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Study: Americans Spend 23% of Internet Time on Social Networking Sites and Blogs

Whether it’s AT&T’s local social search experiment buzz.com, SuperMedia’s digital coupon Twitter channels, or Yellow Pages Group’s early integration of new Facebook social plug-ins, our industry has made major strides this year in introducing new ways for businesses to reach consumers in the social media space.

And today, we have further indication that our full-speed-ahead approach to embracing opportunities in social media will pay off in the long run.

New research from Nielsen shows that Americans spend 23% of their time online on social networking sites and blogs, up from 16% just a year ago. Now, social networking is the single most popular online activity, ahead of online gaming, e-mail, portals and instant messaging.

And not only are consumers spending more time in social media, they’re taking advantage of new tools designed to increase business and product visibility and drive sales.

The Facebook social plug-ins that YPG, and now other IYP providers, have integrated into their listings (i.e. the “Like” button) are attracting praise from businesses for increasing visits from Facebook to e-commerce sites, according to today’s Wall Street Journal.

Facebook said that each of the the 350,000 websites that have implemented the free social plug-ins so far have seen an average one- to five-fold increase in referral traffic from Facebook. Gilt Group, the online clothing store, experienced a 50% leap in sales from Facebook the week after introducing the “Like” button onto its sales pages. That’s pretty good indication that social media can deliver the business results we’ve all hoped it would.

As an industry, we’ve done a great job getting on the social media bandwagon. Now we have the opportunity to deliver real results for our clients. What new services and synergies can we offer that turn social networkers into local business buyers?

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