Social Networking Trends Translate to Holiday Sales

With fresh new insights on Facebook and Twitter usage nearly every day, we know the numbers by now:

Between October 2009 and October 2010, Facebook increased its unique visitor total almost 22%, from about 109.7 million to 133.5 million. Compared to September 2010, Facebook grew its unique visitor total 2% from 130.8 million.

Twitter’s growth lags far behind, but Pew lets us know who uses it:

  • Young adults: Internet users ages 18-29 are significantly more likely to use Twitter than are older adults.
  • African-Americans and Latinos: Minority internet users are more than twice as likely to use Twitter as are white internet users.
  • Urbanites: Urban residents are roughly twice as likely to use Twitter as rural dwellers.

And for what:
72% of Twitter users in a sample say that they post updates related to their personal life, activities or interests. A total of one-in-five Twitter users (19%) say they post personal updates once a day or more.
62% of those Pew queried said they post updates related to their work life, activities or interests, with 12% doing so on a daily basis.
55% of these Twitter users share links to news stories. About one in ten (12%) do this at least once a day.

So what does this mean for marketing? Well, everything. Never in our history have we had not only so much information at our disposal, but clear communication straight from our target audience about everything from their personal tastes to their political leanings. Check out TechCrunch’s 25 Million Tweeting Trends in 2010, and as they promise, they’re not all about Justin Bieber (thank goodness).

During the holidays especially, social media offers the unique opportunity to pinpoint ┬ácustomers (past, present and future) and connect them with the product they probably already want through photo, video and other elements not available in advertising or direct mail. And in place of those door-to-door peddlers of the past, we can do it organically–by simply having the destinations in place for fans to come to us like a Facebook page, Twitter account and a functional website that reinforces these messages. If the climate feels conversational enough, we can take the next step by commenting on posts or tweets mentioning our product or service and directing customers to other offerings, special deals or other value-added benefits that seal the deal for those looking to become “insiders” in only the way that social media allows.

Great local examples include Cromer’s Peanuts, whose Facebook page and Twitter feed list special sales and new product lines mixed with that “worst in town” humor. City Art also fully understands social media integration with an email newsletter, Facebook and newly added Twitter feed that all worked seamlessly to promote its 12+ Days of Christmas Art Supply Sale straight to its target customers: art students at USC and other area institutions and local artists.

It may be beating a dead horse for everyone already on board, but we just have to seize on the holiday spirit and remind the more traditional organizations still on the fence–a smart social media presence is the gift of a lifetime for your business!