Social business – isn’t everyone doing it?

You’d think from the amount of conversations we all have, the amount of conferences springing up or adding the tag “social” (no matter how spurious the link) that everybody was socialised.  However, doing some research I came across a great summary of Econsultancy’s latest Global Internet Statistics Compendium by Paul Marsden on the Social Commerce Today blog.

The full report is probably beyond the pockets of many of us, but Paul’s selected facts are well worth reading and keeping to hand. What particularly stood out for me are the following nuggets:

The social landscape

  • People spend 30% of leisure time online [Source: ―Digital World, Digital Life, TNS Global Interactive, December 2008]
  • Social networking accounts for 50% of all mobile internet traffic. [Source: Airwide Solutions, via ReadWriteMobile, November 2010]
  • Mobile operators forecast that 94% of phone users will communicate by social networks. 87% will use SMS/MMS and 81% will use voice. [Source: Airwide Solutions, via ReadWriteMobile, November 2010]
  • People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook [Source: Econsultancy blog, July 2010]
  • The average user is connected to 60 pages, groups and events [Source: Econsultancy blog, July 2010]
  • 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news blogs etc.) are shared each month on Facebook. [Source: Facebook, August 2010]
  • Every month, more than 70% of Facebook users engage with Platform applications [Source: Econsultancy blog, July 2010]
  • More than 550,000 active applications are currently on Facebook Platform [Source: Econsultancy blog, July 2010]
  • More than one million websites have integrated with the platform and over 150 million people engage with Facebook on external websites each month [Source: Econsultancy blog, July 2010]
  • Nearly 40% of consumers ‘like’ companies on Facebook to publicly display their brand affiliation to friends. [Source: ExactTarget, via Social Media Examiner, October 2010]
  • 43% of users ‘like’ or are fans of at least one brand on Facebook. [Source: ExactTarget, via Social Media Examiner, October 2010]
  • Of Facebook users who ‘like’ at least one brand, 17% say they are more likely to buy after ‘liking’. [Source: ExactTarget, via Social Media Examiner, October 2010]

Social sharing

When asked “What have you shared in the last 3 months?” respondents stated:

  • Family pictures and video (62%)
  • News about friends and family (52%)
  • Funny videos (43%)
  • News articles and blog posts (36%)
  • Coupons and discounts (32%)

[Source: CMB Consumer Pulse, September 2010]


  • 97% who made a purchase based on an online review found the review to be accurate. [Source: comScore/The Kelsey Group, via Search Engine People, July 2010]
  • 90% of online consumers trust recommendations from people they know; 70% trust unknown users, 27% trust experts, 14% trust advertising, 8% trust celebrities. [Source: Erik Qualman, Socialnomics, via Search Engine People, July 2010]
  • 75% of people don‘t believe that companies tell the truth in advertisements. [Source: Yankelovich, via Search Engine People, July 2010]
  • 70% consult reviews or ratings before purchasing [Source: BusinessWeek, via Search Engine People, July 2010]
  • 70% who read reviews share them with friends, family and colleagues [Source: Deloitte & Touche, via Search Engine People, July 2010]
  • 51% of consumers use the Internet even before making a purchase in shops. [Source: Verdict Research, via Search Engine People, July 2010]
  • 45% say they are influenced ―a fair amount or a great deal by reviews on social sites from people they follow (46% say reviews in newspaper or magazine influence them). [Source: Harris Poll, via Search Engine People, July 2010]
  • 71% rated user-generated customer reviews as the community/social media tool having the highest impact on buying behaviour. [Source: PowerReviews, Customer Reviews and Online Shopping Habits, June 2010]

Incredibly, only 25% of companies surveyed for Econsultancy‘s Customer Engagement Report tap into user ratings and feedback. [Source: Econsultancy / cScape Customer Engagement Report 2010]  Surely the online review is as old as the internet itself?  It’s a quick, simple form of consumer insight, ideally to add into the broader research being undertaken, but of course a valid temperature check in itself.

Social commerce

  • Heavy social networkers aged 11-14 are 65% more likely to buy clothes online, 40% more likely to buy books online and 20% more likely to purchase music downloads [Source: TGI, via MediaTel, July 2010]
  • Gamers are 70% more likely to make purchases within a gamified environment. [Source: Interpret, via Econsultancy, November 2010]
  • Gamers are more likely to be online shoppers, influencers and product reviewers. [Source: Interpret, via Econsultancy, November 2010]
  • 53% of retail transactions involving Facebook directly converted (from Facebook to checkout). [Source: Efficient Frontier, November 2010]

(The above image is from the Social Commerce Today blog).

For further views on social commerce, there’s a great article in February’s edition of Wired , which is now available online here.

Social marketing

  • For 59% of companies, social media is a primarily a marketing channel and managed out of marketing departments. [Source: StrongMail, December 2010]
  • 63% of companies see awareness building as the primary value of social media as a marketing channel. Building customer loyalty is number 2. [Source: StrongMail, December 2010]

Where’s the involvement with customer services, product development, sales, internal/employee comms? Perhaps this can partly be explained by only 14% of businesses are outsourcing any aspect of their social media marketing. [Source: 2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Social Media Examiner, April 2010]    I believe that ultimately much of what agencies do could be done in-house  (setting up/managing Facebook pages, Twitter feeds etc). However this data supports the need for guidance and consultancy around how to get the best out of the social landscape from a broader business perspective. To me, what we do sits behind marketing, PR, HR, customer services, customer engagement, product development, sales….

There’s more to digital than social media, there’s more to social media than marketing.

3 thoughts on “Social business – isn’t everyone doing it?

  1. David Levantis says:

    Those are some surprising stats on the company side. Tesco do it very well with their Facebook, with the agency working alongside their product development teams. They put protoypes of thier new clothing on there and get loads of feedback on what people like and don’t like, really impressive stuff.

    PS – the leave a comment button isn’t very easy to spot

    1. londoncharlotte says:

      I agree, there are some very impressive corporate (and third/public sector) examples of using social media to do more than just push out brand messages. I was surprised to see that stat of 59% viewing it as purely a marketing channel – proves we need to get out of our digital bubbles maybe?

      Re the comment button, I’m using out-the-box WordPress: the “Leave a reply” section looks pretty clear, right at the bottom of the post (admittedly under the about the author box). But I’m happy to embed something else if anyone can recommend a freebie widget.

  2. Adrian Scoffham says:

    Thanks for pulling all the threads together, it really gives an insight as to the problems brands and companies face moving forwards.

    I think your post really highlights the need for an organisation to take a holistic approach; that means there is no marketing department, the whole company is responsible for engaging with target audiences in an honest way. Now clearly that process needs to be managed, otherwise it would rip the business to shreds as no-one would be doing their job anymore – so I absolutely back you in saying that there is a great need for consultancy and guidance to develop a workable best-practice that leverages the benefits of social media and commerce and mitigates the risks.

    A tall ask, I know. But with the right attitude it’s certainly something that is achievable, I would even go so far as to say that social media has the potential when used properly to provide a truly great customer service experience due to the fact that it is a two way street. I can’t for the life of me understand brands with unbalanced follow/follower aggregates, surely it pays to pay attention to those who associate with your brand?

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