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What is Social Media and Why Should Artisans Care?

What is Social Media and Why Should Artisans Care?

Social Media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, video and audio.

Basically, it’s a fancy way to describe all the conversations people are having online 24/7.

Some interesting facts about social media:

  • 3 out of 4 Americans use social media (Forrester, The Growth of Social Technology Adoption 2008)
  • Visiting social sites is the 4th most popular online activity, ahead of checking personal email. (Nielsen Global Faces and Networked Places 2009)
  • From eConsultancy (as at January 2010):
    • Twitter now has 75m user accounts
    • LinkedIn has over 50m members worldwide.
    • Flickr now hosts more than 4bn images.
    • More than 35m Facebook users update their status each day.
    • Wikipedia currently has in excess of 14m articles, meaning that it’s 85,000 contributors have written nearly a million new posts in six months.
    • Photo uploads to Facebook have increased by more than 100% over the past year. Currently, there are around 2.5bn uploads to the site each month
    • Back in 2009, the average user had 120 friends within Facebook. This is now around 130.
    • Mobile is even bigger than before for Facebook, with more than 65m users accessing the site through mobile-based devices. In six months, this is over 100% increase. (Previously 30m). As before, it’s no secret that users who access Facebook through mobile devices are almost 50% more active than those who don’t.
    • There are now 11m LinkedIn users across Europe.
    • Towards the end of last year, the average number of tweets per day was over 27.3 million.
    • The average number of tweets per hour was around 1.3m.
    • Purpose-built Facebook pages have created more than 5.3bn fans.
    • 15% of bloggers spend 10 or more hours each week blogging, according to Technorati’s new State of the Blogosphere.
    • At the current rate, Twitter will process almost 10bn tweets in a single year.
    • More than 250 Facebook applications have over a million combined users each month.
    • 70% of bloggers are organically talking about brands on their blog.
    • 38% of bloggers post brand or product reviews.
    • More than 80,000 websites have implemented Facebook Connect since December 2008 and more than 60m Facebook users engage with it across these external sites each month.

Some statistics from Facebook:

People on Facebook

  • More than 500 million active users
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day (thats 250 million people every 24hrs!!)
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook

Activity on Facebook

  • There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)
  • Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events
  • Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.

Global Reach

  • More than 70 translations available on the site
  • About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
  • Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application

It’s like word of mouth on steroids.

So.. what does it mean for artisans?

Well, for a start, in all those millions and millions of people you are sure to find your “tribe”, your “right people”, whatever you want to call them – you are bound to find other people with similar interests.

Here are some examples of how social media has worked:

Personally, I like to use it as the online equivalent of the office water cooler. People come here for a quick fix of interesting conversation, some human contact, maybe a bit of gossip or a laugh. But, done well, it can also be a huge benefit to your brand/business.

And, although not directly related to the focus of this article, it bears commenting on the impact social media is having on society. Recent examples include the uprising in Egypt and Tunisia, the use of social media during natural disasters like Cyclone Yasi and the Christchurch earthquake (and aggregated here on Google Crisis Response). The power of social media cannot be underestimated. And I find it endlessly exciting that we are living through the birth of this new and wonderful communication tool.

I love that I can get a direct line to interesting people. If I like something someone has written, made, sung, painted, whatever, I can make quick contact with them on Twitter, I can follow them so I hear about their next “thing”. I can favourite their photos on Flickr so I can refer back to it later for inspiration.

Ok, so how to get started with social media.. my advice, just sign up, put up only a bare minimum of info and watch. Just lurk for a bit, get a feel for it.

Then go for it. Tie your social media presence directly to your brand (whether that is a business name, or your own name). Be aware of what you share (more articles to come on this soon) – use generally accepted etiquette and be cautious about how much info you share. Basically, the general rules of being Internet safe apply to also protecting your brand, your products and your intellectual property.

And coming soon on Artisantopia, more detailed info on how to use all the different social media platforms.