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'2012' is a year in the eye of the storm for reasons galore. Most of us into business would be gearing up for the festive season promotions, review meetings and charting out the next year's calendar. Coming onto Social Media networking, it too has seen its share of hits and misses this year.

While Pinterest expanded its features to facilitate businesses, Instagram has introduced a Web version and Facebook too joined the bandwagon by expanding its advertising options. With so much trending, businesses and SMBs in particular have a great opportunity to plan out for the future. Analytical knowledge is a handy tool when it comes to judging the market trends and keep track of one's competitors.

Here's the 'data book' of 3 Social Media platforms that have created some ripples in the consumer market this year.


FACEBOOK

- For starts some interesting demographics. Of the total 850 million active monthly users, 43% are males while 57% are females. An average Facebook users has 130 friends.

- What contributes so much to this site's success is good accessbility through various devices. Its been found that 488 million users accross the globe use Facebook mobile. But the game spoiler is always the lack of caution on the user's part. 25% of Facebook users do not have privacy settings. The reasons can be purely a personal choice or else the lack of knowledge about the various control measures.

- Geographically, in 2012 alone Facebook has seen a 41% growth accross Russia, South Korea, India, Japan and Brazil. The latter publishes the maximum number of posts- 86,000 per month from 800 pages.

- Coming onto the most important aspect, eCommerce, 80% of social media users, be it the businesses or clients, prefer to connect with brands  through Facebook. It has been the budding platform for branding and advertising especially for Small Businesses. As many as 77% of B2C firms and 43% firms have been able to draw clients through their Facebook promotions.

- In addition, more than 1 million websites have integrated with Facebook so far. The much known gaming developer company Zynga's revenue contributed to 12% of Facebook's total earnings this year.


Twitter

- Twitter has seen 1 million user accounts being created in 2012, of which 50% connect via mobile platform. The top 3 countries ruling Twitter include the USA (107 million), Brazil (33 million) and Japan (30 million). A user follows or is followed by at least 51 people on an average.

- The brownie point goes to Twitter for its personalized interaction between celebrities and fans, a notch higher than Facebook. Lady Gaga was the most followed celeb with 31 million followers, while YouTube was the stand out brand with 19 million fans. The much followed "Castle in the Sky" TV screening was tweeted the most with 25, 088 tweets per second.

- 2012 Presidential Elections have been at the centre-stage of American life this year, with a record breaking 31.7 million political tweets going on air. Infact, President Obama's re-election became the most retweeted tweet ever with over 800 thousand shares.  Does this really mean that Obama is a truly millenarian leader or is it a prudent exploitation of social media is a tough question to answer.

- Like its counterpart Facebook, Twitter also plays a major role as an advertising forum for businesses. To believe an insider's take, nearly 34% marketers generate considerable business opportunities via Twitter. It is projected that by 2014, Twitter's revenues will amount to a whopping $540 million, through advertising alone. We suggest - Go Businesses go !


Instagram

- In terms of venture capital backed web company, since Amazon's acquisition of Zappos in 2009, Instagram is the largest ever acquisition till date.

- This newbie start-up has been valued at $1 billion on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), more than the 161-year old New York Times Company.

- Being one of the largest media sharing platform of the times, 4 billion pictures have been shared on Instagram since its inception , with 78 million user likes in 2012 alone.

-Since the launch of the Android version, the average daily mobile visits have leaped from 886,000 to 7.3 million in 2012. Instagram had a record 1 million downloads in a single day since the launch of the Android app.

- Top brands, approximately 40%, feel Instagram is a fantastic marketing tool, leading to a considerable 10,000 followers this year. Well what's swell, almost sells!

If you are looking to expand your business beyond the school-book methodologies, these are just the right kind of launch pads for you.

You can share your views and opinions. If you know interesting data, feel free to share with us.

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