By Shari Phiel
Wednesday, Sept. 2 was an anniversary of sorts here at the Berthoud Recorder. It has now been six months since we joined the social media revolution by posting our first “tweet” on Twitter. So what better time to look at where social networks have been, where they are now and where they’re going?
Finding usable statistics on social media can be difficult to say the least. There are dozens of reports and studies out there and the results often don’t agree. In fact, they often outright contradict each other. But they all agree on one thing, social media networks are among the fastest growing sites on the Internet and aren’t likely to go away anytime soon.
Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Flickr and LinkedIn are some of the fastest growing social media sites on the Web. Earlier this year traffic to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn outpaced traffic to traditional heavy hitters on the Internet like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
The breakout star of all social media networking sites is without a doubt Twitter. A June 2009 report by Toronto-based Sysomos Inc., which provides social media analysis, shows that since its launch in March 2006, Twitter has attracted more than 11.5 million users. But it wasn’t until this year, and the endorsement of celebrities like Oprah, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and others that heralded the meteoric rise of Twitter. More than 70 percent of those 11.5 million users signed up in the first five months of 2009 alone.
Here’s another surprising Twitter stat. Five percent of all Twitters users account for 75 percent of the total activity. So who are those super tweeters? They aren’t celebrities or even news outlets. The most active users are machine bots which generate 32 percent of all tweets per day, with each generating an average of more than 150 tweets per day.
At first blush it might sound like the bulk of Twitter feeds are littered with the flotsam and jetsam of spam marketing, but that is not the case. The vast majority of tweets generated by bots are from “hotels offering deals, regional and national news services, regional weather services, the top news within Digg, games, anim services, tags within del.icio.us and financial aggregators. These very active bots account for one-quarter of all tweets,” says the report.
Twitter has become a marketing bonanza for many businesses. Take for example the Jumping Bean Coffee House (@JBCoffeHouse) on Mountain Avenue. On most days, the Jumping Bean posts their daily breakfast, lunch and coffee specials along respective prices. Loveland realtor Doug Lindstrom (@BerthoudMLS) with Metro Brokers frequently posts listings of properties for sale or open houses in Berthoud on his Twitter account.
But the best part of using social media sites for businesses? It’s all free. Unlike direct mail or other advertising campaigns, social media sites are free to use. Unless you hire a consultant or marketing firm to handle your social media advertising for you, the only investment is time.
Surprisingly, only a handful of Berthoud businesses have taken advantage of this free advertising. Hopefully that will all change in the near future. After all, what better way to promote your business, your town and your community ¬¬¬¬– all at no charge?