Proven: Social Media Is Conquering the World

Posted: February 1, 2012 in Marketing Communications, Social Media

Over on SlideShare, a Belgian consultant named Steven van Belleghem posted the most favorited presentation of 2011: a terrific briefing on people’s involvement with “Social media around the world.” How good is it? Well, when was the last time you posted one of your presentations, and received 680,000 views?

Those of us who market from North America can unknowingly (and unintentionally) build American bias and flavor into our sales and outreach materials. For that reason, I found it refreshing to absorb a well-researched, sharp analysis of the social media phenomenon from the EU perspective. At 167 slides, it’s a virtual illustrated tome; but Belleghen’s team researched across 35 countries, with some 9000 participants, to gain many insights into the attitudes and behaviors of Internet users. Some of the factoids that sparked my interest included:

  • Around the world, awareness of Facebook is approaching 100%
  • The average Facebook visit lasts more than half an hour
  • The #1 driver of online conversation is off-line events
  • Twitter presents a paradox: 80% of online users are aware of it, but only 16% use it
  • On Facebook and MySpace, women outnumber men; but men outnumber women on LinkedIn and Twitter
  • In Eastern Europe, Vkontakt is almost as popular as Facebook
  • In China, awareness of the social media platform Qzone equals awareness of Facebook
  • In Europe, only 51% of users “follow” a brand, but in India, 70% do
  • In Europe, one-third (33%) of all social network users are not allowed to access social networks from work

The list above is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. You’ll find many clear indicators of what methods reach people efficiently, and which don’t.

Though social networking has a reputation for changing rapidly and being faddish, Bellenghem’s research indicates the vast majority of social media users (93%) are happy with the status quo. They intend to keep using social media at the rate they do now, neither increasing nor decreasing their current usage. That is merely the latest empirical data point indicating that social media is here to stay.

If you’re interested in figuring out how you can use it to forward your own global agenda, I highly recommend spending a few minutes with “Social media around the world.” I know of nowhere else to get data this useful and recent at everyone’s favorite price.


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