I came across the article with regard to a recent report by Experian. We all know that Social Media is growing in popularity and usage, but this report highlights the effect that this is having for online business. From Experian: Social networks are rapidly becoming the nation’s favourite online pastime.

As more time is being spent on social networking sites, Hitwise data shows retail brands tapping into the power of social media to drive online traffic and sales. Social networks are sending nearly 13% more traffic to online retailers this year than in 2009. Our new report “Getting to grips with Social Media” reveals that social networking sites accounted for 11.6% of all UK Internet visits during September, representing a year on year growth of 4.3%. Facebook accounts for 55% of all visits to social networking sites, making it by far the biggest social network in the UK. It is also the second biggest source of traffic to all websites after Google. Approximately 1 in 10 visits to a website in September came immediately after a visit to Facebook, up from 1 in 13 visits back in September 2009.

However, social media is not just about Facebook. Fast moving sites such as Vimeo, Badoo and tumblr have all at least doubled their online traffic in the last 12 months. Online retailers are increasingly relying on traffic from social media to drive sales and interest in their products. In September 2010, 9.1% of visits to the Shopping and Classifieds category came from social media, up from 8.3% in September 2009. Most of the online retail categories have seen an increase in traffic coming from social media this year with music, video and games leading the way.

The challenge for companies is still how to successfully use social media without infringing on what was previously considered a community space. For those brands that get it right, the rewards can be exceptional. For example, BlackBerry now receives more traffic from social networks than search engines largely because of the brand’s commitment to engage with consumers online. Contact us for more information how you can use Social Media as part of your Internet Marketing strategy.