“Social Media” is all the buzz lately. An unbelievable amount of marketers out there are branding themselves as Social Media Experts. Whenever a new marketing channel is created, it’s exciting, especially because others are dying: think print advertising. But what does this mean to your business? Should you add social media to your marketing mix?
Think of social media as user-generated content that is posted and shared on blogs and web sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc. Why is everybody excited about social media? They are excited because it allows them to form personal and business relationships and to connect in the online world. Businesses are excited because they can reach audiences large and small, local and global, with relatively cheap tools.
The numbers are staggering. Facebook is definitely king with over 200 million active users and over 100 million users who log on to Facebook at least once each day! It’s not just college students, either — the fastest growing demographic is 35 years old and older. And now that organizations can create a Facebook Page for their business or product, with over 4 million users who become fans of pages each day, you know where your customers are. They’re on Facebook!
Twitter is another social media site that has been in the news lately because it has grown a mind-boggling 2,500 percent in one year. It reached more than 13 million people in the US during last month, and will only continue to grow, thanks to celebrities such as Oprah who are now on Twitter. However, although Twitter is growing astronomically, a recent report says that it would take 36 years for Twitter to catch up to Facebook (if Facebook stopped growing today).
In our own experience, we created a Facebook Page for a non-profit client on a Monday this month. A week later they had over 800 fans.
But why is Facebook monumentally more important now than just a few months ago? Because only recently did Facebook make its Pages truly useful for business. Your content now automatically appears in your fans’ News Feeds.
Just a few months ago, you could create a Facebook Page, people would become your fans, but if they wanted to stay connected to you, they had to remember to visit your page for the latest news. And who has the time for that? If you really think that your business or product is always on your customers’ minds, don’t flatter yourself. It’s not.
Now, whenever you share a status update, it automatically shows up in your fans’ News Feeds. If you publish an event and send an update to your fans, it shows up in their Updates section. Finally, the information comes to your fans so they don’t have to remember to come to you. And, if a fan likes your update and clicks on the “Like” link, or comments on your update, all of their friends see it in their News Feed. Talk about spreading the word!
So, in Facebook’s words, you can now connect and engage with your customers and amplify your voice to their friends. What type of organization can benefit from having a Facebook Page? If you are a business-to-consumer company, a non-profit, an educational organization, or have a product to feature, and your target market has the same demographics as Facebook users, it’s a no brainer. You ought to be where your customers are.
But even if you are a business-to-business company, you could still benefit from adding social media to your mix. Let’s face it, at the end of the chain, your customers are people who have Facebook accounts. Intel might be selling its chips to computer manufacturers, but they indirectly sell to consumers who demand computers with Intel chips inside. That’s why Intel has more than 31,000 fans on Facebook.
What kind of information should you post on your Facebook Page? Your company’s and industry’s news, announcements, contests, specials, events, videos, links to latest blog posts, photos, and more. Most importantly, the info should be interesting, relevant, and useful to your customers and their friends.
And the beauty of it all? Up to now, you may have connected with your customers only one or a few times a month via e-mail or blog posts, maybe more, maybe less. From now on, you have the ability to be in front of your customers and their friends and family as often as one or more times a day. It may seem like a lot. But think of it this way: the way your customers interact with their friends and family has changed, as well.
Instead of staying connected via an occasional phone call or e-mail, they are in touch with their friends much more often, sometimes several times a day, via social media sites. Perhaps it’s time for you to jump on the same bandwagon.
We did. Ai Creative is now on Facebook. Connect with us!