You have a company Web site, but no one is visiting it. You were told, “build it and they will come,” but it’s not happening that way. SEO campaigns will help your search engine to increase your chances of traffic, but will visitors be targetted prospects? You have a vision, mission and brand personality, so use those tools to speak to your audience. And if you speak graciously with social media, and they will come.
The power of social media is apparent. No longer is “social networking” a buzzword or a Web 2.0 fad! The statistics show how ubiquitous and pervasive social media really is. Over the Christmas holiday, Facebook was the top visited Web site in the US, yes, over Google. The top networking site for business, personal and marketing is Facebook, with over 350 million users in the US and the majority of European countries, which equates to 5% of the world’s population or, 42 million more people than the population of the United States. Twitter’s citizenry is climbing just as well, with over 100 million users, with 62% of the members in the US. LinkedIn trails behind with 50 million users, performing as a business network, with over 50% of users in the US.
Traditional marketing and advertising is one-way. Companies speak to people, and if fans tell their friends, it’s on their own accord. Word-of-mouth marketing cannot be tracked accurately. Brands hardly ever hear from fans, so it’s all about making the campaign happen, then it’s off to the next thing.
But when brands go social, they create a communitiy for fans to converse, critique, share, evangelize and expand. Fans can communicate back to brands and others as well. Wtih social media, brands empower people with the ability to communicate and interact with brands and people they know.
Communities are served by brands, and brands serve communities with social media. Brands listen to their communities from the campaign, then use the feedback to serve their fans better on the next time around.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have millions of people connected to their networks at any one time. Bring your business to a network and chances are you’ll capture the attention of a few people who didn’t know about your company before. Do something notable and you may earn some fans who’ll keep and eye on you or help to spread your vision. Make it consistently interesting and relevant, and your fans will return the favor by contributing to your revenue.
This doesn’t mean to just slap a Facebook and Twitter icon on your site. A ‘sale’ sign on the window won’t bring in the droves of repeat and loyal customers. Developing a social media strategy and executing on it can be time-consuming, and fruitful as well.
Design serves to execute the marketing message, and it does the same for social media. Social media lets brands go OUT to where their fans live… which helps to increase exposure and foster a relationship. If a brand doesn’t look good, chances are, the relationship won’t grow. Face it, when time is of value, the cover is the best way to judge a book. A consistent face and voice will get customers to listen.
Every target market has social media users.
- Facebook is not just for college students. Facebook’s median age is now over 25, and the largest single group 35 to 44. Women over 55 remain the fastest growing group. In absolute numbers there are now even slightly more members between the ages of 45 and 65 than there are 13-to 17-year-olds.
- Facebook users are diverse. About 11 percent of the Facebook’s U.S. members were African-American, about 9 percent were Latino and 6 percent were Asian.
- Twitter users are smart. 72% of Twitterers are listed as graduates and post graduates.
- LinkedIn users are influential in their companies. 66% of LinkedIn users are recognized as decision makers or have influence in the purchase decisions at their companies. They also make the big bucks. Users with personal incomes between $200,000 and $350,000 were seven times more likely than those below that level to have over 150 LinkedIn connections.
This is just the tip of the social media iceberg. There’s also outlets for blogging, social bookmarking, media sharing like YouTube and Last.fm, reviewing like Yelp, and social experiences and networked games.
And this year, more and more people will be taking their social networking with them wherever they go. 9.3 million people already use their mobile phones to connect to social networks, and it’ll be interesting to see how social media continues to grow and change how people interact with each other and their information.