Tweeting. Blogging. Facebook. We’ve all heard of them. Many of us have used them. But does anyone pay attention? Lets face it, we all want to know someone out there is listening. And, at least according to the 2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by SocialMediaExaminer.com, they are. The report finds that “85% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated exposure for their businesses.” Smaller businesses reported higher degrees of gained exposure, with nearly 90% of marketers reporting a significant increase.
Links between websites are commonly used in web ranking algorithms, and using social media can increase the number of links to your profile or website. More than half of marketers using social media marketing techniques more than 6 hours per week reported a rise in page rankings from major search engines according to the Social Media Marketing Industry Report. Logic tells us (and there are studies which confirm) that only the top results in a search engine ever get viewed. The increase in page rank means an increase in the potential traffic to a website, blog posting, or any other information out there.
Social media marketing is inexpensive compared to other marketing strategies, as well, involving only a limited investment, and when carried out persistently, produces continued, and in some cases increased, results over time. The reduced costs have the potential to translate into high returns if a social media campaign stays focused and seeks to create a core customer base online, rather than reaching for a few quick sales.
You may find yourself wondering, though, how best to utilize the 140 characters in a Tweet, or a 300 word blog post, or even just a Facebook update. After all, only kids use social media, right? Not according to Laurie Sullivan, in a blog post for MediaPost.com. Sullivan reports that according to an Anderson Analytics study, 44% of 35- to 44-year-olds and 30% of 45- to 54-year-olds have Facebook profiles. According to Sullivan, “the average user longs into a social network account about four times daily, five days a week,” spending on average around an hour each day using social media. These, of course, do not translate directly into potential customers, fostering new relationships takes time, however, nearly three quarters of the marketers using social media for more than a year have reported it has helped them close business. Take note, however, that this benefit was noticeably higher in marketers reaching out to other businesses, over those selling directly to customers.
Social media also creates an online community around your business, not just a collection of online customers. It can serve as a venue for information and events hosted by your company, highlight new products, and provide a place online where customers can interact. After all, according to the Anderson Analytics report, social media users are four times more vocal about the products and services they use than those who do not use social media.
So, to recap, if you tend to think social media is just a passing craze, you will miss out on many opportunities such as increased business exposure, a rise in page ranking, potentially high returns on investment, and an increased customer base, which is often more vocal and supportive than traditional customers. Lets face it, social media is only getting bigger, and if we don’t want to go the way of the dinosaur, it’s time to stop worrying and love the tweet.