What Drives Social Media Growth?

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The growth of online and mobile commerce last year continue an exciting trend that shows no signs of slowing down. But perhaps the biggest news for online retailers comes out of a field not unrelated to eCommerce: social media. Recent statistics from eConsultancy unveil some growth numbers for major social media sites that nearly defy belief. A year ago, Twitter had around 75 million user accounts. Today, it has over 175 million. LinkedIn’s membership have jumped 100% to a high of 100 million, and over a million companies have pages on LinkedIn. Facebook reached 640 million users from 350 million last year, and experienced a 200% growth in number of users accessing the social media site through their mobile devices. So what drives social media growth, and how do you grow your business' social media presence?

One interesting note is that while social media sites like Facebook have grown at remarkable speeds, the growth of other sharing sites has slowed or even stagnated. Sites that have experienced this slow down are generally single purpose sites like Blogger, or Flikr. Taking this into account, it’s not only possible but likely that more internet users are consolidating their activities into social networks. Thanks to the growth and changes to existing social networks, it’s easier than ever to upload photos and videos to your profile, and a typical internet user no longer has to go to an image uploading site to share a picture.

The prevalence of mobile devices with internet access have undoubtedly contributed to this consolidation. New, built-in apps on smartphones allow users to upload pictures and videos instantly with the touch of a button. Social media with its status updates, and twitter with its short messaging, are ideal for mobile users to access on-the-go. Even users who wouldn’t actively use social networking might type up a short twitter update on the train or bus. This has huge implications for social media business strategy and places newfound importance on growing social media presence for online businesses.

Causes of social media growth aside, there is one concrete conclusion that can be drawn from this: the social media phenomenon is not going anywhere. More people are jumping on the bandwagon than ever before, and online businesses must improve their social media business strategy and focus on growing their social media presence, because social media and business growth are now related more than ever. Companies who don't invest in social media marketing will risk losing out on a significant platform that can be used to sell products and connect with their customers.