It pretty much goes without saying – Social Media is not only here to stay, but if you’re trying to run a business without it, you’re denying yourself a rather large chunk of your market accessibility. As the times change, so do approaches to marketing, and falling behind in this regard can seriously damage your business.
As the information age wears on, approaches to media evolve, starting a ripple effect that eventually evolves the way we use everything from eBay to Amazon to the website for the local firehouse. It took a while, but Social Media finally found out that unless your website starts with “face” and ends in “book”, your odds of becoming the next great connected social hub are slim to none. What is keeping this endless sea of mediocre social sites alive?
Facebook is already established as the biggest social site and competing for that title is no small task, so a huge upwelling of social sites that appeal to niche crowds has come about. For instance, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and Yelp all have their own specific markets: one focuses on the literal proximity of the active members, another is focused on the professional background of the user, and another focuses on personal reviews on products or services in their area. Those are just three other forms of social media, and we’ve already established three separate approaches to contacting your key demographic.
Customers and curious consumers aren’t just driven by keeping in touch with their favorite brands anymore. According to the “Discounts drive consumers to Like a retailer on Facebook” Survey by Zak Stambor, the Senior Editor at internetretailer.com, most internet traffic is guided not out of interest, but rather the appeal of getting discounts for following their business. It’s a growing trend driven by the bottom line of marketing – turn the person reading your advertising into a person in your store. Foursquare was the first to touch on the idea of marketing by physical proximity, offering deals to those who would stop and check in to a store with their mobile device; however, Facebook and Yelp have now jumped on the wagon with check in applications and the ability to garner a coupon or discount when they do so.
It’s worth noting as well that you aren’t going to beat everyone over the head with the same message through all of the same outlets either. Just because your Twitter has a 140 character limit doesn’t mean your Facebook Status Update has to. The same message won’t work through all outlets, so a diversity of content has to be established over your various networks. Your Twitter followers are vastly different than your Facebook followers, and your Foursquare friends are very different than your LinkedIn connections. You have to ask yourself “What is the primary focus of this media platform?” and then make a post appropriate to the crowd you are addressing.
Now you can say “More Social Media to manage! This all sounds like a lot of work – I’m just going to keep using Facebook and Twitter, find my biggest margin of users between the two, and call it a day.” According to the 2011 Social Media Marketing Report, if you aren’t spending anywhere in the ballpark of 6 hours a week on social marketing, you’re falling behind the pack. In the competitive market, it’s not just the best product or service that wins, but rather he who most efficiently and effectively communicates. If you are not in a position to spend any more time to create, monitor and update a new social media platform, perhaps it’s time to consider the growing market of outsourcing your social media needs.
Also, don’t let the expansion of marketing efforts let you feel bogged down. The same marketing report goes on to outline that 78% of the marketers polled saw increased traffic after investing as little as six hours a week in social media. 52% of marketers who invested the same amount of time said that social media generated qualified business leads. On top of that, a large percentage of marketers saw overall marketing costs decrease when a larger amount of time and resources were allotted towards social media marketing. By investing in more Social Media, you can already be saving money!
By simply supplying the content once a week, you can have your social media updated for you while you focus on other things, like finding the time to actually run your business.