Job losses have led to substantial rises in social media usage, particularly for more professionally-oriented platforms such as LinkedIn, which has experienced a 200% year-over-year growth. While the jury is proverbially out on its effectiveness in helping folks find jobs, rising social media use is an obviously positive trend for those invested in monetizing the medium such as News Corp, which owns MySpace, and Google which owns Orkut and other platforms.
But more importantly in the long term, despite social media’s persistent struggles to monetize, its impact on the economy might be more far-reaching than ad sales profits or short-term job creation in new media. The unbridled growth in social media usage can be a helpful factor in mobilizing out-of-work human capital into entrepreneurial activities, integral to rebuilding any economy.
If, in fact this much studied trend has positive impact on job markets, China will be well positioned for quick recovery. According to Netpop data reported in AdAgeChina, 92% (224 million) of China’s 243M internet using consumers over age 13 and above contribute to social media, compared to 105 million Americans, or 76% of that country’s broadband population.
Forty-three percent of Chinese broadband users (105 million people) communicate via forums/discussion boards, and 41 million Chinese are “heavy” social media contributors, meaning they participate in six or more activities and connect with at least 84 people on a “one to many” basis in a typical week. 84 people, for the average person, is a big rolodex to run through in a typical week.
McKinsey & Co. recently published an in-depth “conversation starter” on the topic of social media. From a media perspective, the increase in usage by unemployed professionals might initially be a blessing in disguise. Aside from the obvious recruitment ad, the right type of brand would get tremendous bank for their buck by advertising on social media sites. Traffic spikes across similar social networkign sites tends to commodify ad space, reducing CPM rates even as the number of users climb.
Critical thinking, particularly in these hard times, is essential to giving a brand the maximum exposure for their media dollar. Contact your Criterion Global media buyer for more information on whether social media marketing – whether to professional audiences, younger consumers, the ultra-affluent, or a more specific demographic – is right for your brand.