Many small businesses think it’s enough to do some search engine optimization, set up a pay per click advertising campaign, and maybe a Facebook page. However, putting together a consistent social media marketing campaign is often not on their radar. This is a mistake, as over a billion people on the planet now use some form of social media, and ignoring it can result in fewer sales.
Let’s just take a look at some of numbers for the popular social media sites.
Facebook is the undisputed king of online connections, with over one billion users. And those users spend an average of 423 minutes per month on the site.
Twitter has nearly half a billion users sending out monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly tweets to an average of one hundred friends. Users of Twitter spend about 25 minutes per month on the site.
LinkedIn has over 175 million users on the site, and Google+ is quickly growing with well over 100 million users. People spend an average of 300 minutes per month on YouTube, over 150 minutes per month on Tumblr, and 80 minutes per month on Pinterest.
These are some serious numbers, and it is clear that people are spending more and more time on social media sites scattered throughout the web. And they are not doing it just to talk to their friends or play games.
Increasingly, social media is being used to bring businesses and consumers together, with average people serving as the foundation on which companies can project offers, share news, and spread their own marketing ideas. Businesses can use the site to listen to current customers on their concerns, what they like, and what they would change about the company.
There is always a lot to listen to on social media, with how much time people spend on these sites each month. Everyday chatter can inform a business of emerging trends in their industry or local community, giving them an opportunity to participate in the conversations going on around them. Specific feedback about a company can also be shared through social media, whether it be good or bad, and people who express a need for a product or service that a company offers can more easily be approached on social media than any other online venue.
Social media can also be used to humanize a company, from a large corporation to a small doctors office. It turns an online ad or business listing into a social media presence that displays its own personality and culture.
Since consumers are always online hunting for information, and businesses are hunting for new customers, social media can bring them together in ways that are just not possible in SEO or PPC. Social media marketing can generate increased exposure of the company and turn customers into endorsers or evangelists for the business, further increasing exposure and the customer base.
The only warning for any company starting to market on social media sites to keep in mind is that the focus should not be on selling, selling, selling. People are on these sites to interact with friends, keep in touch with family, and share funny or interesting information they come across. They are not always on Facebook or Twitter to buy a product.
Understand the focus of the users of social media, and create a marketing campaign that plays on these intentions of the users, rather than trying to shove products or services down their throats and always be advertising. People are more likely to share information rather than sales pitches.