It’s apparent that social media has increased dramatically during the past couple of years and that using more than 800 million active users, the number of Facebook users is easily over double the magnitude of the entire population of the USA!
Its growth has been astronomical and today, tens of thousands of people are posting more personal and business information online than ever before. It is happening at a lightning pace with thousands of posts, tweets, and uploads happening every hour.
1. Seek first to know – it’s very important that you understand the basics of how exactly is social media actually works and how it’s being used. What are people and businesses doing with social media? What gets them results? Some of you may be thinking, how can I do so? Maybe you could consider trying it out for yourself by setting up a personal account, then testing some of the features, or find a trusted friend to show you their account and guide you through. Alternately, there are so many tools and ‘how-to’ items online about social networking, you could run a search on Google or YouTube to a specific subject of interest and watch the video tutorials to get educated. Learn more right here.
2. Know your purpose – What is your objective is for utilizing social networking? What do you hope to accomplish for your business by utilizing it? It is really crucial that you identify your purpose for becoming involved in social networking (or any other marketing activity for that matter). You have to work out why you are taking part. What do you expect to achieve? Do you simply want to build brand awareness, engage with your clients or identify new sales opportunities? Do not be realistic about what you think you’ll be able to achieve.
3. In case you decide to engage in social media, which sites are best for you? – With the abundance of social networking websites available, which ones are best for your business? Think about where your target audience could socialize online, and think about the quantity of time and resources you would realistically be able to devote to preserving and administering your site presence. Which ones are ideal for you? You might discover that some are a much better match than others.
4. Quality Content – If you decide which social media is right for your business, carefully consider the quantity and quality of information that you need to discuss in the online sphere. Remember it will likely remain there for quite a while, so you have to be certain it accurate and reliable information that’s valuable to your intended audience. It needs to be relevant, otherwise, people are not going to read it.
You’ll find a host of motives for participating in the social networking community such as:
- It is cost-effective. Many reports on several different social media websites are free to prepare.
- Huge global audience.
- Enables you to obtain feedback in real-time and speak with clients in real-time.
- Gives your business an additional marketing channel, to increase the awareness of your product, brand, or business.
Nevertheless, social media does pose some obstacles for businesses that need to be quantified:
Time and Resources – you ought to be willing to devote the time needed to think of fresh new content. So it is very important to consider if you’ve got sufficient time and the resources to efficiently handle your social networking presence.
Handing over brand management – You hand over some of the charges of your marketing efforts and efficiently your brand to your target audience. They are going to have the ability to comment on articles or other articles and you have to get prepared for both negative and positive remarks. However even when you’re not administering a business Facebook page, it’s important to remember that there is nothing to stop customers from submitting opinions in their own blogs or other public forums about your products and services. Know more about Facebook advertising here.
Measuring ROI – The debut of web monitoring and analytics tools also brought with it the capability to easily measure the achievement of certain online marketing and advertising campaigns. On the other hand, the nature of social media means that you might not always have the ability to see the results of your effort right away. Your social media efforts might allow your consumers to ask additional questions or further engage with your brand or product, but like most other relationship-building activities, it requires some time to build brand loyalty and repeat sales, it is very likely your social media activities are not going to have a direct impact on sales that can be easily measured, there may be a lag.
Social media, how is it being used?
If it comes to consumer adoption, the increase of social networking websites has been exponential, however as more research has been done regarding site usage and customer behavior, we start to gain insights into the sorts of tasks and tradespeople participate in when visiting social networking sites. Interestingly, the top 3 reasons identified in the Sensis Social Media Report, for utilizing a social networking site were:
1. To catch up with friends and family.
2. To discuss photographs and videos.
3. To co-ordinate parties and other shared activities.
As we can see from these poll results, individuals continue to be predominately using several of these sites for the basic reason they were made. I.e. To “socially” socialize with their community of family, friends, or peer group. I am not implying we ignore the simple fact that 15% of the respondents did suggest that they use social networking websites to find out about particular brands or businesses, or that there are some superb case studies where successful social media campaigns are launched using Facebook or Twitter, however, I think it’s important for all of us to keep things in perspective and understand that just like traditional kinds of marketing and promotion, social media marketing needs comprise the basic elements of any good campaign for it to succeed. We need to bear in mind that many of the same rules apply online because they do offline.
Further research findings appear to suggest that it is still more common for a user to look into a business website when making a purchasing decision than on ‘fan pages’ and a company website provides a more influential source of information. “It seems that only about a third of respondents admit they are influenced in their buying decision by enthusiast pages while almost half say they seem to business websites instead.”
It seems social media is here to stay, and that the Web 2.0 revolution and the Internet will continue to evolve, shaping the way we communicate and do business. There are definite indicators that customers now are much more empowered to utilize the online sphere to voice their concerns, preferences, and requirements. This makes it more important for businesses to figure out strategies to respond to these evolving customer relationships to catch these markets and opportunities.
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