Social media is getting bigger by the day. During May social networks accounted for 11.88% of UK internet visits and search engines accounted for just 11.33%*. This was the first time that social media has overtaken search in this way.
Over 400 million people worldwide are now active on Facebook each month, with over 600,000 new people joining every day**. In the UK alone there are 26 million active Facebook users, with 13 million logging in on a daily basis. twitter is now alleged to have more than 100 million users worldwide, and started to roll out advertising for the first time in April 2010. Spotify is on the verge of opening up its service to more members, which is likely to make it a bigger player in the social sphere.
Check-ins at location-based social network Foursquare are on the rise, reaching 40 million in May 2010***, a rise of almost 50% in a month, and Gowalla is starting to catch-up, but they might both face a big challenge soon as Facebook is reported to be launching its own location features. Meanwhile there are rumours that AOL plans to sell Bebo just two years after it spent $850 million on its purchase, putting its future at risk.
With growth this fast and reach this wide, it is more important than ever that brands not only monitor and engage with social media but also invest in sufficient manpower to be sure that they are at the forefront of this constantly-evolving medium. However, as the Bebo example shows, it is also crucial that brands do not put all their eggs in one social media basket, as the rules can change very quickly, making effective strategy planning crucial for any online campaign which involves social media.
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*source Hitwise 8 June 2010
**source The Facebook Marketing Bible, June 2010