I know what you are thinking. You don’t have time to fritter away tweeting, “liking,” and sharing. You have a business to run. How important is it to use social media, anyway? As it turns out, social media for business can be a game-changer. Not only is it an effective method of connecting with potential customers, but it is also very inexpensive and offers a high return on investment. Here are some interesting statistics…
- Around 80% of adult internet users now use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, Stumble upon, hi5, VK, OK etc..
- Only 25% of the average local business’s fans are located in the same city as the business.
- We estimates that social media sites and blogs reach about 90% of all internet users.
- 75% of small business owners reported gaining new customers with social media (mainly Facebook and LinkedIn).
- 64% of Twitter users and 70% of Facebook users say they are more likely to buy from the brands they follow.
Social Media has grown beyond its roots and is now utilized in some form by people from all walks of life, from professionals to teenagers, full-time mothers to old-age pensioners. By tapping into social networks you access a valuable marketing channel to communicate directly with your target demographic.
But the ubiquity of social media is not the only reason why businesses should care about it. Google and other search engines yahoo are rapidly integrating social media with their search functions. One prime example of this is the incorporation of Google+ features such as the +1, into the natural search results. As time goes on, current trends suggest that social media marketing and search engine optimization will become inextricably linked.
Choosing Your Social Media Networks
As the statistics above show, social media allows you to tap into a much broader audience than you could ever hope to reach with most traditional marketing methods. So how do you know what social networks will be most beneficial for your business? Here is a brief rundown of the most popular social media sites and the key demographics they attract.
Facebook – With over 1.55 billion active users, Facebook is by far the largest social network out there. This is a good place to start for any small business. Use Facebook to create a profile, post links to your blogs or other content, interact with current and potential customers, highlight products and services, post upcoming special events, and even run ads (for a small fee).
Who uses Facebook? Women now make up about 57% of Facebook users and 46% of those on Facebook are forty-five or older. Facebook is especially beneficial for B2C businesses.
Instagram – Now with over 400 million active accounts, Instagram is officially a social media power player. The primary audience is younger users who reside in urban/suburban settings and it skews slightly more female than male (29% versus 22%).
Twitter – Twitter now boasts over 320 million active users. If you run a small business, Twitter can provide a great venue for you to create a profile, promote products, stay informed of the latest trends, form relationships, run ads and broadcast your valuable content, all by tweeting 140 characters or less.
Who uses Twitter? Women make up 59% of Twitter users, but the gap between men and women is rapidly closing. Those who are ages eighteen through twenty-nine make up 25% of all Twitter users.
LinkedIn – With over 100 million users, LinkedIn is known as a professional social media network associated with job searching and posting, professional networking, and thought leadership. Using LinkedIn is a great way to connect with new online customers, build professional relationships, promote your company, and establish yourself as an industry expert.
Who uses LinkedIn? LinkedIn users are pretty evenly split between men and women. LinkedIn is primarily used by business professionals and benefits B2B companies.
Pinterest – Now boasting over 100 million users, Pinterest is a social media site that allows you to “pin” visual content for others to see. Do you post content with visual appeal including high-quality images of products or services, infographics, videos and other creativly published materials? Pinterest may be just what you need to drive new traffic to your business. Check out this article by Social Media Examiner to find out if Pinterest is a good fit for you.
Who uses Pinterest? Roughly 87% of Pinterest users are women between the ages of eighteen and fifty-four. Half of those who use Pinterest have children. Pinterest benefits B2C companies that have great visual content.
Google+ for Business – A newcomer to the social media scene (relatively speaking), Google+ now has over 200 million active users. Much like other popular social media sites, Google+ allows you to set up a business page, post links to content, join “circles” or groups, follow others, post events, and promote your brand. However, there are three important letters to consider here – SEO. After all, it IS Google. Having a Google+ account can not only help with search engine optimization, but if you are an online business, adding “+1” buttons on your site for customers to click will result in higher natural search engine rankings compliments of Google.