Gini Dietrich

By the Numbers…Where Social Media is Today

By: Gini Dietrich | April 10, 2012 | 

I’m on a plane again, which means I have takeoff and landing time to catch up on reading.

In the bundle I packed with me this trip is the April issue of Inc. (you’re welcome, Margie…now you don’t have to read this one either).

In the “Crunching the Numbers” section, they take a look at how many of us use Google to find local businesses.

What do you think is the number?

I think you’ll be surprised.

Only 14% said they do every day…and 24% said never.

MDG Advertising and Search Engine Land

I’m kind of shocked. It certainly explains how things such as Siri are moving us toward apps vs. the web, but it’s still shocking it’s that low.

As well, Social Media Examiner released their Social Media Marketing Industry Report and there are some interesting findings in it.

They looked at:

  • Value of social media
  • Strategy vs. measurement
  • Use of video
  • Google+
  • Top benefits of use
  • Top networks of use
  • Outsourcing
  • B2B vs. B2C
  • Use based on the size of companies

One of the things I find most interesting is, of the top 10 questions marketers ask about social media, measurement is number one. Yet, when we talk about how and what to measure, there may as well be crickets reading the posts. My Marketing in the Round co-author, Geoff Livingston, discusses this very topic today.

We want to know how to measure, but (based on our collective experience) no one seemingly wants to do the hard work to get there.

Other things of interest include 83% said social media is important to their businesses, but that’s down from 90% last year.

As well, smaller businesses (those with 10 or less employees) spend more time on the social networks than that of their larger peers.

And they cited increased exposure and traffic as the top reasons they continue to use the sites.

As for plans to increasing efforts this year, 70% said they are going to add video. Not surprising, as so many of us are visual learners, yet many companies use only text.

There are also some things that won’t surprise you such as Facebook is the number one tool for more than 80% of respondents and the younger generation is using it more effectively. But Google+ and photo sharing sites, such as Instagram (wonder if that will change now that Facebook owns them?) made the top 10 lists for most…and they weren’t on the list last year.

The report is free through April 19, if you want to take a gander yourself.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • The one question I have about the study from Social Media Examiner is who are their respondents? They identify them as marketers. 3800 of them. Shoot, I could fart and hit 3800 self identified marketers right around here (OK, I was gonna say “sneeze” but figured I’d use the f-word for lisagerber ‘s sake!). 
    Do they really represent small business? Most of my clients would never identify themselves as marketers. They are small business owners and operators who use social media, but are they represented here?
    Just thinking out loud…

    •  @KenMueller C’mon Ken, if you are going to drop the F-bomb you have to give us some options 
      What? I never said I was grown up………..

      •  @bdorman264 @KenMueller OMG! You guys are going to get yourself banned from Spin Sucks! I do have the power, you know. EWWWWWWWW!

      • ginidietrich

         @bdorman264  @Lisa Gerber FART!!

        •  @ginidietrich @bdorman264 @lisagerber I once worked with a project manager at an ad agency in GA – he was very gay and very Southern. His term for ‘fart’? ‘Trouser cough.’

        •  @jasonkonopinski  @ginidietrich  @lisagerber Ah yes, the gay southern accent; very distinct indeed……….:)

    • ginidietrich

       @KenMueller  The results aren’t for small business owners, though. They’re for our peers. I want to know what the marketing people inside companies are doing – they’re our clients for AD, our target for Spin Sucks Pro, and they’ll buy the book. I definitely want to know how they’re doing their jobs.

      •  @ginidietrich But in reading this report, I’m not convinced that it’s our peers either. It seems like a mishmash. They solicited respondents, so there isn’t a lot of scientific sampling behind this one. It’s all based on self-reporting.

        •  @KenMueller  @ginidietrich Self-reporting isn’t inherently flawed, but we do have exercise a bit of critical thinking to suss out the important details.  Serendipitously, this new study from Arbitron/Edison Research is really, really eye-opening about consumption trends. 

        •  @jasonkonopinski  @ginidietrich Self reporting coupled with a free for all solicitation of respondents is a big issue and would cause most studies to be dismissed. And don’t get me started on Arbitron/Edison. I blame my gray hair on having to deal with Arbitron’s methodology for 13 years of my life. Their methodology on media reporting has been based on keeping themselves in business.

  • And while I’m thinking out loud, one other question that never seems to get asked: define the word “use”. We rely on self-reporting to answer “Do you use social media?” . How I define that term, and how someone else defines it might be very different. For many, just creating a Facebook page or having a G+ profile makes them think they are using it.  We really need to dig deeper.

    •  @KenMueller Is that like President Clinton wanting the definition of sex? Just asking……….:)

      • ginidietrich

         @bdorman264  @KenMueller What Bill said.

        •  @ginidietrich @bdorman264 @KenMueller social media is really any tools that allow social communication and those go back to sumer with cuneform writing 5000 years ago. So while maybe Bill is old enough to still use a stylus most of us canb definitely say we have used social media all our life.

        •  @HowieSPM  @ginidietrich  @KenMueller Hey, I’m not old, but I do know some old people…………

    • ginidietrich

       @KenMueller Just like any study, the data is open to interpretation.

  • KevinVandever

    No Siri, no searchi. What did I do before her? I can’t even remember.

    • ginidietrich

       @KevinVandever I don’t remember, either! She calls me Princess Gini. I love her.

      •  @ginidietrich @KevinVandever my sister just got the 4S and I am amazed that Siri is not objective. It seems her answers always steer towards whatever makes Apple money. We asked where is the closest Hamburger joint she said ITunes. We asked what is the best smart phone. She said Apple IPhone. We asked for best social network she said Ping, See totally subjective.

  • I’m an instagramoholic now that droid users were invited to the party. Not entirely sure how it would be a business tool unless you’re a photographer. I know google is growing faster than a chia pet, but it’s still my least effective platform. It’s like I went to a high school dance without a date (sigh). Also agree with KDiddy’s comments below. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting for Margie as well, she’s overworked as it is 🙂

    • ginidietrich

       @SociallyGenius Did you go to the high school dance without a date?

      •  @ginidietrich @SociallyGenius I joined Instagram on Saturday and left today now that I am Instaphobic since I don’t feel any Facebook companies should be allowed to intermarry.

        • @HowieSPM I hear you… But where else are you going to see my epicly filtered photos @ginidietrich

      • @ginidietrich no, i knew I should have added that in a footnote. That’s all you got out of my comment?!?! But I have an idea how it feels because it seems every year there was “that” kid in our limo who just twittled his thumbs while the other couples were making out. And then at the event going on a scavenger hunt just to get a slow dance(+1?)… Its just not worth the trouble and humiliation

  • I am not surprised about the Google numbers. When I want to find a national brand business I often type the brand’s website and use their store locator. I also use Yelp (and sometimes foursquare) for restaurants. I use Google maps/GPS when driving to find things nearby on the map. I rarely use Google to find a business. But I bet if you asked that same group how many people Google for something each day I bet it is 70%.
    and I bet we never Googled much for a local business. if we need location we had yellow pages, and Yahoo etc. But we Google for ‘Things’ and often they are things we want to buy with either a General search – Shovels or Specific Rigid Shovels. And the Google shopping tab is pretty powerful I use it all the time to compare pricing.
    But I just blogged that businesses need to focus on being talked about vs talking to people because we can’t talk to 98% of our customers without serious people power (negative roi) since we really don’t want to talk to brands or businesses very often (super duper rare I talk to any besides Chobani) but we talk about them all the time – can you say listening program? which I think @Lisa Gerber knows something about.

    •  @HowieSPM  @Lisa Gerber I avoid Yelp like the plague these days. They have become one of the most difficult companies to deal with, engaging in extortion tactics. I think more businesses will be jumping ship once they realize what is going on there. 

      •  @KenMueller  @Lisa Gerber BTW Kennnnnnnn! Yes I fully agreed with you and hackmanj on Yelp I think they are a devious company. They ask you if you want to advertise on your competitors page! And if you get a review that is full on beyond respectful they have zero customer service not even a number to call. Oh and btw every other second someone calls a business from the Yelp! APP. A bit of spin they learned from facebook stats. Comes out to 86 calls per state per day. Which makes it indespensible
        But their app is slick.

        •  @HowieSPM  @Lisa Gerber  hackmanj But they will call you to sell you their services. I have a client that has been getting a lot of really good reviews. But Yelp isn’t showing them. Turns out their algorithm is designed to prevent you from getting too many good (and presumably bad) reviews. But if you pay them $300 a month…they’ll help you with that. 

      • ginidietrich

         @KenMueller  @HowieSPM  I love Yelp when I travel because it’s the best way to get information about restaurants. I use it all the time. Sorry, Ken.
        In the presentation I gave this morning, we spent about 25 minutes talking about what you say here, Howie. How you need to create content so people talk about you vs the other way around. MUCH more efficient.

        •  @ginidietrich  @KenMueller  @HowieSPM @Lisa Gerber I think Yelp is good for some things but for most small businesses (especially B2B) combined with their tactics is a really bad formula. It’s a great place to check B2C stuff though, and I also use it for warning other consumers about bad service.
          I took this one a little farther of the rails. Thanks for inviting me to the conversation.

        •  @hackmanj  @ginidietrich  @KenMueller  @HowieSPM I don’t know how I lived before Yelp. It’s the tourism guide/brochure/book killer. But I’m bummed to hear about the behind the scenes stuff. That’s too bad. 

        •  @hackmanj  @ginidietrich  @HowieSPM  @Lisa Gerber that’s ok, I still like you Gini. The problem is that they are filtering out a lot of useful user generated comments, and allowing some through that shouldn’t get through. And they are preventing a lot of businesses from claiming their sites and updating their info. In principal it’s a good site, but they have become the new Yellow Pages in the way they market. adamtoporek  has written about them as well. 

        •  @ginidietrich  @KenMueller not just content. a great product or customer experience works too. Or you can have an amazing farmers market like ken owns in Lancaster.

        •  @KenMueller @HowieSPM @ginidietrich @Lisa Gerber You’re spot on Ken. It’s like dealing with two different companies based on whether you are an advertiser (or potential advertiser) or someone who is just trying to correct their business listing. And that’s the problem, because as is obvious from the comments on this post, their listings/reviews have power and can affect people’s livelihoods. Yet, it seems, the resources dedicated to maintaining editorial/product integrity are grossly insufficient.

        •  @Lisa Gerber  @hackmanj  @ginidietrich  @KenMueller  @HowieSPM Just don’t make eye contact; it will be ok…………

  • Are you leaving Instagram due to new ownership? I didn’t have that reaction as I did when I learned Twitter bought TweetDeck. That could change.
    Yes, I totally ignored the crux of your post because I have to catch up on my own Inc. reading and want to be impressed with this research all by myself.

    • ginidietrich

       @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing The only research that came from Inc. was the first graph. Everything else is the SME survey.
      And no…I don’t care that Facebook owns Instagram. I post photos to FB too. Big deal.

  • KarenARocks

    I never use Yelp because in my dealings with it, the trolls and whiners seem to rule the scene so I don’t trust it. One of my clients had an account and it was littered with untruths from a non compliant patient. And I don’t use it for restaurants because I am that much of a food snob that I don’t trust reviews from people I don’t know.  For all I know, they could think Paula Deen is a really good cook and that is their level of comparison.
    Thanks @ginidietrich  for the great info…although my favorite indirect tidbit was the “trouser cough”. I filed that golden nugget away for future use.

    • ginidietrich

       @KarenARocks LOL! That has to be used in a blog post.

  • I hate to be THAT guy who says “this doesn’t surprise me” but honestly, it doesn’t. I very rarely use Google to find a local business. I’ll use Yelp or some community site (here in Salem we have a nice one for local restaraunts)

    • ginidietrich

       @notwillsmith I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by it, but I am. I mean, only 14% use Google to find a local business? That really is shocking to me. I guess I underestimated apps like Yelp (which is what I use, especially if I’m traveling). 

      • rustyspeidel

        @ginidietrich @notwillsmith I ONLY use Google.

  • rustyspeidel

    Funny, I ONLY use Google for this task.

  • StorchMurphy

    I don’t know. I’m kind of surprised by the low score as well given the following article also ran. 

    Granted it’s not exactly apples to apples given that one survey looks at searches for local business through Google and the other looks at the popularity of Google versus FB, Twitter, and Apple. 
    However, it seems to me that an 82% favorability rating for Google would intimate that many more people are using it–including to search for local business information.
    Personally, when I’m looking for anything related to a local business, Google is my starting point, and then I drill down to the Yelps and et ceteras of the virtual world from there.

    • ginidietrich

       @StorchMurphy That’s what I do, too. Which is why I’m so surprised the number is so low. I suppose people are either using apps like Yelp or they’re still doing the old fashioned thing and asking their friends.
      I thought of something you should consider as you grow your professional brand. I’ll DM you on Twitter.

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  • These stats don’t surprise me at all. Small biz is realizing social media return because they are small enough to relate to people personally. Big biz might have the budget to pay for posts, but it’s not th same. Also not surprising is that Google+ is making he top 10 list, because first is not always best. Google+ waited until other sites stumbled around and then it came out as the new model. Hangouts aren’t just for shooting the breeze. They are for initiating f2f conversation instantly.

    • ginidietrich

       @browneknows It doesn’t surprise you that people aren’t looking for local businesses on Google? That one surprises me. 

  • margieclayman

    I like Gini. She is a smart woman and very kind, but even more than that, she reads magazines for me and then writes posts that so nicely evaluate and summarize same. 
    I am working on a plan whereby Gini does more for me, like write posts that result in me having dinner. Stay tuned.

    •  @margieclayman Might as well, I heard she has a lot of free time on her hands and you know what ‘they’ say about idle hands……………

    • ginidietrich

       @margieclayman And sharing dessert!

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  • danielleawilson

    I guess I’m in the minority too because I was surprised by the number of people who use Google to find local businesses too. Although, I was initially a fan of Yelp, I think the flaws in their business model are too great for it too be a useful tool. The inherent bias toward people posting bad reviews over good reviews skews the ratings in a way that makes me not trust the site. Also, the number of stories I’ve heard of businesses falsely boosting their rating is scary!
    I think most often my mode of search for local businesses is through asking my network either in person or on Facebook/Twitter for a suggestion, followed by googling a suggestion to see location/hours/fit to my needs. 

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