Firstly, social media is popular! Facebook has over 1 billion users and is visited by 50% of all internet users. In terms of other major social networks the statistics are as follows:
- Twitter has 500 million users (over 200 million of whom are active users)
- LinkedIn 225 million users
- YouTube 1 billion users
- Pinterest nearly 50 million users
- Instagram 100 million users
- Google+ nearly 350 million users
You may be unsure about social media but we live in an increasingly networked and social world where both individuals and businesses use social media sites on a daily basis. It isn’t however just young people who use social media – it has been embraced by people of all ages.
Secondly, Universities are increasingly using social media – nearly all the Universities surveyed as part of the SM4BCE project had a presence on the four biggest social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. UK Universities, by and large, have embraced social media for student recruitment and communication but business and community activity has so far lagged behind. Only 22% of the Universities in our survey are using Twitter to engage with business partners and only 51% are using LinkedIn for this purpose. Furthermore businesses increasingly expect Universities to promote their business-facing activities via media.