Research is Finally Catching Up

When I present on how social media is affecting disasters and disaster response, folks in the audience always ask for best practices. What social network should my agency be on? When should we be posting? How much social media is too much, or too little? My response, while good (if I may say so myself) was always kinda squishy. Stories and anecdata, I’d say. This is my experience, I’d say. I’ve heard that, I’d say.

Not very reassuring for folks pinching pennies and nickels.

But I’d always qualify my statement that the field is evolving very quickly. Tens of thousands of people are betting their lives and livelihoods on the idea that social media is the future and can return on investments. They were trying all kinds of things to make a buck, and pretty soon, they’d have a good idea what that magical formula was. And it looks like we’re finally seeing the results of all of that work.

One of my favorite webapps in the world is Buffer. They help to schedule and spread out posts so you don’t overwhelm your audience. I use it constantly. And their blog? One of the best out there. Recently, they posted on social media studies, highlighting seven key things folks have learned. Honestly, even I learned some things from the post, it was that good.

The list is as follows, but this is just a tease, you should definitely click through to get the direct links to the studies:

  1. Over 120 Billion Facebook Impressions later – what we learnt (post length)
  2. Almost half of online customers expect brands to provide customer service on Facebook, but only 23% provide it
  3. The science of social timing: When, how often and where should you post?
  4. Click-Through Rates May Matter Even Less Than We Thought
  5. 70% of Consumers Trust Brand Recommendations From Friends
  6. Social Networks Account for 20% of Time Spent Online
  7. Shelf Life of Social Media Links Only 3 Hours (bitly social media stats)

And here’s my bonus resource. You all know that I encourage folks to be themselves, to have fun, especially on social media. Well, the king of being funny online, Ben Huh (of I Can Haz Cheeseburger and a million cat memes fame), was interviewed at a recent tech conference. The interview perfectly crystallizes what I’ve been saying for years. And the fact that Mr. Huh is wildly successful on social media, so if you don’t believe me, you need to check him out.

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