For so many marketers, social media is still considered a guessing game. Like fads and trends of the past that have come and gone with varying levels of effectiveness, many have been slow to adopt social media as part of a lasting marketing strategy.
For the same reason my grandmother will never ‘get’ social media, many business executives balk when marketing managers approach them requesting big-budget campaigns involving Facebook or Twitter.
As we approach the halfway point in 2014, this may finally be shifting. In fact, according to recent studies and statistics, social media marketing insights indicate that social media continues exponential growth. While it may evolve and methods may change, the bottom line remains: social media can be an effective marketing tool when implemented properly.
With news stations integrating live Twitter feeds and using social media profiles as a form of ‘evidence’ for sourcing information in stories, all ages are being exposed to how integrated social media is. My grandmother is finally comfortable saying ‘tweet’ and knowing we’re not talking about birds.
More Adults Use Social Networks Than Adults Who Do Not
According to a recent Pew Research Center Internet Project study, 73% of all adults that are online use a social networking site of some sort. Almost half – 42% – use multiple social networking sites. This means that if you’re trying to market to adults, you’re probably wasting your time without a social presence of one kind or another. Social networking is no longer just for kids or young adults, the spectrum of usage is wide.
Social Networking Leads to Increased Traffic
Traffic is critical for online success. Traffic drives leads and enables higher chances of conversions. Without traffic, online growth potential is greatly diminished. Social Media Examiner’s latest study, the 2014 Social Media Marketing Internet Report, asked marketers about the exposure and traffic generated by social media efforts. 92% of respondents felt as though social media efforts generated more exposure than in the past for their businesses and 80% indicated that online efforts, including social media, generated additional traffic for their websites. These numbers are clear: marketers believe in the power of social media.
Social Media Allows Marketers to Learn
The best content marketing schemes, email marketing campaigns and promotions won’t make a difference if you’re not meeting customers and potential customers where they are and responding to needs in an efficient, effective manner. This means that connections must be developed over time and that learning from communities is critical for success; this isn’t anything new or an industry secret, it’s a proven fact.
The good news? Social media marketing allows marketers to engage their communities and to learn what needs exist. 71% of social media marketers use social networks to gain marketplace intelligence. If you had an opportunity to learn from your target market – and competition – wouldn’t you take it?
Along the same vein, think about how consumers learn on social media platforms. Most of the time they’re sold – wallets out – when a friend recommends something to them. Maybe it’s through a private conversation on Facebook or Twitter. For marketers, this means testimonials are fundamental to increasing conversions – regardless of your business. For example, a rehab and recovery center is a huge step for addicts seeking help. They need to feel comfortable with the facilities they consider, which is why substantial rehab patient testimonials are beneficial to potential registrants. The videos in that example allow future patients to experience the program through the eyes of current patients. This is very similar to having a peer recommend you a service.
It All Starts with Facebook
Yes, all networks have advantages. Instagram is great for mobile marketing and reaching out to customers visually. Twitter is an excellent way to communicate quickly and efficiently while driving traffic. Tumblr allows for live communication and sharing of all forms of media. However, when it comes to effective social media marketing, it starts with Facebook.
The ten-year-old network, used by 57% of adults in the U.S. and 73% of those falling into the 12 to 17-year demographic, is the largest in the world, with over 1 billion users. Each user has his or her own reasons for using the platform, ranging from a desire to share and see the photos and posts of other users, receiving updates and keeping up to date with news and current events to connecting with brands and celebrities. The average user has 338 friends – the number decreases with age.
These statistics give an inside look at the network, but the bottom line is that when looking for a place to start as far as social media marketing is concerned, Facebook is an excellent launch pad based on industry statistics.
In terms of advertising, Facebook allows social media marketers to hone in on very targeted demographics. If we’re selling products like a wood desk we have a plethora of options; such as location based (for customers near our warehouse), age groups (for new homeowners), and interests (anything related to handcrafted/DIY/arts/custom).
Social Media Is Part of Your Target Market’s Daily Lives
Social media is no longer something done after hours, on the weekends or in downtime. It’s a part of most adults’ daily lives. Because of the rise in mobile device usage and looser rules for internet usage at work, social media is a regular, integral part of the members of your target market’s daily lives. Even the most “boring” industries can make use of social media – even if Facebook and Twitter seem like the least viable avenues for promotion. For example, the website for LLP Results You Deserve is 99% focused on their practice areas, attorneys, and locations. As an LLP, this is essential for any potential client. A stream of funny Facebook messages in the sidebar might actually deter potential clients. However, they do have a blog. This allows them to publish informative, educational, and highlight posts. From the social media persepctive, they can publish more ‘creative’ content that still aligns with their culture, such as their Strained Sports infographic.
The Pew Internet study referenced above, found that social media users are highly engaged.
- 63% of Facebook users log into the network at least one time daily.
- 40% of Facebook users visit the network multiple times throughout the day.
- 57% of Instagram users access the site once daily.
- 35% of Instagram users access the site multiple times a day.
- 46% of Twitter users visit the network once a day.
- 29% of Twitter users access the network multiple times a day.
Social media users are not casual. They’re not likely to log in, check the front page without scrolling and leave. They want to engage, to share and to connect. If something is an integral part of the daily lives of your target audience, you should be active on it for best results.
The bottom line is this: social media is not a passing fad. It’s not something that will be gone tomorrow. In fact, while the usage trends may evolve, the overall use is likely to increase with time. The insights above demonstrate the value and importance of social media in marketing. Now may be a good time to evaluate and improve upon your current strategy.