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October 7, 2012

Social networks touch big numbers

NORMAN — Author’s note: Source data originated at www.socialnomics.com

Facebook announced last week that its one billionth user joined the pioneering social network site. Just to put into perspective the impact of that figure, consider that it took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users and 13 years for TV to hit the same milestone. Facebook had more than 200 million users before it marked one year on the calendar.

While at a workshop this week for email marketing, I saw a short video called “Social Media Revolution 2012” which is on You Tube. The most astonishing figure in that clip to me was that if Facebook was a country, it would be the third largest after China and India. 

Facebook, however, is just the tip of the iceberg when talking about social media. New social sites pop up more frequently than orange cones do in Norman. There are an estimated 200 million bloggers writing on social sites. Of those 200 million, 34 percent post about products and brands; 25 percent of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content. Furthermore, 78 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations while 14 percent trust advertisements.

Among travel sites, TripAdvisor.com is one of the most visited; very modest estimates show that tens of millions users visit the site in a month. On the site, travelers can read reviews as they plan their trips from lodging to dining to sightseeing and entertainment. Potential travelers can read first-hand experiences about our hotels, restaurants and more. 

Two of the biggest investments within our marketing budget for online are with TravelOK.com (mentioned last week) and with TripAdvisor.com to promote travel to Norman. We sponsor the Norman Tourism page with VisitNornan.com banner ads. 

Keeping in mind that 78 percent of consumers place more trust in peer recommendations – the kind of reviews listed on TripAdvisor, for example – all of us in Norman can provide reviews of our hotels, eateries and entertainment options and promote our city on TripAdvisor.

After all, the tag line in the clip summed up the facts and figures by saying, “Social media is not a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.” 

Stefanie Brickman is the communications manager of the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau. The NCVB exists to promote the city and to attract visitors.

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