Worldwide, there are over 3 billion internet users—and over 2 billion of them have active social media accounts. In 2018, it is estimated that there will be around 2.67 billion social media users around the globe, up from 2.34 billion in 2016.
Amongst them, there must be an awful lot of existing and potential colleagues, clients, collaborators and customers.
Popular social platforms have become essential marketing tools, offering businesses valuable data about their customers and a convenient way to reach them. More than 56% of adults worldwide use more than one social media platform and research by Mediakix, an international social media marketing firm, indicates that the average person spends around 40 minutes a day on YouTube, 35 minutes on Facebook, 25 on Snapchat, 15 on Instagram and one minute on Twitter.
A spokesperson from the company says: “As social media usage continues to accelerate, platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and YouTube play increasingly larger roles in how people spend their time, communicate, consume information, and make decisions.”
Perhaps the biggest sign of social media’s maturity is its emergence as a valid workplace tool, where once it was banned – to wit Workplace by Facebook – the social media giant’s new enterprise communication and collaboration network.
The Society for Human Resource Management says: “Not only has social media changed the way we communicate, but these applications present great opportunities for businesses in the areas of public relations, internal and external communications, recruiting, organisational learning and collaboration, and more.”
Organisations can make use of social media in a variety of ways. Departments can hold brainstorming sessions or maintain ongoing conversations with questions and answers on a blog; teams can use WhatsApp to share ideas, update team members, distribute documents, conduct research, apportion tasks and deliver news to each other.
Recent research conducted by Insight magazine reveals that Sierra Leonean companies aren’t sloths when it comes to using social media to advance their business interests.
Our survey showed that WhatsApp comes out top with over 80% of respondents using it for business purposes. It is closely followed by Facebook at 70%. The older and more established business channel – LinkedIn comes in third with around 65% of respondents reporting that it is a useful business tool. Twitter beats YouTube with a 35% following. Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest are neck and neck, with around 5% of respondents finding business uses for them.
Unsurprisingly communications, networking, marketing and creating brand awareness are seen as the biggest benefits. At almost 20%, customer service puts up a brave fight; and with data’s rep as the new oil - an immensely, untapped valuable asset – it’s good to see market research making a show.
Those who don’t use social media for business purposes cite lack of staff, time and cost as the barriers.