In today’s ever competitive business climate, social media is not a passing fad or simply a source of amusement for the younger generations. It represents an essential platform as part of your marketing mix. Consumer buyer behavior now reflects their consistent quest for up to the minute information about your company’s products and services. People buy from people and customers prefer the immediacy of the web, the data they can search, the recommendations they find and a community for their voice. You need to not only have an online presence but to be actively listening to your prospects, colleagues, partners, competition and clients.
A recent survey by Deloitte revealed that 60% of consumers are going online more often to locate the best products and services and their decisions are greatly influenced by the tools, information and service they find when they visit websites or perform a search. Brand loyalty and reputation are still based on the quality of the customer experience.
Social media is a vital component to your business, marketing, sales and customer service strategies.
Some companies fear creating a social media presence because they believe that if they do, they may provide their audience with a platform to complain or otherwise post negative feedback. Whether you create your community or not, the “talk” is still out there and if you are not listening, then you are missing the opportunity to troubleshoot and amend any potential detrimental comments about your organization.
Whether you are B2B or B2C, your social media presence should represent a strong role in your marketing and online energies. Your message must reach your audience where THEY reside, not where you think they are. Whether you choose to blog, send an e-newsletter or generate dialog via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram or Google+, you need to discover where your client “hangs out” and greet them on their territory. Remember, you will need to utilize more than one neighborhood to reach your target markets.
“You don’t have to tweet, or Facebook, or even blog. But choosing not to embrace social media, even minimally, is choosing to be invisible.” Cindy Kraft
Take a look at these staggering social media statistics:
- 1 million websites have been integrated with Facebook (Huffington Post)
- 80% of users like to connect with brands on Facebook (Huffington Post)
- 1 billion registered Facebook users (Huffington Post)
- 200 million registered LinkedIn users (Huffington Post)
- Since the founding of Twitter, there have been 163 billion tweets (Huffington Post)
- 56% of customer tweets to brands are being ignored
- 625,000 people join Google+ everyday
- The +1 button is clicked 5 million times per day
- Websites utilizing the +1 button increase page traffic by 350%
- 80% of people prefer to get coupons, promos, and discounts from brands in social media (HubSpot)
- 43% of all online consumers are social media fans or followers. (Harp Social)
- 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form (Aberdeen)
- B2B businesses experience a 61% success rate in customer acquisition using LinkedIn.(HubSpot)
- 91% of experienced social marketers see improved website traffic due to social media campaigns and 79% are generating more quality leads (The Social Skinny)
- 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy brands that they follow (iModerate Research Technologies)
- YouTube has Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month
- Marketers spend an average of 4-6 hours a week on social media (Social Media Examiner)
- 34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter, and 20% have closed deals (Mindjumpers)
- Pinterest is retaining and engaging users as much as 2-3 times as efficiently as Twitter was at a similar time in their history. (RJMetrics)
Social media is constantly evolving due to the mobile, social nature needs and wants of your consumer. They are more informed, apt to search for company details online, voice their opinions within their communities and forums, and make buying decisions based upon this data, as well as their network’s feedback.
Social Media Start-up: a few things to consider
- Where is your audience?
- What are their pain points?
- Listen to the chatter
- Create a strategy
- Generate a content calendar
- Post consistent relevant and valuable content
- Respond to comments
- Use keywords in your content
- Create alerts based upon your company, personal name, industry
- Who and where is your competition?
- Measure and track metrics
Investing time and effort in social media can be a very overwhelming mission, but I can assure you that it is well worth it. Once I discovered social media, my business converted to 100% virtual and all of my business growth comes from social networking, referrals and word of mouth. From a client perspective, I receive many phone calls per month with clients sharing their online successes, from speaking engagements, new connections, networking opportunities, guest appearances, increased sales and web traffic to new partnerships and other corporate achievements.
What are YOU waiting for? The time is NOW!