rising chartNielsen’s social media report for the third quarter shows some amazing growth in the use of social media. The report indicates that two factors are driving the change: more people are using mobile phones and tablets to access the networks and the proliferation of new social platforms. Two areas where social media is evolving: the phenomenon of multiple screening setting up what Nielsen calls the global living room and the use of social media as a customer care channel.

The numbers show some interesting trends:

  • More people are connecting to the internet for longer periods of time. The highest increase? Use of mobile apps—up 85% from last year.
  • Mobile apps also account for the place where minutes on the internet have increased the most.
  • Even though PCs still account for the majority of time spent on social media networks (61%), the use of mobile apps has climbed to claim 34% of the total time spent on social networks.
  • A look at the top networks? Facebook down 4% and Pinterest up a whopping 1,047%. Google Plus also making significant gains in the last year—up 80%. Twitter up 13%. However, to temper that news, Facebook still dominates the number of total minutes people spend online.
  • The Pinterest audience has some unique audience characteristics: dominantly white females in the U.S.
  • Weirdest stat: nearly 1/3 of those ages 18-24 social network in the bathroom.
  • Sentiment stat to watch: 76% of social users feel more positive after their social networking experience. Could this be where people are going to get their motivational fix?
  • Twitter has emerged as the key drive of social TV interaction.

Looking at the numbers, there are a few keys questions organizations need to ask:

  1. Are we using responsive web design that automatically optimizes our content regardless of how people access our information? This is now a requirement of doing business on the web.
  2. Do we have a social presence on channels that match our customer demographic? Social media is following the cable TV trend—specialization. If your product is specialized to young mothers in the U.S., you should probably consider Pinterest. If you are advertising on TV, you might want to consider being on Twitter.
  3. Have you considered diversifying your content to include location-based campaigns if you are a walk-up retailer or have events? Promotions that take advantage of mobile access might be worth considering.

What other key takeaways do you see from the new data? It’s your turn to share in the comments.