Once upon a time, social media platforms were primarily a means for individuals to keep in touch with each other and share their personal lives online. Businesses that utilized social media were the exception, not the rule.
Today, companies around the world rely on social media to help build their brands and expand their marketing reach. From targeted ad campaigns to instant feedback, businesses and consumers alike are using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to connect in unprecedented ways. And since these interactions are public, they create a unique opportunity for competitive intelligence gathering.
Here are some statistics that show how important social media has become to the business world:
- Regardless of your industry, your competitors are almost certainly using social media to advertise and reach out to their customer base. As of 2018, 88% of businesses used at least one social media platform, and 77% of small businesses rely on their accounts to support important functions like marketing and customer service. The retail industry was particularly active, with over 90% of retailers reporting that they use two or more platforms on a regular basis.
- These numbers make perfect sense when you consider how many current and potential customers are also using social media. In 2018, the average internet user spent 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social media networks.
- Facebook alone had over 2.3 billion users by December of 2018, and 74% of Facebook users access their accounts daily. Of that 74%, 51% log on multiple times per day.
- Twitter is also a customer relations powerhouse, with over 85% of small-to-medium sized businesses using the platform to respond to customers. And it’s a good thing they do, because 78% of Twitter users who complain about a brand expect a response within an hour.
- Meanwhile, YouTube is perhaps the most under-utilized platform, with just 9% of small businesses using it as of 2019, despite the fact that over 1.9 billion users log on every month.
- Overall, consumers expect and reward businesses that interact with them on social media. In one survey, customers reported spending 20-40% more money on brands that have engaged them on a social media platform. In fact, 51% of social media users report using various platforms to research products before they buy.