Did you know that 15 years ago there was no social media? It didn't exist. MySpace popped up in 2003 but previous to that, the closest thing to social media was ICQ chat, Yahoo chat, and the various associated chat rooms that went with them, but nothing like the social media sharing abilities that we now love and hate in equal doses.
"We don't have a choice on whether to do social media, the question is how well we do it." - Erik Qualman, Author of ‘Socialnomics'
When Facebook emerged in 2006, the number of users increased exponentially over a short period of time. Suddenly everyone had a public forum to share their experiences, photos, opinions, and pictures of their cat. In a similar fashion, that same year, Twitter exploded onto the scene with a micro-blogging format allowing users to share bite-sized information with the world. At that point, ten years ago, no one would have thought that social media would have translated to business use, nevermind using it for targeted digital marketing.
Just How Influential is Social Media? (Are your ready for your head to spin?)
- Facebook has over 1.71 billion active users worldwide (That's more than the entire population of China)
- Out of that number, 1.5 billion are mobile users.
- 500 million active users on Instagram
- 313 million active users on Twitter
- 150 million active users on Snapchat
- 450 million active users on Linkedin
- The average North American spends 9 hours a day engaging with digital media.
- 55% of consumers share their purchases on social media
And even more mind-blowing:
- While you've been reading this blog post . . .
- Over 3.3 million items have been shared on Facebook
- There have been over 3 million searches on Google
- 400 hours of video have been uploaded to YouTube
- 8 million videos have been viewed on YouTube
- 400,000 Tweets were sent
- 55,000 Instagram photos were shared
- $275,000 was spent online
Should I Be Using Social Media for my Business?
If you read the above stats and are still asking this question, you may want to consider a different career. The answer is YES, a resounding, unnecessarily capitalized YES! Social media was once just a ‘nice idea' or a ‘great way to waste time'. It's since become a foundational (and necessary) cornerstone of any business, organization, brand, and/or product.
"Social media presents an opportunity for business people to connect and know each other prior to a phone call or email taking place." - Jeffrey Gitomer, Author of ‘The Sales Bible'
Social media has become an integral piece of everyone's lives and more and more social media platforms are vying for your marketing dollars when it comes to advertising opportunities. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram all offer targeted advertising options. Bear in mind, not every social media channel will work for your potential customers. It'll take some research and testing to figure out the best option when it comes to reaching your intended audience.
"The goal of social media is to turn customers into a volunteer army." - Jay Baer, Author of ‘Youtility'
Outside of advertising opportunities, every business should be represented on social media. There are lots of things you can be posting to your social channels on a regular basis: show ‘behind the scenes', share updates, event info, sales, promotions, etc. It's these online social connections that grant you, as a business, the opportunity to create a bond with your customers. In a way, social media humanizes a business and makes it more relatable, allowing customers to reach your brand on a level playing field, thus creating a sense of community and, hopefully, a sense of brand loyalty.
If you're not actively engaged in social media, interacting with your customers on a regular basis, and utilizing the vast array of online targeted advertising opportunities, you're missing out.
Social media isn't going anywhere. For all intents and purposes, it's growing at an alarming rate and spreading across more and more platforms every year. So do yourself a favor; get social!
**Stats sourced from: Sproutsocial.com, Smartinsights.com, Internetlivestats.com, Statista.com