Everyone in business today is going to be significantly impacted, both personally and professionally, by social media. The new reality of the modern marketing environment is that it is dominated by evolving social media driven by personalized experiences. Everyone is on Facebook, from the teenager next door to the Village Hall of the town you live in, to the personal injury lawyer your cousin called after that auto accident. Ask anyone about social media, and you will get a discussion of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Instagram. The variety of participation in social media is staggering.
Fact #1 – Facebook
Facebook has 845 million monthly active users in early 2012, half of them mobile users.
Fact #2 – YouTube YouTube had 490 million unique users worldwide per month in 2011.
Fact #3 – Twitter
Twitter had more than 200 million registered users in early 2012. (Even the president of the United States is on Twitter and is in the top 10 Twitterfeeds with the most followers, lagging behind Lady Gaga who has almost 25 million followers.)
Fact #4 – Yahoo! Answers
Yahoo! Answers had almost 35 million unique visitors at the end of 2009, with 2 million unique daily visitors in 2012.
Fact #5 – Pinterest
Pinterest grew from 7,516,000 unique visitors in 2011 to 11,716,000 unique visitors by 2012. (Pinterest users are female mothers, almost 30 percent with household incomes of $100,000 or more, and are beginning to spend more time “pinning” than hanging out on Facebook.)
Fact #6 – LinkedIn
LinkedIn reports that as of March 2012, professionals sign up at approximately 2 new members every second, and it has 161 million members in more than 200 countries.
Fact #7 – Google+
Within one month of introducing Google+ in 2011, it had 10 million users, and within five months it had 40 million users; by December 2012, Google+ is anticipating 400 million users.
Fact #8 – Instagram
Instagram had 30 million registered users within 2 years of inception and Facebook acquired it for $1 billion in cash and stock in early 2012.
Fact #9 – Yelp
Yelp had a $100 million IPO in March 2012, and reported 25 million reviews of local businesses in 71 local markets at the end of 2011.
Fact #10 – Mobile Web and Social Media
Smart phone sales reached almost 500 million units in 2011, with 1.2 billion of them connected to the internet. Almost 6 billion people use mobile phones worldwide, with social networking taking almost half of all page views from mobile phones.
Those numbers should strike fear and hope into the hearts of everyone in business and marketing. Here are some essential social media tools all modern marketers must have in their toolkits:
• LinkedIn Contacts – toss that business card binder and connect with business associates here
• Tweet It – broadcast great business content easily, instantly, regularly
• Facebook – showcase your business and entertain and engage your customers
• Google Alerts – let the web keep you informed of how your name is getting out there
• Google Trends – see what everyone is searching on and see how often your SEO terms come up in searches
E-marketing produces higher return on investment and bigger profits for advertising budgets than stand-alone traditional marketing. Peripheral components of e-marketing include search engine optimization, blogging and rich content, email marketing, WebPR and online reputation management, viral marketing, conversation optimization and mobile marketing. TV commercials, radio jingles, newspaper and magazine ads and highway billboards no longer cut it in today’s wired world.
Social media is evolving rapidly and marketers must keep up with it to provide successful, relevant and focused marketing. It’s no longer enough to come up with a memorable 3-minute commercial and print ad campaign once a year during the Super Bowl, or rely on tired emotional stereotypes to sell products. Your customers want more, and your customers are vastly different than they were even five years ago. They want a voice with their favourite brands (and their not-so-favourite brands – comments on the Internet come in the form of text, video, photos and audio, and can be broadcast far and wide in an instant). They want an instant experience, and if they don’t get it from you, they are gone in an instant to get it elsewhere. Often, that experience is in the form of compelling, engaging games. Zynga games provide 12 percent of Facebook’s total income.
Social media marketing presents a huge opportunity and is a requirement for doing business in today’s media-saturated marketplace. Successful competitive social media marketing focuses on a worldwide audience, visual content and engagement. Base your social media marketing plans on top platforms. Create your company’s presence in these platforms, manage it with rich and relevant content, interact with your customers and audiences through social media channels and link them all with an integrated e-marketing plan, and keep up with the numbers that social media produces.