An example of a social network diagram.

Social Network Distribution

If you have ever wondered how intrusive social networking has become in our daily lives, or if it just seems that people around you are obsessed with their social media network, then you might just be right. In new research from the US, social media users say that social networking is now one of their most important activities on a daily basis, both on line and off line, and you thought it was just people like me who were obsessed with it didn’t you.

Only email was considered more important, with chatting and web browsing as daily activities ranking lower. When asked to compare online social networking with off line activities, social media site users only found going out with friends more important, that puts social networking ahead of real life activities such as playing games,watching TV and playing sport.

So what is the top activity on these internet social networks?  81% of site users said posting photos as their top activity with responding to others posts and posting about their own thoughts or daily activities, next in line.

Now the good news, and this is really very important news for companies who are using social media, is that over 40% of users said they linked in with a company, product or service on a social network, and 38% had actually clicked on paid advertisements.

Another very important consideration for business in this survey, is the trust factor, users of social networks place high trust in their social network, with more than 50% saying they considered information shared on their network when considering or researching products or services, and this trust factor was higher amongst the younger users, with over 65% of 18 to 24 year olds using referrals or advertising gained from their social network.

This finding is very very important for those in the business community, because the survey shows that Gen X&Y have integrated social media networks into their daily lives in such a way, that it has now become a trusted resource in their decision making process.

The inclusion of social media into your marketing plan is now vital, particularly when it comes to building brand loyalty for the future. Creating trust and having the right strategy in place for social networking is the key factor in building success with social networks, understanding how to network within in this space and becoming the trusted adviser are the key elements to a successful social media strategy.

Mike Andrew owns and operates an Internet Marketing Consultancy on the Gold Coast in Queensland

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