Guest Post: The Scale of Social Media Today by Niall Bennet

Welcome, one and all, to today’s guest post! Today, Niall Bennet of Betipy.com is stopping by to talk a little about social media, and to share an infographic about real time net usage.

 

The Scale of Social Media Today

by Niall Bennet

 

The internet is now an integral part of life for many people. Social media is pervasive – over 2.3 billion people worldwide have a social media account of one sort or another. Many of those users will have accounts on different social media platforms for different reasons. Facebook is often the way to keep in touch with family, while Snapchat and WhatsApp are for friends’ groups to communicate on the go.

 

Social media numbers

No matter how people want to express themselves, there’s a social media platform to help them. Twitter and Facebook are good for promoting blog posts, while Instagram and Pinterest are more visual, for instance. Businesses can use a mixture of platforms; maintaining active accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is a popular combination. This ensures a good reach across the social media spectrum from short, punchy messages on Twitter to photos of the latest project on Instagram while still engaging those who see the world through their ‘always on’ Facebook feed.

The scale of social media is staggering. This infographic shows the numbers of social media updates in an hour, a day and a month. There are over 240 million likes on Facebook posts in one hour alone, more than 20,800 new tweets and almost 4 million new photos on Instagram.

 

Social media as sharing app

These days, social media is much more than messages and photos, however. The infographic also gives ebay, Uber and Lyft usage, Booking.com, Airbnb and TripAdvisor figures, Bitcoins sent, Tinder matches, Amazon revenue, PayPal payments and more.

Factoring these apps and websites into the ‘social’ web brings a whole new layer of meaning to the term. Social sharing by app now includes ride hailing (Uber, Lyft), e-commerce sites (ebay, Depop, Vinted) and short term room rentals (Airbnb).

 

Social media as money exchange

Bitcoin, PayPal and Apple Pay feature on the infographic due to their influence in contactless, online and virtual money exchanges. In an hour, 99,000 Bitcoin are sent, over $51 million is paid through PayPal and $5 million through Apple Pay.

Meanwhile ebay allows users to buy and sell almost anything for a PayPal payment and racks up nearly $1.2 million an hour with this business model.

 

Social media expansion

Social media these days is far more than the ability to simply send a message. Facebook has a thriving Marketplace option for those with an active account who prefer an alternative to sales sites such as ebay. Uber and Lyft have added the social element to a taxi service, while cloud services such as Google, Dropbox and Box allow anyone to share a file with someone by simply typing their email address.

It is difficult to imagine life without social media these days. Skype video calls are replacing job interviews; expensive international phone calls are being overtaken by Facetime and emails and letters of complaint have been superseded by a quick tweet to a company’s customer service team.

 

Social media can be complicated

In some ways, social media makes things easier. But in others, it complicates life immensely. One false move on any major social media network can come back to haunt the user. Think ‘covfefe’. Or revealing the winner of a hugely popular TV baking contest. For the ordinary individual, a drunken photo on Facebook or a curt put-down on Twitter can end up costing much more than the time it took to post the content.

Yes, people have actually lost their jobs over ill-thought out social media contributions. How come, given the torrent of posts, likes, photos and videos? Bad timing, and who sees the posts, mainly. Sometimes, it’s not even something the individual posts, but something they do which is seen by others, as in the case of the sports journalist fired for tossing a can of beer at a baseball player mid-game (GlobalNews.ca, 17 October 2016). Caught on camera, the might of social media soon ensured that would be the last baseball game the hack covered for his then-employer.

 

Social media engagement

Every firm these days has to face up to engaging on social media. Every single one of their customers has a viewpoint, and quite often, they will wish to express it in the general direction of the company. This often calls for tact and diplomacy on behalf of the social media managers, but can also be a chance for someone to own the brand and make it stand out. In July 2017, a work experience student was allowed to manage train company Southern Rail’s Twitter account (Daily Telegraph, 12 July 2017). The result was not widespread meltdown, but wit, humour and people tweeting the account from all around the UK. The company had been facing criticism due to service disruption, strikes and cancellations, but the social media team’s decision to go out on a limb paid off.

Greggs the Bakers were similarly quick off the mark in 2014 when their Google search was hacked and their usual logo replaced with an offensive spoof. (Daily Telegraph, 19 August 2014). Greggs’ social media team asked Google for help in fixing the issue, offered free doughnuts and fielded the blizzard of tweets which the logo created with quick witted answers and use of emoticons to hide what must have been a pretty desperate feeling of helplessness.

Social media is vital to communication, marketing and even sales these days. The scale of the sector should never be underestimated, as it can be used in both positive and negative ways. A good social media presence will be remembered just as much as a bad one, with just as great an impact on reputation and revenue.

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