Social Media Stats & Black Friday 2012

Every year, the frenzy of Black Friday grows and 2012 is no different. With people now camping outside stores and waiting up to a week before Friday to get deals, social media has become more ingrained into the culture of holiday shopping.

Why is Social Media Important?
Waiting in line after a big post-Thanksgiving meal is tough and customers must have something to do while they wait, right? This infographic shows that 57% of consumers plan to use social media sites for finding discounts; 51% will use it for reading reviews and 49% to get gift ideas. These numbers seem to be growing every year

And don’t forget about check-ins. Take a look at these stats by Foursquare from last year:

Whether checking in via Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you can expect manic shoppers to post pictures of their loot.

The Shopping Experience
Many people who ridicule the idea of Black Friday argue that “deals” aren’t really worth the hassle…not to mention the potential headaches and injuries! Here are some other reasons shoppers are excited about shopping on Black Friday: sharing the experienced with a friend or family member, planning a strategy of what to get and where to go next, and participating in an annual tradition. Whatever the reasons may be, shoppers must have a good one to brave the Black Friday mayhem at malls and stores.

Avoiding Black Friday Altogether
Attention e-commerce businesses! This year, Cyber Monday is officially turning 7. The projected revenue from this year’s online shopping holiday is a staggering $1.42 billion. It’s also predicted that 60% of social media chatter will come from Facebook, 15% from Twitter and 5% from Pinterest.

But if masses of people or commercial stores aren’t your thing, Small Business Saturday might be right up your alley. This Saturday, millions of people are pledging to help local small businesses by shopping small and you can join too!

Web Hosting Solutions for Small Businesses

Website hosting is an important but often overlooked step when preparing a new site. Whereas some may think to find the “cheapest” option available, it helps in the long run to choose a company that can accommodate your business needs. Cheap is cheap and you get what you pay for in web hosting. That doesn’t mean that you have to pay a monthly fortune… but instead, be more aware of the options you have and the ones you should look for:

Reliable servers – Does the company have a good track record? Search the company name + reviews to find out what other customers have to say. When your site is hosted on an unreliable server, your site may go down. Your site could even be hacked and injected with virus – not a fun thing to deal with or explain to clients!

Watch out for hidden fees – While some companies offer a low upfront fee, they may try to tack on additional costs when you need something else. For example, fees for email, website backup, and fees to transfer a domain – which is something that should commonly be included in the price you initially pay.

Customer service that’s readily available – Nothing’s worse than seeing that your website is down and having no one to help you out. Let’s say you sell jewelery online and your site is down during peak-Valentine’s Day buying hours. During this precious time lost, you will be losing potential customers and there’s nothing that you can do to make it up, except prepare for precautions in the first place. In a more serious scenario, imagine that the company operates on limited hours and is not open during the weekends. Who will be there to help you when you need assistance? Can your business really afford to wait?

Flexible options – All small businesses are not alike and understandably so, you should have a variety of different hosting options. Make sure that you don’t get locked into something that you don’t understand clearly and that there is room for upgrades or downgrades, if necessary.

Here are some helpful resources to check out before you choose a web host. And if you need the opinion of a website marketing firm, we’re always here to help!

10 Worst Web Hosting Providers as rated by About.com readers
Website Hosting Buying Guide by CNET
Web Hosting Reviews – 7052 Web Hosting User Reviews