I have seen some startling statistics on social media usage recently. I have attended social media seminars full of small business owners palpably energized by hearing about the cascade of potential business in the social media universe. I can see them thinking “Is this as amazing as it sounds?” and/or “How do I do this?”
You may know the old saying, “There are lies, there are damned lies, and then there are statistics”. It is also true that statistics can be manipulated to say almost anything. However, the beauty of social media is that there are a lot of third party measures available to mitigate the filters of proprietary statistical analysis. In other words - you can believe the hype.
Here are the highlights:
·2 billion people worldwide now have Internet access.
·There are over 500 million Facebook users and 200 million Twitter users worldwide.
·70 billion minutes per month are spent on Facebook alone! 70 Billion! That is more than all the Google, Yahoo and Microsoft-related websites combined.
·More than 70% of online Americans visit blogs, online communities, and social networks regularly. These sites influence the buying choices and preferences of 47% of users.
·As you would expect, 20-45 year olds visit blogs, online communities, and social networks the most – at a rate of approximately 80%.
·Over 50% of the 45+ crowd are visiting the same sites. This is the fastest growing demographic in the social media universe.
·Nearly 4 out of 5 web users visit a social networking site on a monthly basis.
·As detailed in the social media guidebook, TwittFaced, social media is not the place that people get away from businesses. According to research by Cone Inc., 93% of Americans believe that companies should be interacting in the social media space.
·The same Cone Inc. study found that 85% of respondents think that a company should interact with its customers via social media. While 56% feel a closer rapport with companies using social media and feel better served. The study is now 3 years old and I would expect those rates are now higher.
·From 2008 - 2012, the percentage of US companies using social media for marketing is expected to double(from 42% to 88%).
·There are over 12 million small-business people onLinked In - roughly 20% of its total user base. The networking opportunities are enormous.
Retrevo, an online electronics retailer, conducted a survey of 1000 online individuals. While some of the results of the survey might seem irrelevant to the business world on first glance, I think these numbers reflect how our behaviors are changing with technology, and the direct impact they will have:
·48% of those surveyed check-in on Facebook and Twitter in the middle of the night, or as soon as they wake up in the morning. Most are under 25.
·56% of social media users check Facebook at least once a day. 12% use Facebook every couple of hours.
·Of the under 25’s, 22% don’t mind being interrupted during a meeting, 49% are OK being interrupted during a meal, 11% don’t mind during sex, and 24% don’t mind interruptions while in the bathroom. For over 25’s, the numbers halve.
These stats make you sit up and ask “How can I make this work for me?” Unfortunately for many small business owners this is like stepping into the void. The unfamiliarity of the social media space for business, the massive initial time commitment, and the lack of knowledge of systems and applications loom large. You can see how the initial excitement easily dissipates into the realities of time and knowledge constraints.
But remember, social media is not a trend or a fad. It is the social component of the ever-quickening evolution of communication technology. It is being integrated into our daily lives at an elemental level.
Social media is not only the future but the NOW of advertising, promotion and customer relationship management. If you have a business, you must find the time, energy and resources to keep pace with the evolution.
There are social media professionals out there who can help you get started and stay the course. But don’t listen to people trying to sell you fairy dust. Building effective social media networks does take time. So let’s get movin’ …
So the rest of this makes sense, make sure you read The Madness that is the MAGIC Fashion Trade Shows – Day 1 blog on my website, paulbrindleyconsults.com
We started Day 2 behind schedule at the workroom showcase at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. workroom self-describes as “an authentically raw environment that focuses on nurturing progressive directional collections and retailers.” I would agree. workroom is the true progressive contemporary section of the entire MAGIC fashion-a-rama. The clothing, accessories and shoe brands are carefully selected, juried, and well worth a close look.
The space has the look and feel of a working collective. At some booths, designers work at sewing machines in front of their collections, ready to engage as required. The almost 100 brands that were represented impressed with their handmade quality and diversity of textures with design ranging from thoughtful to inspired.
workroom reflected the imagination being shown by some designers in a universally tough economic market that has dictated the need to keep production costs and price points down.The use of mixed media and texture to give dimension to the largely knit-driven world we currently inhabit, draping, asymmetrical and cropped silhouettes, more denim, and fringing and fur (faux, I hope!). Overall, I came away with the impression of an updated take on the late 70’s/early 80’s art school look – minus the overalls and cover-alls (more on these later).
I thought a great example is Stina Baaz, a high quality Swedish/American tailored sportswear line. With a classy look and feel, a great take on mixing fabrics (e.g. canvas and fur), and some eye-catching styling (particularly their cropped bomber jacket); Stina Baaz is what workroom is all about. The mixed media pieces have not made their website as yet – stinabaaz.com.
The color palette of workroom was very Fall; lots of black, grey, plum, and a dark green that Tracy thought ‘Hunter’, and I blurted out ‘Army’. I think Tracy was right. The green was the richer, more jewel-toned Hunter.
Flowing from workroom are the hundreds of booths of Project. If workroom is the fashion epicenter of MAGIC, Project is where the contemporary creative explosion begins to diffuse into hard commerce. Project also showcases women’s and men’s clothing, accessories and shoe brands.
The collections, while contemporary, are largely derivative of near-term trends. This is what is ‘now’ commercially, or will be ‘now’ for Fall 2011. Knits were dominant, and color palettes muted and tonal with occasional orange providing pop.
Some of the highlights for me:
It was great to see the Australian swimwear and fashion collection, Tiger Lily - tigerlilyswimwear.com.au
Across the same aisle as Tiger Lily were two of my favorite people, Rick and Chelsea with the one of my favorite bag lines, George Gina & Lucy from Germany –
The denim powerhouses in full force – True Religion, AG, Joe’s, et al.
I liked the worn, scuffed shoe look for men that is in for Fall.
Wildfox had its models swanning about in brightly colored and printed coveralls. Wildfox has a strong following in the young contemporary world – wildfoxcouture.com
Fluxus designed by Jeffrey Sebelia, the Project Runway Season 3 winner - fluxusbrand.com
Pool was fun this time around. Pool is an eclectic mix of emerging contemporary artists and designers in their own space away from the combined workroom and Project floor; though I would prefer to see the three connected to make sure the young Pool designers are not missed.
You name it, it’s at Pool. Clothing, shoes, bags, hats, jewelry, accessories of all kinds, and even the wonderful Kamibashi String Doll keyrings – kamibashi.com
Designs are bright and fun, with whimsical prints, edgy printed tees, vintage and re-purposed fabrics, beautiful lacquered and enameled purses and bags, hipster hats, caps and sunglasses, vintage and industrial inspired jewelry, and emerging contemporary designers that have real potential like Schwiing (“SCHWiiNG it up!” as their bio urges).
While Pool was worth the walk, I’m not sure I would put out the cash to exhibit here. Being separated from the workroom/Project space, a contemporary buyer could easily skip it if they were crunched for time or had preconceived ideas that couldn’t be conveniently dispelled.
After Pool, we jumped into one of the complimentary limos that ferry people to and from the Mandalay Bay and the WWD MAGIC shows at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Tracy wanted a quick look, and I needed to buy some jewelry for my fiend Nancy Scott, and her two Z Fabrique stores –zfabrique.com
We then decided on an 11th hour dash to the Venetian to check out the MODA and Curves shows, followed by a long march from the monorail to check out the ENK show and scout the spa shop the Wynn.We got to both places late but not late enough not to bump into some sales reps that Tracy knows who told us that MODA was slow. I will definitely be walking and reporting on the ENK and MODA shows in August.
Day 2 of the Madness that is MAGIC ended with shoes off and well-deserved drinks in hand at the lounge bar at the Wynn … and they certainly weren’t the last of the evening!