Social Media comes from the Web 2.0 stage of internet development where user-generated content is accepted. Users are permitted to contribute by posting, commenting, reviewing, “liking”, and sharing. When the internet was invented, the hyperlink (or “link” for short) accelerated communication in a revolutionary way since users could simply click their way from one place to the next. Social Media compounded that effect on communication with these advanced “social” features and rapidly overtook other media as a main source of information. The most effective promotion for your business is word of mouth, and word of mouth marketing online comes in the form of social media.
There are 6 different types of social media:
(ex. Facebook, LinkedIn)
Facebook allows users to invite each other to be “friends”. When they do this they have access to each other’s content and can engage with it by “liking” or commenting on it.
Blogs & Microblogs
(ex. Tumblr, Twitter)
Blog is short for “web log” and it displays posts with the most recent entry at the top. Microblogs like Twitter only allow 140 characters in the post.
Users upload content such as videos (YouTube) and pictures (Pinterest) and the content is available for everyone unless set to private.
For example, Wikipedia allows it’s users to create and edit pages that become part of the online encyclopedia.
Virtual Game Worlds
(ex. World of Warcraft)
Gaming on a traditional console allowed one or two players who had to be in the same room. Now thousands can connect to the same game, each user with their own character.
Virtual Social Worlds
(ex. Second Life)
Multiple people can connect and interact in a virtual world where they create their own avatars.
There may be some creative ways to use all 6 types of social media to promote your business, however the more common types that are used in marketing are Blogs & Microblogs, Content Communities, and Social Networking sites. That’s because these types of social media allow user generated content that commonly influences consumer behavior and buying decisions.
74% of consumers rely on social media to make buying decisions.
-Stat from SproutSocial
The typical consumer no longer calls their friends on the phone to ask for recommendations to new businesses. More likely they’ll post the question on Facebook and their Facebook friends will submit their answers in the comments, (where everyone can see, not just the person who asked). While a boycott might still be covered on the evening news (which fewer and fewer people are watching), most of the time people won’t be motivated enough to stand outside an establishment with a sign for hours. Yet, nearly every time that they’re dissatisfied with a business they’ll mention it in social media. That’s a convenient way to vent since they’re already on social media around 5 hours of the day anyway, and it’s a place where anyone and everyone can see it.
Here are some of the more popular social media sites and user demographics:
1.8 Billion Users
If Facebook were a country it’d be the largest country in the world. It has more users than there are people in China.
600 Million Users
Generally photos are only uploaded through the Instagram phone app. This is not a network that is commonly accessed on desktop. This site grew to 100 Million users quicker than any other social media site.
317 Million Users
Twitter has become a major news source, often breaking news quicker than other news outlets.
300 Million Users
Statistics for Google+ are a little harder to come by since Google+ is often treated separately from other social media sites and accurate numbers are harder to calculate. Everyone who uses Gmail also has a Google+ account (which means there are more accounts on Google+ than there are on Facebook, but only a small percentage are active).
The most important thing to recognize is that Google dominates the search market and they often reward those who use other Google properties (such as YouTube and Google+)
167 Million Users
YouTube is the second most popular search engine (even above Yahoo and Bing) and one of the top 5 social media sites.
Average minutes spent per session: 40 minutes
100 Million Users
Pinterest is an image sharing social site and one of the most important social sites to consider when targeting women.
These are just the general sites. Depending on your industry there may be other sites that you should focus on. For example, LinkedIn has 106 Million users and covers the niche of business professionals. BiggerPockets is the most popular social site for Real Estate Investors. There are sites for dating, book lovers, food lovers, movie lovers, and so on.
Why do a lot of business owners hesitate with social media?
When compared to traditional media, it should be hard for business owners not to consider social media. Social media has user bases in the hundreds of millions, users can engage and interact with it, and the CPM (cost per thousand impressions) is inexpensive. Traditional media pales in comparison with limited user bases, no convenient engagement with the ad, and a CPM that is expensive. So why do business owner’s hesitate when it comes to social media? Here are some possible reasons (click to toggle each for the reply):
There is a scientific aspect of marketing. Much of it is artistic, but it is also based on numbers, and a sample size of 1 doesn’t produce very reliable data. What should matter more is not whether you would respond to it, but whether your prospective customers would. And for the most part, they expect brands to be active on social media (at least 3-4 platforms).
If the business or the business owner pre-dates social media, then this is a legitimate reason. Yet, such a long-standing business probably knows how to adapt to survive. If the stats above don’t do the trick of communicating the importance of it, then see “more to consider” below.
This is absolutely true! And it’s important to remember since posts that come across as advertisements don’t do very well on social media. (For any marketing platform it is important to consider the reasons it was created in the first place, and each can be effective when used correctly). If the internet were a city, then social media sites would be the water cooler at work and the bars and the night life afterwards. Yet, people will still refer or defer businesses during these conversations.
This is also true. Usually when business owners are “wearing too many hats” the social media hat gets buried under the accounting sombrero and the 10-gallon cowboy hat called “service”. That’s why Mirex Marketing is here to assist you in building your brand.
This is a legitimate concern for any marketing channel. It doesn’t matter how inexpensive 1,000 impressions are if those impressions don’t convert to sales. The businesses that don’t get the returns that they’re looking for fail to do the following: They fail to let it mature, They fail in consistency, They fail to build a loyal following. Daily posting and engagement is required to stay competitive. Once you build a loyal following it’s much easier to get the returns, but that takes time. In the mean time it is still favorable to build your brand, and you can get direct leads through advertising, conversation monitoring, and influencer marketing.
More to Consider:
Damage Control – while it may be tough to get people to recommend you, it’s even tougher to repair a tarnished reputation. You want to be the first to intervene in a negative “conversation” about your business and flip it positively as quickly as possible.
Customer Service – social media is an opportunity to educate customers. If they’re familiar with your business policies and procedures that makes it easier to serve them.
Brand Awareness – Social Media is the new PR! While organic social media doesn’t always produce results as directly as advertising, it is the best modern way to create brand awareness. When your brand is easily identifiable then more will convert.
Get Direct Leads Through Advertising – Advertising for direct leads is available on social media. Since it is relatively new, the market is not as saturated as search engine advertising and it is often more cost-effective. Also Facebook has more features that allow you to target specific groups and demographics.
Get Direct Leads Through Conversation Monitoring – Conversation monitoring is the process of looking for when your brand or services are mentioned on social media. That is an opportune moment to become part of the conversation by answering customer concerns, thanking customers or making an offer that they’re looking for.
Get Direct Leads Through Influencer Marketing – Influencer marketing is the process of getting “influencers” to promote your brand, business, products and services. Influencers are individuals that already have a large following on social media.
Social Media Marketing Solutions For Your Business
Mirex Marketing has trained and certified experts to help you with your social media strategy. A full line of social media services is available to help you build your brand and generate leads for your business.
Our social media services include:
Contact Us today to schedule a free consultation.