human life including business – for B2C as well as B2B.
Whether you are sourcing a SaaS based enterprise application or marketing a product to businesses. Whether you are trying to engage more effectively with a user community or trying to understand how to improve your service delivery – understanding how to exploit social media effectively – if it isn’t already – needs to be one of your top priorities.