Who’s using social media marketing? Businesses that want to communicate!
In 2011, four out of five U.S. businesses with 100 or more employees will use social media marketing. That’s a dramatic change from 2008, when just 42% of companies marketed using social media, according to research from eMarketer.
As consumer use of social media continues to increase around the world, marketers have transitioned from cautious engagement to full deployment. A lot of self-centered corporate marketing is giving way to customer-centric communication focused on the value of building relationships.
The spring 2011 edition of the American Express OPEN “Small Business Monitor” found the use of social media for marketing was up over previous years. More than a third (35%) of US small businesses reported using online social networking for marketing, up from 15% in fall 2009. In addition, 12% of respondents were using blogs as a social tactic, nearly double the figure from fall 2009.
The leading reason for using social media, according to the September 2010 edition of the survey, was to increase the exposure of the business, and American Express OPEN found that more small businesses were turning to social media for customer acquisition. By spring 2011, 44% were using social media to help their businesses, up from 39% in September 2010. They were focusing on the top social networking sites for those efforts.
According to the “Social Media and Online PR Report”, produced by Econsultancy:
- > Very few companies (just 10%) are not engaging in any social media activity whatsoever.
- > Increased brand awareness is seen as major benefit of social media by 73% of company respondents. The next most important benefits are increased customer engagement (71%), better brand reputation (66%) and increased communication with key influencers (62%).
- > Video is hot, with companies increasingly creating and distributing video content. Some 60% of companies are using this channel (either creating video content or using video-sharing sites), and 54% of supply-side respondents say that their clients are using this social media tactic.
- > Nearly three-quarters of agencies (72%) say their clients are using corporate or brand blogs, but fewer than half of companies (47%) say they have blogs.
Social media spending is also increasing, as marketers move beyond experimenting to include it in all their marketing plans. The companies leading the way with social media are giving it a place at the table next to—and sometimes in place of—traditional media, such as TV and print. These marketers are also integrating social media initiatives and budgets into brand marketing, customer relationship management and communications.
There are business people who still wrestle with launching social media for their businesses despite all the media attention surrounding it; despite their colleagues, employees, customers and prospects connecting with them via Linkedin, receiving a friend request on Facebook, or hearing about Twitter’s breaking news and the power of tweets. They think of Facebook and Twitter as places for social interactions and “fun”, not realizing that they can be ultra-powerful marketing tools for their businesses.
The reality is: social media is part of our cultural communication process, and the potential impact social media could have on your company’s website traffic, leads, and inevitably, sales, is massive. Your business can use social media to improve your online reach, tell your story, share your content, and engage/network with your target audience in online conversations in the same online communities where your customers and prospects are spending their time online today.
These activities, along with an optimized website, will significantly help your business be found online by your target audience who is online – RIGHT NOW – looking for products and services your business offers in your local areas where you do business.
Who’s using social media? Consumers that are looking for businesses using social media marketing!
65% of online adults now use social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 61% one year ago, according to the latest report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. For the first time, it means that half of all adults (50%) use social networking sites.
And they’re doing so more frequently. On a typical day, 43% of online adults use social networking, up from 38% a year ago. Only email (which 61% of internet users access on a typical day) and search engines (59%) are used more frequently.
Consider – how many people do you think went online to look for air conditioning service or sales in their local communities during the recent heat wave? If you were in that business, and your target audience couldn’t find you when they did a Google search for businesses providing air conditioning service and sales in your local community, you lost all these possible leads. If your competitor WAS marketing online, they were THERE where your potential customers could find THEM.
So why is social media so important to your business, and why does social media need to be an important part of the 2012 marketing budget for every business?
1. You’re already using social media – you just don’t know it
If you’ve got more than two employees (and they’re under 60), you’re already using social media. You just don’t know it. The average social media user is 39 years old.
Your employees are innocently posting things like:
- > “I’m so proud that our tuna is now 95% dolphin-free!”
- > “I don’t think a few Toyotas exploding is such a bad thing – our dealership hasn’t had a single one explose, yet!”
- > “Yeah, we had a problem with e-coli in our potato salad last week but we’ve cleaned all the dishes and the restaurant is ready to go!”
Your audience needs to hear YOUR story.
2. People expect to find you – if they don’t, they go elsewhere
Your customers want you there. 93% of customers say they want businesses to be available through social media.
Customers check your hours with their smartphone as they head to your store. They compare your product guarantee as they shop in another store for a similar product. And they look at reviews of your restaurant, hotel, or sewer service just before they call.
Your reputation is already out on the web, most likely. Someone has posted a review, a blog, or a Twitter comment about an interaction they’ve had with your business. If it was positive, you should be trumpeting it from the rooftops. If it was negative, you should be on top of it immediately – solving the problem, if possible. Minimizing the damage, otherwise.
3. A social media presence is like that fire extinguisher on your wall
You’ve got a shiny fire extinguisher on your wall, and you hope like crazy that you’ll never need to use it. But every year, you have it tested – and if you’re smart, you train your employees how it works.
A solid SM presence is like that for your business. When disaster happens (your own little BP Oil Spill or Kentucky Fried Sink Bathers) you’re ready to manage communications and keep things from spiraling out of hand.
You can candidly communicate with your customers, sharing information transparently and quickly – not having let it get filtered and spun through the media.
Plus, your supporters (you’ll have supporters if you’re doing SM right – LOTS of them) will come to your aid across the Internet and tell the truth about your company and who you really are.
You don’t have a choice whether you do social media; the question is how well you do it. It’s here: The Social Media Revolution 2011.
The questions for YOU are…
Are you SHOWING your customers – and potential customers – what your business can do for them?
Is your business where your customers – and potential customers – are looking for you
What are you waiting for?
Your competitive edge starts NOW.
We’re here to show your customers why your business is what they’re looking for!
- © 2011 NOW Marketing Group, Inc.